For Labor Day 2021, Consider the Six Black Women Who Organized the Atlanta Washerwoman Strike of 1818


In an effort to make Labor Day 2021 more meaningful, I embarked on what turned out to be an inspiring journey. This weekend, I brushed up on the labor movement to uncover a few things that are not commonly unknown. The plan was to share and post these things to the POB! network today. For as long as I can remember, before I could pull from any intellectual or political well, I’ve been passionate about fairness and sharing. I am pro-labor so I’m giddy about this great find!

The find? TERA HUNTER, an African American scholar whose work is centered on labor, history, and gender. In 1997, she authored  To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War. I’ve not yet read Dr. Hunter’s book but I’ve ordered it already and can’t for the treat. Explore her work at The book

“is an account of the lives of southern African  American women, specifically domestic workers in Atlanta, from the end of slavery through the Reconstruction era … [and it] details the many struggles of African American washerwomen in Atlanta to control where they worked and for how long, how much they were paid, how their children were raised, and particularly the right to control their own bodies. The book was specifically noted for focusing on working class women  rather than middle- and upper-class women, who are more commonly treated  in historical analyses of the period, in part because written records  about higher class people are more common.” Source:
I encourage you to click all the images and links in this email. Join me in honoring the sacrifices of our ancestors. In particular, learn more about Matilda Crawford, Sallie Bell, Carrie Jones, Dora Jones, Orphelia Turner, and Sarah A. Collier, the six Black women who organized the Atlanta Washerwoman Strike of 1818 (as referenced in Hunter’s book).
Image of Dr. Tera W. Hunter (from her website)
I only came upon Dr. Hunter because of one of my favorite websites, the Zinn Education Project. No educator, independent scholar, or history buff should be without this site in their resource list. On the Atlanta Washerwoman Strike of 1881, they’ve bundled a great deal of information HERE. And on women in the labor movement, they’ve bundled a great deal of information HERE. You’ll find these links educational, for sure!


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