This oral history portrays the lives of African American women who migrated from the rural South to work as domestic servants in Washington, D.C., in the early decades of this century. In Living In, Living Out, Elizabeth Clark-Lewis narrates the personal experiences of eighty-one women who worked for wealthy white families. These women describe how they encountered - but never accepted - the master-servant relationship, and recount the strategies they used to change their status from qlive inq servants to daily paid workers who qlived outq. Clark-Lewis describes the women's roots in the rural South, where limited prospects encouraged African American families to plan their daughters' migration to northern cities. While still very young, girls were trained to do household chores; as they got older, qtraveling talkq began to prepare them to survive in the world of white employers. After an elaborate search for places to live with northern kin, girls were sent off with familiar folk rituals: they were given charms for good luck, blessings from the church, and fetishes for remembrance. With candor and passion, the women interviewed tell of adjusting to city life qup Northq, of being placed as live-in servants, and of the frustrations and indignities they endured as domestics. By networking on the job with laundresses and at churches and penny savers clubs, they found ways to transform the master-servant relationship into an employer-employee relationship. Clark-Lewis points out that their perseverance and courage not only improved their own lot but also transformed work life for succeeding generations of African American women. A series of in-depth vignettes about the later years of thesewomen bears poignant witness to their efforts to carve out lives of fulfillment and dignity.In Living In, Living Out, Elizabeth Clark-Lewis narrates the personal experiences of eighty-one women who worked for wealthy white families.
|Title||:||Living In, Living Out|
|Publisher||:||Smithsonian Inst Press - 2010|