African American working women -- responses

I thought that H-Women subscribers might be interested in the responses to Susan Cahn's query on texts dealing with African American Working Women. Many thanx to Eileen Boris, Doug Deal, Mel Dubofsky, Gerry Zahavi and Miriam Cohen. Jacqueline Jones certainly has some appreciative readers. Seth Wigderson, H-Labor moderator

From: Eileen Boris <> Here are a few to begin with: Tera hunter, "Domination and Resistance: The Politics of Wage Household Labor in New South Atlanta," Labor History (Spring-Summer 1993), 205-220; Darlene Clark Hine, White Women in Black (Indiana Univ. Press) on nursing; Judith Rollins, Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers (Temple Univ Press); Susan Reverby has a wonderful oral interview with Lillian Roberts (from hospital worker to union organizer, later Commissioner of Labor in New York) in the now out of print Norton and Berkin reader, Women's America. I'd also think of using Teresa L. Amott and Julie A. Matthaei as your text, Race, Gender and Work: A Multicultural Economic History of Women in the United States (South End Press). Karen Aanderson has an article on WWII, "Last Hired, First Fired: Black Women Workers in WWII," (I think that's the title) that was in the Journal of American History and is reprinted in NOrton's D.C. Heath anthology. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis has a new book on domestics in the 1920s from the Smithsonian Press; there is also her documentary movie, Freedom Bags. She has an article in the Norton and Groneman collection, "To Work the Livelong Days" (I think that is title; book is at my office), published by Cornell. Sharon Harley has some articles on black women workers, including one in Signs. You might also look at Lois Helmbold's articles: one in Feminist Studies, another in Labor History that looked at the Depression. There is
Jacqueline Jones' survey, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family. Beverly Jones had a piece quite a while ago in Feminist Studies on black women tobacco workers in Durham; also see Dolores Janiewski,Sisterhood Denied and look for work of Robert Korstad on tobacco workers in 30s and WWII.

Eileen Boris
Howard Univ.

From: "J. Douglas Deal" <deal@oswego.Oswego.EDU> These may be obvious suggestions, but Susan Cahn might consider using Jacqueline Jones' books, LABOR OF LOVE, LABOR OF SORROW and THE DISPOSSESSED. On New York (and South Carolina) hospital workers, Leon Fink and Brian Greenberg's book on Local 1199 is fascinating and, for a group of adult activists, provocative too. Of course, only the first of these books deals exclusively with African American women, but all three contain useful material.

Doug Deal

From: Melvyn Dubofsky <DUBOF@BINGVMB> Is not Jacqueline Jones, LABOR OF SORROW, LABOR OF LOVE, the obvious book?

This is in reply to Susan Cahn's request for readings on African-American Working Women. I would suggest that she look at Jacqueline Jones' LABOR OF LOVE, LABOR OF SORROW. Chapters three and four cover the 20th century. Gerry Zahavi.

As a number of people will surely tell you, Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present, is an excellent synthesis. Miriam Cohen

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