“The Maid Narratives” to be Presented on Thursday for Women’s History Month

By: Public Relations and Marketing
Date Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014

WATERLOO—March is known as Women’s History Month, and to observe this special event, Hawkeye Community College will present, “The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South.” This free event will be held on Thursday, March 27, from 10:30-11:45 a.m. on the college’s campus in the Tama Hall Auditorium. This event is open to the public.

“The Maid Narratives” was written by Katherine van Wormer, David W. Jackson III, and Charletta Sudduth. Van Wormer and Sudduth will discuss their experiences and observations as they did research for the book. Van Wormer grew up in New Orleans and is a sociologist and professor of social work at the University of Northern Iowa. She is an author or co-author of 16 books. Sudduth is a Title I early childhood consultant for the Waterloo Community School District. She earned a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate in education, curriculum, and instruction from the University of Northern Iowa.

The “Maid Narratives” is a book that presents varied and detailed stories from more than 50 individuals, both black and white, and the memories of the black domestic workers and the white families they served. The book tells the story of resilience and resistance in the face of oppression in the Jim Crow South. Many of the black workers including the housekeepers, caretakers, sharecroppers, and cooks shared their memories through this book. Their perspectives as servants who left the South for better opportunities reveal the physical and psychological survival in racially oppressive conditions. Learn about the shared hardships, strong emotional ties, and inspiring strength. This book fills a historical cavity and takes readers back in time to a place that is unfamiliar to most individuals.