The Quest for Labor Equality in Household Work: National Domestic Workers Union, 1965-1979

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The National Domestic Workers Union was founded in Atlanta in 1968 by Dorothy Bolden to help women engaged in household work. The collection consists of records of the United Domestic Workers Union (U.S) from 1965-1979. The correspondence (1965-1979) reflects Bolden's efforts in organizing the Union and includes such correspondents as Julian Bond, Senator Sam Nunn, Senator Herman Talmadge, Allen Williams, Andrew Young, and other Georgia and national political figures. The subject files (1967-1979) cover a myriad of topics illustrating the Union's involvement in the Black community, the Manpower Program, the Career Learning Center, the Homemaking Skills Training Program, Maids Honor Day, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), and various federal agencies. The collection contains minutes of the Union (1968-1971, 1978), the Citizen's Advisory Committee on Transportation (1970-1972), the Citizens Neighborhood Advisory Council (1972-1978), and MARTA (1973-1975). The collection also contains financial documents (1968-1979) including budgets, membership records, and files relating to Equal Opportunity Atlanta, which funded many of the Union's projects; and legal documents including agreements and contracts with Economic Opportunity Atlanta.

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Archives Unbound Series

Introducing Archives Unbound -- a vast new resource that combines the best of legacy microfilms from Gale and Primary Source Media and new, never-before-filmed collections. Specifically developed to address the needs of individual scholars, universities, and organizations, Archives Unbound is unique not only for its expansive, multi-disciplinary content but also for the distinct new intuitive search platform by which it is accessed.

Features and Benefits

  • Explores the values, strategies, and tensions inherent by examining a specific War on Poverty supported initiative, the National Domestic Workers Union (NDWU) in Atlanta, as well as highlighting the work of the NDWU and its founding director, Dorothy Bolden.
  • Domestic service in the United States continues to hold significant implications for most low-skilled women of color and is implicated in the institutions of racism, classism, and sexism.
  • Practices established under slavery continued to affect the association between race and domestic work.
  • Specifically, black women ran the households for whites under slavery, and this norm continued after abolition for those whites who could afford it.
  • In the South, domestic service was integral to the maintenance of its racial caste structure.