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Black Workers RememberAn Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle$
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Michael Keith Honey

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520217744

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520217744.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

Making a Way Out of No Way

Making a Way Out of No Way

Black Women Factory Workers

(p.86) 3 Making a Way Out of No Way
Black Workers Remember


University of California Press

This chapter talks about a society that devalued the work of African Americans, and in which the survival of black families depended to a great extent on the labor of black women. Not only did black women bear primary responsibility for raising children, they also worked outside of the home in far higher proportions than did white women; going back to slavery, they had no choice. By excluding black men from decent jobs and holding their wages below subsistence levels, segregation forced black women into the waged economy, at even lower wages, in order to support their families. A brilliant cadre of “middle-class” (and usually far from wealthy) black women teachers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and women’s club leaders developed organizations to lift black families and communities out of the mire imposed by white supremacy.

Keywords:   African Americans, black families, waged economy, middle class, slavery

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