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Atlanta Washerwomen Strike of 1881

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 3 months ago


external image washerwomen%201.jpgEvent Summary


Atlanta Washerwomen Strike, 1881 from AFL-CIO


  • 3000 Black washerwomen--and some whites--went on strike in the summer of 1881 for better wages, respect and a uniform pay rate.


    • Organized by 20 women who formed the Washing Society of Atlanta


    • Washerwomen also organized strikes in Jackson, Mississippi (1866) and Galveston, Texas (1877)


  • Washing clothes was backbreaking work
      • Using a washtub and washboard, women would heat water in a large pot, used homemade lye soap to clean the clothes, and then hang them on a clothesline to dry, a process that could take all day

African American Laundry Women Go on Strike in Atlanta from American Social History Project

Black Women Advance Labor's Cause in an Unlikely Setting: 1881 Atlanta

The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, 1880-1910, from American Historical Association

Book Review of To Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors after the Civil War, Tora. W. Hunter, 1997

The Negro Washerwoman, A Vanishing Figure. Carter G. Woodson, Journal of Negro History (July 1930)

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