Telling the stories of African American domestic workers, this book resurrects a little-known history of domestic worker activism in the 1960s and 1970s, offering new perspectives on race, labor, feminism, and organizing.
Product Code: 8301
ISBN: 9780807033197
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 09/06/2016
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $22.00

In this groundbreaking history of African American domestic-worker organizing, scholar and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters countless myths and misconceptions about an historically misunderstood workforce. Resurrecting a little-known history of domestic-worker activism from the 1950s to the 1970s, Nadasen shows how these women were a far cry from the stereotyped passive and powerless victims; they were innovative labor organizers who tirelessly organized on buses and streets across the United States to bring dignity and legal recognition to their occupation.

Dismissed by mainstream labor as “unorganizable,” African American household workers developed unique strategies for social change and formed unprecedented alliances with activists in both the women’s rights and the black freedom movements. Using storytelling as a form of activism and as means of establishing a collective identity as workers, these women proudly declared, “We refuse to be your mammies, nannies, aunties, uncles, girls, handmaidens any longer.”

With compelling personal stories of the leaders and participants on the front lines, Household Workers Unite gives voice to the poor women of color whose dedicated struggle for higher wages, better working conditions, and respect on the job created a sustained political movement that endures today.

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CHAPTER 1: “Conversations About Domestic Labor”
CHAPTER 2: Women, Civil Rights, and Grassroots Mobilization
CHAPTER 3: A New Day for Domestic Workers
CHAPTER 4: Intimacy, Labor, and Professionalization
CHAPTER 5: Space, Place, and New Models of Labor Organizing
CHAPTER 6: Social Rights, Feminist Solidarity, and the FLSA
CHAPTER 7: Women, Work, and Immigration


“Household Workers Unite is a stellar scholarly achievement, a powerful and timely political contribution, and a must read for anyone seriously interested in the confluence of race, class, gender and citizenship in the lives of women of color, and in the historic struggles for social justice, in the 20th and 21st centuries.” —Barbara Ransby, Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, Director of the Social Justice Initiative, and author of the award-winning Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

“Here at last is the story that finally positions black domestic workers at the center of mid-twentieth-century civil rights and anti-racist movement history. In the process of fighting for their rights as citizen-workers, the women whose phenomenal lives are explored in Household Workers Unite forged a legacy that deeply informs our social justice struggles today.” —Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

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