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Battling the Plantation MentalityMemphis and the Black Freedom Struggle$
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Laurie B. Green

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831069

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888872_green

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Where Would the Negro Women Apply for Work? Wartime Clashes over Labor, Gender, and Racial Justice

Where Would the Negro Women Apply for Work? Wartime Clashes over Labor, Gender, and Racial Justice

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 Where Would the Negro Women Apply for Work? Wartime Clashes over Labor, Gender, and Racial Justice
Source:
Battling the Plantation Mentality
Author(s):

Laurie B. Green

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807888872_green.5

This chapter examines how working-class blacks in the urban South perceived their struggles over labor, gender, and racial justice during World War II. More specifically, it considers the indignation among African Americans over black women's exclusion from the “Rosie the Riveter” defense industry jobs open to white women, and their restriction to private work as maids or laundry workers. The chapter also discusses the exclusion of black men from most skilled positions. It explores how the tensions caused by racial discrimination redefined the social meaning of black and white manhood and womanhood, and drove black workers to join trade unions. Finally, the chapter analyzes concerns about the intimidation and terrorism practiced by the Crump machine in Memphis.

Keywords:   urban South, labor, gender, racial justice, African Americans, black women, racial discrimination, trade unions, Crump machine, Memphis

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