Household Workers Unite is a groundbreaking history of African American domestic-worker organizing. Scholar and activist Premilla Nadasen shatters countless 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 not passive and powerless victims. Instead, 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.
This event is cosponsored by the Barnard Center for Research on Women.
Premilla Nadasen is an associate professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and is the author of several books, including the award-winning Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States. A longtime scholar-activist, Nadasen works closely with domestic workers’ rights organizations, for which she has written policy briefs and served as an expert academic witness. She also writes about household labor, social movements, and women’s history forMs., the Progressive Media Project, and other media outlets.
FACE OUT: Household Workers Unite by Premilla Nadasen
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY