Premilla Nadesen on "HOUSEHOLD WORKERS UNITE", Domestic Worker Activism in the 1960's and 1970's

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Air date: 
Mon, 11/02/2015 - 8:00am to 9:00am
Premilla Nadesen on "HOUSEHOLD WORKERS UNITE", Domestic Worker Activism in the 1960's and 1970's

Hosts Cecil Prescod and Celeste Carey speak with scholar and activist Premilla Nadasen about her book, HOUSEHOLD WORKERS UNITE: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement and the little-known history of domestic worker activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Premilla Nadasen offers new perspectives on race, labor, feminism, and organizing.
Nadasen shows how these women were a far cry from the stereotyped passive and powerless victims; 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.”

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 for Ms., the Progressive Media Project, and other media outlets.
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