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The Fruits of Their LaborAtlantic Coast Farmworkers and the Making of Migrant Poverty, 1870-1945$
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Cindy Hahamovitch

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780807846391

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899922_hahamovitch

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Work or Fight: The State as Padrone during the First World War

Work or Fight: The State as Padrone during the First World War

(p.79) 4 Work or Fight: The State as Padrone during the First World War
The Fruits of Their Labor

Cindy Hahamovitch

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter tells the story of a black woman in Tampa sitting on her porch and how she found herself in conversation with a white woman who was looking for a domestic. In response to the visitor's queries, the black woman said no, she was not working for anyone, and yes, she could cook. However, when the white woman informed her that she wanted to hire her, as she had been unable to find a cook, the black woman wryly replied that she “had experienced the same difficulty” and that she had been about to ask the white woman to cook for her. Not amused, the white woman later returned with the police and had the black woman arrested for refusing work during the war. This brief exchange, recorded by Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), reveals a great deal about the nature of labor relations in the American South during the First World War.

Keywords:   black woman, Tampa, white woman, domestic, Walter White, NAACP

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