From the Colored Orphan Asylum to the Riverdale Children's Association, 1937–46

William Seraile

in Angels of Mercy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234196
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240838 | DOI:

Series: Empire State Editions

From the Colored Orphan Asylum to the Riverdale Children's Association, 1937–46

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The educational report for 1937 was a mixed one. The declining population at Riverdale led to the termination of the kindergarten class. The continued emphasis on vocational training made little sense in an era when activists had taken to the streets to open up Harlem's workforce to all professions. One question was why they insisted on offering vocational classes when these skills offered limited marketable opportunities. The skimpy record indicates that despite the institution's aloofness from Harlem, community leaders sought to make the children happy. The Colored Orphan Asylum's challenge was to provide adequate resources for children still at Riverdale and for those who were boarded out with families. The boarding home committee faced difficulty in finding adequate foster care homes, both because most blacks had low incomes and because the Negro sections in the greater New York City area offered “poor and inadequate housing condition.”

Keywords: educational report; Riverdale; kindergarten class; vocational training; Harlem; Colored Orphan Asylum; boarding home committee; foster care; blacks

Chapter.  11231 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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