Claudine tells the story of protagonist Claudine Price, who undoubtedly displays stereotypical characteristics of African-Americans believed by many at the time; she is a single mother of six children living on welfare in a poor neighborhood in Harlem. Claudine, twice divorced, falls in love with a garbage collector named Rupert Marshall, also twice divorced, despite complaints from her children. Throughout the film, Claudine and her family are periodically visited by Miss Kabak, a nosy social worker who interrogates Claudine about her employment and relationship statuses. Claudine, despite being employed as a housekeeper for a middle-class white family, repeatedly lies to Miss Kabak in order to maintain her welfare checks. Rupert and Cl...
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...irth of a child to an unwed mother.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 officially ended segregation in America and marked the end of the Civil Rights Movement era. Still, the next two decades provided challenges to African-Americans that show that there was no immediate improvement to lifestyle following these acts. Increased economic inequality, as a result of lack of education and employment, caused many poor African-Americans to rely on welfare in order to survive. The welfare system, however, proved complicated and underwhelmed in its benefits, providing no incentive for poor black males to marry single mothers. The welfare system in the 1970s and 80s can be seen as the root of economic and marital issues facing poor black Americans at the time; it “forced men out of the house because it [wasn’t] worth the crap you [had to] go through.”
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