Babyland began after the summer riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey. Mary Palmer Smith along with her sister Martha Palmer Chaneyfield launched grassroots efforts to address the poor living conditions of its tenants. Together they led a coalition of suburban and inner-city housewives, calling themselves Operation Housewives, to advocate for low-income parents who did not have access to childcare. This coalition of women, along with a $1,000 loan from the Telephone Pioneers of America, thrift shop sales, Girl Scouts, volunteers, and a pediatrician, established Babyland Nursery in August 1968 as the first and largest nonprofit interracial infant childcare program in the state of New Jersey.
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