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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Barbara Krauthamer

Second Advisor

John Higginson

Third Advisor

Priyanka Srivistava

Fourth Advisor

Traci Parker

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Cultural History | Labor History | Social History | United States History | Women's History


This dissertation examines the wage-earning domestic work performed by African American women in the early twentieth century. Despite social and cultural perceptions of domestic work as unskilled, this work discredits the perception. The laborers of the occupation primarily reside in southern states, except for those who migrated North and West during the first Great Migration. This work examines the lived experiences of African American women domestic workers in Texas. Through an examination of organization and institutional records, case studies and media, the narrative of domestic work is crafted. Specifically, the federal intervention regarding vocational training is explored. The organizations featured include the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, and the National Youth Administration (NYA). Attention is given to the impacts of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on the occupation of domestic labor in Texas as well. By focusing on the three largest African American populated metropolitan areas Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas I examine the domestic labor market through employment advertisements and agencies to determine the working environment and competition, if any. Finally, I examine ways these domestic workers contributed to the Civil Rights struggle in Texas through resistance and advocacy for their paid labor.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, May 26, 2024