Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present

Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present

Jacqueline Jones

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 0465018815

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present

Jacqueline Jones

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 0465018815

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The forces that shaped the institution of slavery in the American South endured, albeit in altered form, long after slavery was abolished. Toiling in sweltering Virginia tobacco factories or in the kitchens of white families in Chicago, black women felt a stultifying combination of racial discrimination and sexual prejudice. And yet, in their efforts to sustain family ties, they shared a common purpose with wives and mothers of all classes.

In Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow, historian Jacqueline Jones offers a powerful account of the changing role of black women, lending a voice to an unsung struggle from the depths of slavery to the ongoing fight for civil rights.

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Eckford was only fifteen when she, together with eight other black students (the “Little Rock Nine”), entered Little Rock’s all-white high school in 1957, amid the shrieks of white women: “Get her! Lynch her. . . . Get a rope and drag her over to this tree.” Freedom rider Lucretia Collins, a Fisk College student, completed the violent journey from Nashville to Birmingham and then on to Jackson in the spring of 1961. Albany’s Bertha Gober, together with a fellow student from Albany State, set off

don’t get anything for nothing. They make it hard as dirt.” In order to receive their fair share of benefits, groups of women had to mobilize and push for “fair hearings” to receive authorization for certain kinds of basic expenditures such as household appliances, telephones, and furniture; and they had to picket and boycott establishments in order to gain access to the credit cards and credit plans that would free them from the usurious interest rates charged by local merchants and grocery

employed, we would have more competent servants” (p. 62). 36 Rodgers, “Tradition, Modernity,” 660-661. For a theoretical discussion of the clash between premodern and industrial work patterns (and values), see Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline,” 56-97. 37 Wiener, Social Origins, 137-221; see Woodward, Origins of the New South, 107-141. For studies of the iron and tobacco industries, see Kulik, “Black Workers and Technological Change” in Reed, Hough, and Fink, eds., Southern Workers and Their

41-44. Dillingham, Pitt. “Black Belt Settlement Work. Part II: The Community.” Southern Workman 31 (August 1902): 437-444. Dowd, Jerome. “Negro Labor in Factories.” Southern Workman 31 (November 1902). Drake, J. G. St. Clair. “The Negro in the North During Wartime: Chicago.” Journal of Educational Sociology 17 (January 1944): 261-271. DuBois, W. E. B., ed. “Mortality Among Negroes in Cities.” Atlanta University Study No. 1. Atlanta, GA: Atlanta University Press, 1896. ———. “Social and

experiences represented variations on both urban and rural themes. Oyster gathering and processing engaged the energies of entire families that lived in coastal areas of the southeastern United States. The harvest lasted from September through April, though few persons employed in the industry worked steadily or full time even during these months. Husbands and fathers, some of whom owned their own boats, gathered the oysters in the course of ten-day fishing trips and arranged to have them

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