High School and the welfare: Janny Ely and Judy Chester

“It was the assimilation policy”. Auntie Janny Ely and Auntie Judy Chester recall dodging the welfare officer, who was determined to take them away. Janny had to leave school because of her mother’s illness and she and her mother would hide when welfare came to the house. Eventually ending up in court, they were fortunate to learn how to get an exemption from school for Janny. However, the welfare officer was still after truants Judy and brother, Jack, miserable at their new school, and the department of housing inspector was a regular visitor, trying to prove them “dirty blacks” so he also could take them away.

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Keywords: Identity; daily life; childhood; racism; school; values; law; change, attitudes