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This Here Job Don’t Pay Me Much: Black Domestics and their Strategies for Economic Justice

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Abstract:

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African American women dominated the domestic work field. Moreover, they were often exposed to various forms of economic discrimination, exploitation, and injustices in the workplace. They labored in the homes of middle class whites, and were paid menial wages and frequently experienced unfavorable working conditions. However, black women often demonstrated forms of workplace resistance, and used the home of their employers as contested spaces. They organized, demanded a structured labor market, chose to perform “live out” work as opposed to “live-in” work, and complained of mistresses who exploited them in order to gain economic leverage in the workplace. Newspaper articles, essays, and narratives display their opposition to the economically oppressive nature of domestic service. Although their behaviors did not always translate into monetary gain, their strategies are important to document because they demonstrate the forms of self-reliance and survival tactics women performed. A discussion of strategies also contributes to a better understanding of the ways working class women thrived vis-à-vis economic hardship and discrimination. This paper will first describe the forms of workplace injustice domestic workers experienced, including undesirable working conditions, inadequate compensation and an unstructured labor market, and conversely, will discuss their methods to counter these injustices and gain economic equality.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435240_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Purkiss, Ava. "This Here Job Don’t Pay Me Much: Black Domestics and their Strategies for Economic Justice" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435240_index.html>

APA Citation:

Purkiss, A. , 2010-09-29 "This Here Job Don’t Pay Me Much: Black Domestics and their Strategies for Economic Justice" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435240_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African American women dominated the domestic work field. Moreover, they were often exposed to various forms of economic discrimination, exploitation, and injustices in the workplace. They labored in the homes of middle class whites, and were paid menial wages and frequently experienced unfavorable working conditions. However, black women often demonstrated forms of workplace resistance, and used the home of their employers as contested spaces. They organized, demanded a structured labor market, chose to perform “live out” work as opposed to “live-in” work, and complained of mistresses who exploited them in order to gain economic leverage in the workplace. Newspaper articles, essays, and narratives display their opposition to the economically oppressive nature of domestic service. Although their behaviors did not always translate into monetary gain, their strategies are important to document because they demonstrate the forms of self-reliance and survival tactics women performed. A discussion of strategies also contributes to a better understanding of the ways working class women thrived vis-à-vis economic hardship and discrimination. This paper will first describe the forms of workplace injustice domestic workers experienced, including undesirable working conditions, inadequate compensation and an unstructured labor market, and conversely, will discuss their methods to counter these injustices and gain economic equality.


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