The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics And White Families In the Jim Crow South

By Susan Pruitt
Senior Editor

Book: The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South

Authors: Katherine van Wormer, David W. Jackson III and Charletta Sudduth

   The Maid Narratives gives the reader a front seat to the oppression of African-American women through many eye-opening personal stories from maids and white employers before, during and after the era of segregation.  Many readers, including myself, learned about sharecropping in history class as a child, but possibly did not understand the real hardships African-Americans endured during this time. Working as soon as you could walk, receiving used items or food as a form of payment, not being able to eat at the table with white people – all of these things only skim the surface of the atrocities these women retell to the authors.

   Hazel Rankins, from Taylor, Ark., says, “They washed your plate and put it over there where they put their dog plate, and your plate never comes close to where they put their plate. But, you clean their bathroom and do their cooking and all that, but you weren’t good enough to eat out of their plate or use their spoons.”

   On the other hand, some women discuss how most white people had a good attitude towards them, and in some cases, they even liked their employers. White employers also discuss their current feelings of how African-American women were treated at the time they employed them. Through shock, tears and happiness, this book changed the way I think of African-American history. I think this book should be required reading for high school and college-level American history classes.

   To purchase The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South, please go to http://www.amazon.com/The-Maid-Narratives-Domestics-Families/dp/0807149683 or http://lsupress.org/books/detail/the-maid-narratives/.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics And White Families In the Jim Crow South”
  1. GP says:

    Reblogged this on misentopop.

  2. vanwormer says:

    Thanks so much for you review of our book. It’s appropriate for Black History Month that we honor domestic servants such as the ones who shared their memories in our book. Many worked for civil rights while others focused on getting their children the education of which they themselves were deprived. The children and grandchildren of the women we interviewed have done very well due to the example that was set.

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