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Strange Fruit: When Black Women Raised America

Strange Fruit domestic worker
New York Public Library (Wikimedia Commons)

During WWII, while a large swath of the male population was fighting overseas, women at home went to work. The feminist narrative might say this was the beginning of women's escape from domestic drudgery -- a first glimpse of what it might be like to be financially independent and self-supporting.

Who does this narrative leave out? Black women, for whom staying at home to focus on childcare and household management wasn't necessarily an option even before the war. Many black women did that same type of work in white households, instead of their own.

Through the 1900s, a majority of domestic workers in the U.S. were black women. Their wages were low and they had little recourse if they encountered harassment on the job.

Scholar and activist Ashley Nkadi joins us this week to talk about the history of black domestic workers in the U.S.

And in Juicy Fruit, we tackle Taylor Swift's gentrification of a cookout classic.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.