Life of a Domestic Housekeeper
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The Life of a Domestic Housekeeper
"We had home remedies for illness and made our own hand soap for washing. Every penny counted. Nothing was ever wasted."
February 22, 2018
-During the Great Depression (1930's) many African Americans were the first to be laid off jobs. - Many suffered an unemployment rate of two to three of that of "whites". - Given some of the most dangerous, dirty, and low paid jobs. Ex. shoe shiners, taxi drivers, miners, Pullman car workers, factory workers, and housekeepers - jobs were low paying and strenuous -men often had more opportunities -orphans were trained to be domestic workers
The Average day
- 60% of Urban white families had full time domestic servants -The average day was 14 to 16 hrs -paid $10/ month - cook, tend to the children, and carryout housework -playmates to other children -received every 2nd Sunday off work - refusing to do what they were told would get them fired -resting on the job would get them fired -go door to door searching for work - usually had no training prior - could not afford to have a bad reputation -take the bus or walk to work; very few had cars
How They Were Treated
- received less aid - not addressed with respect - only associated with whites when working for them -unfair treatment - loyal and faithful to the families they worked for - most were uneducated -take home leftovers from work to feed their families - mutual agreements decided between the employer and the employee for resources that would be provided -always had the option to leave their job
- spent money on rent, clothes, and food for their family -oldest children would get jobs to help out their families -employer's husband was allowed to take advantage of the house maid - wives often knew about it, but would keep it secret for the husband's reputation - sometimes men had two families - the house maid would receive no outside help
Even after the Great Depression, there was still inequality amongst everyone and open wounds from a rough time period. We will never forget the perseverance and hardships of those who worked as domestic housekeepers
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