Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African by Premilla Nadasen

By Premilla Nadasen

Telling the tales of African American family staff, this publication resurrects a little-known background of household employee activism within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, providing new views on race, exertions, feminism, and organizing.
In this groundbreaking heritage of African American domestic-worker organizing, pupil and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters numerous myths and misconceptions approximately an traditionally misunderstood staff. Resurrecting a little-known historical past of domestic-worker activism from the Nineteen Fifties to the Nineteen 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 felony attractiveness to their occupation.

Dismissed by means of mainstream exertions as “unorganizable,” African American family employees constructed exact techniques for social swap and shaped remarkable alliances with activists in either the women’s rights and the black freedom events. utilizing storytelling as a kind of activism and as technique of constructing a collective id as employees, those ladies proudly declared, “We refuse to be your mammies, nannies, aunties, uncles, women, handmaidens any longer.”

With compelling own tales of the leaders and contributors at the entrance traces, Household employees Unite supplies voice to the bad girls of colour whose committed fight for larger wages, larger operating stipulations, and appreciate at the activity created a sustained political flow that endures today.

Winner of the 2016 Sara A. Whaley booklet Prize

From the Hardcover edition.

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Unfortunately, retaliation was not uncommon during the boycott; both E. D. Nixon and Martin Luther King had their homes bombed, and Rosa Parks lost her job at the department store where she worked as a seamstress. Gilmore had little choice but to turn these impediments into opportunities.

Irene was so infuriated, she told her employer off. ” She explained that she joined the boycott because she wanted to, and that she remained in the South in order to help her people. ” Irene, using the full weight of her words as well as her two-hundred-pound frame to her advantage, retorted: “I pity anybody who waits fur me to starve.  . ”51 The complexity of the mistress-maid relationship came to the fore during the boycott. In their actions, domestic workers disproved the loyal mammy myth of popular culture, agitating and maneuvering to improve their lot.

11 As the number of private household workers declined overall, African American women became a greater proportion of the workforce. 14 Dominant white society used the stereotype of the mammy to justify African American women’s status as household laborers and to reconstitute racial hierarchies. For the black community, domestic service became a powerful symbol of racial exploitation and a platform for the assertion of black women’s rights. Middle- and working-class African Americans challenged both the constellation of ideas that associated African American women with household labor and the social and economic arrangements that confined African American women to this occupation.

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