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Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present
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Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A powerful account of the changing role of American black women in the labor force and in the family.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published by Vintage Books USA (first published 1985)
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The content of this book is extraordinary. It follows closely the circumstances of black women from pre-Civil War through to the 1980s. It does this without romanticizing their lives and without trivializing their struggles. However, the writing is dense and can sometimes be hard to get through. At several points, I found myself skimming through pages where I felt like I was being told the same story/information for the second, third, multiple time. At that point, some of the anecdotes cease to ...more
Professor Jacqueline Jones presents the extensively researched history of the dual working worlds of black American women–at home and in the workforce–from slavery to present. She highlights the ways in which the unique cultural history of slavery as well as being subject to both sexism and racism have impacted black American women’s lives.

I believe this nonfiction work suffers for two reasons. First, the scope is huge, overwhelming really. Jones attempts to condense and impart a huge amount of
Written in 1984, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow covers roughly 150 years of labor and family history of black women in the United States. By focusing on work and family, Jones is able to address (among many other things) the disturbing continuities in black women's lives before, during, and after the Civil War as regards why they worked, for whom they worked, what the did, and how much they earned. However this story is also a heartening one about black women, over and over again, choosing to ac ...more
At first the book was very concise. It did what it said it would discuss in the first part: southern black women. Then in the second part which was to discuss Northern women, it went all other the place. It was constantly shifted from North to South. If you say you're going to do one part Southern only and the one part Northern only, then I expect that. I also don't agree with was the belief that the labor unions are what made business owners give their workers higher pay. I did however like how ...more
historical documentation of black women in the family and their role as caregivers! An important read.
A comprehensive history of black women's labor from slavery to the present. Jones discusses labor in the rural and urban South as well as the North.
Jul 08, 2010 Anne added it
Lots of historical information about African American women. A little dry, but a must read for anyone studying Black Feminism.
Jacqueline Murray-bonno
A sobering, factual contrast to the romanticized life of African American domestics in "The Help".
LaShonda Katrice Barnett
If you can only read one book on black women and slavery, let it be this one.
Solid non-fiction read. Helps contextualize my current work in unions/labor.
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