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Angels of MercyWhite Women and the History of New York's Colored Orphan Asylum$
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William Seraile

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234196

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234196.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Angels of Mercy

William Seraile

Fordham University Press

This book is an examination of the effort of a group of white women who, aided sporadically by limited financial support from African Americans, labored for over a century to maintain a home for black youth, first orphans and then also half-orphans and neglected, dependent, and delinquent children. The Colored Orphan Asylum (COA), the first in the nation for African American youth, was similar to other orphanages in the United States. Some orphanages cared for only Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish youth. In contrast, the COA housed blacks and occasionally American Indians until 1944, when a state law required them also to accept white applicants. The COA did not deviate from this pattern, although very few children were indentured to African American homes, and it was not until the early twentieth century when efforts were made to place them in the homes of black foster or adoptive parents.

Keywords:   white women, African Americans, black youth, orphans, Colored Orphan Asylum, orphanages, state law, adoptive parents, foster parents

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