Rickie Solinger provides the first published analyses of maternity home programs for unwed mothers from 1945 to 1965, and examines how nascent cultural and political constructs such as the "population bomb" and the "sexual revolution" reinforced racially-specific public policy initiatives. Such initiatives encouraged white women to relinquish their babies, spawning a flourishing adoption market, while they subjected black women to social welfare policies which assumed they would keep their babies and aimed to prevent them from having more.
"A stunning but troubling book that illuminates the deeply racialized terrain on which the politics of women's reproductive capacities and decisions have been played out. Contributing mightily to contemporary social policy debates, this rich history of single pregnancy from 1945 to 1965 warns us that reproductive rights must not only guard each woman's choice to contracept or to terminate a pregnancy, but also must win honor and social support for each woman's choice to become a mother." -- Gwendolyn Mink, author of Welfare's End
"It is impossible to read Wake Up Little Susie without understanding that racism as well as a deeply felt distrust of women as mothers--magnified when the women are not formally subordinated to husbands--makes such odd national passions possible." -- Bernice L. Hausman, Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, vol 4.1