Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life

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Beacon Press, Jan 3, 2012 - Fiction - 264 pages
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Like One of the Family, which provides historical context for Kathryn Stockett's novel, The Help, is comprised of a series of conversations between Mildred, a black domestic, and her friend Marge. They create a vibrant picture of the life of a black working woman in New York in the 1950s.Rippling with satire and humor, Mildred’s outspoken accounts capture vividly her white employers’ complacency and condescension—and startled reactions to a maid who speaks her mind. As Mildred declares to a patronizing employer that she is not just like one of the family, or explains to Marge how a tricky employer has created a system of “half days off” to cheat her help, we gain a glimpse not only of one woman’s day to day struggle, but of her previous ache of racial oppression. A domestic who refuses to exchange dignity for pay, Mildred is an inspiring conversationalist, a dragon slayer in a segregated world.

The conversations in the book were first published in Freedom, the newspaper edited by Paul Robeson, and later in the Baltimore Afro-American. The book was originally published in the 1950s by in Brooklyn–based Independence Press, and Beacon Press brought out a new edition of it in 1986 with an introduction by the literary and cultural critic Trudier Harris.


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Contents

INTRODUCTION by Trudier Harris
Notes
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Secondary Sources
LIKE ONE OF THE FAMILY
LISTEN FOR THE MUSIC
ON SAYING NO
RIDIN THE BUS
ECONOMY CORNER
IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM
I COULD RUN A SCHOOL TOO
I VISIT YESTERDAY
STORY TELLIN TIME
ABOUT THOSE COLORED MOVIES
WHY SHOULD I GET UPSET?
INHIBITIONS

BUYIN PRESENTS
IF YOU WANT TO GET ALONG WITH ME
GOT TO GO SOMEPLACE
THE POCKETBOOK GAME
NEW YORKS MY HOME
ALL ABOUT MY JOB
BUBBA
THE HEALTH CARD
YOUR SOUL ANOTHER YOU
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
ARENT YOU HAPPY?
NASTY COMPLIMENTS
OLD AS THE HILLS
MRS JAMES
HANDS
ALL THE THINGS WE ARE
I LIKED WORKIN AT THAT PLACE
GOOD REASON FOR A GOOD TIME
I GO TO A FUNERAL
WEEKEND WITH PEARL
MORE BLESSED TO GIVE
SOMETIMES I FEEL SO SORRY
I GO TO CHURCH
I HATE HALFDAYS OFF
WHAT DOES AFRICA WANT? FREEDOM
I WISH I WAS A POET
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
WE NEED A UNION TOO
PRETTY SIGHTS AND GOOD FEELINS
DOPE AND THINGS LIKE THAT
MERRY CHRISTMAS MARGE
ON LEAVIN NOTES
THE MANY OTHERS IN HISTORY
INTERESTIN AND AMUSIN
A NEW KIND OF PRAYER
HISTORY IN THE MAKIN
DANCE WITH ME HENRY
AINT YOU MAD?
DISCONTENT
NORTHERNERS CAN BE SO SMUG
LETS FACE IT
IF HEAVEN IS WHAT WE WANT
WHERE IS THE SPEAKIN PLACE?
MISSIONARIES
SO MUCH FOR NOTHING
THE BENEVOLENT CLUB
ALL ABOUT MISS TUBMAN
THE ABCS OF LIFE AND LEARNING
SOMEHOW ID LIKE TO THANK THEM
MEN IN YOUR LIFE
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About the author (2012)

Alice Childress was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised an educated in Harlem. She pursued a variety of jobs, including assistant machinist, photo retoucher, saleslady, and insurance agent as she worked relentlessly to gain audiences for her work as a playwright, actress, and novelist. She also did domestic work for a few months; the day she quit she surprised her employer by throwing her keys at her head. The woman later asked her to return to work. This "only work" that Childress could find turned out to be valuable, for it provided her with firsthand experience of the job situation she would later depict in Like One of the Family. Her works include numerous plays including the Obie-Award Winning Trouble in Mind, as well as books for young adults such as A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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