By Premilla Nadasen
Telling the tales of African American family employees, this booklet resurrects a little-known historical past of family employee activism within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, supplying new views on race, exertions, feminism, and organizing.
In this groundbreaking background of African American domestic-worker organizing, pupil and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters numerous myths and misconceptions approximately an traditionally misunderstood crew. Resurrecting a little-known historical past of domestic-worker activism from the Fifties to the Seventies, Nadasen exhibits how those girls have been a much cry from the stereotyped passive and powerless sufferers; they have been cutting edge hard work organizers who tirelessly prepared on buses and streets around the usa to carry dignity and criminal reputation to their occupation.
Dismissed by way of mainstream hard work as “unorganizable,” African American family staff built special options for social swap and shaped extraordinary alliances with activists in either the women’s rights and the black freedom routine. utilizing storytelling as a kind of activism and as technique of developing a collective id as employees, those girls proudly declared, “We refuse to be your mammies, nannies, aunties, uncles, ladies, handmaidens any longer.”
With compelling own tales of the leaders and individuals at the entrance strains, Household staff Unite offers voice to the bad ladies of colour whose committed fight for larger wages, larger operating stipulations, and recognize at the activity created a sustained political stream that endures today.
Winner of the 2016 Sara A. Whaley ebook Prize
From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional info for Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement
5 Black women labored in the homes of white southerners, serving a cultural as well as economic function in that their subordination reinforced white racial power. Black women’s work in white homes was characterized by economic and sexual exploitation, as well as the denial of black women’s humanity and motherhood. Predatory white male employers wielded their power to sexually abuse or harass black women employed in their homes. White female employers maintained nearly complete control over the outward behavior and actions of domestics, determining what they wore, what they ate, where they ate, which bathrooms they used, and the specific ways they carried out their responsibilities.
In the 1950s, the notion of an identity as a domestic worker—as opposed to domestic work simply being the work that one did—was not self-evident and had to be constructed. The movement eventually brought together twenty-five thousand women to fight for basic labor protections and transform relationships with their employers. I begin in the mid-twentieth century, a critical moment in the history of domestic work, by tracing the powerful symbolic association of domestic labor with black women’s oppression, recounting the stirrings of a grassroots movement of domestic workers that evolved into a mass movement which fundamentally redefined black women’s relationship to the world of work.
In the days after Rosa Parks was arrested, civil rights leader E. D. ”49 The gendered language was intended to shame African American men into taking a stronger stand against white oppression. Fear was a powerful force that shaped what many, including King, described as complacency within Montgomery’s black community. Interviews with domestic workers suggest that concerns over losing their jobs had discouraged some from adopting a more visible role. As the Montgomery protest garnered national attention, domestic workers who had been hesitant to speak out gained strength from the community mobilization.
Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement by Premilla Nadasen