Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South by Susan Tucker
There is much buzz about the fictional novel, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Every person (not just those who work today as nannies and housekeepers) that I know who have read the book, love it. Plus, we can't hardly wait for The Help (Movie Tie-In) to be released as a movie on August 12, 2011.
But, if you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett you will absolutely love the real interviews of 42 black domestic workers and their white employers from the deep South in the 1960s in Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South by Susan Tucker. In fact, Telling Memories Among Southern Women is referenced in The Help as the author's inspiration for the novel.
Although some of those interviewed worked under the same roof, they definitely had two different lifestyles and viewpoints. While reading the interviews you will clearly see the polar opposite lives of the black workers to the white employers. The stark difference is just so sad. You cannot read this book and not admire the black domestic workers who endured a racist society.
Ironically, as I have been reading Telling Memories Among Southern Women,I have also been sharing articles on the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter blog about the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Supporting the Bill of Rights while simultaneously reading, Telling Memories Among Southern Women, has me thinkinng that even though the slaves were freed, many domestic workers still feel like slaves today (of course they aren't slaves and they are paid). I definitely thought of some of my dear, impoverished nanny friends that share very similar stories and feelings today. The stigma today for my friends, though, isn't due race. The similarity between the working women in the book and those today is similar disrespect, ignorance, and mistreatment by pretentious, wealthy employers. It's sad to admit that I know some exhausted and defeated nannies even now, in a modern world.
That being said, there were some good relationships between domestic workers and their employers in the book as well. It's wonderful to read about some of the domestic workers that were taken care of their whole lives by their loving employers. I also know a few nannies that boast just as much about their great nanny jobs today.
So, in a nutshell, if you loved The Help, you will love these interesting true accounts of black slaves and domestic workers in the 1960s. Borrow it or buy it today!