Boehm (urban studies, Worcester State Univ.) has written a fascinating study of African American women who migrated from the South to the North from 1940 to 1970 and worked outside the home. Based largely on interviews conducted by the author and some of her students with 40 such women, Boehm paints a portrait marked by both variety and a certain commonality. The interviewees ranged from one who spent most of her life in the North in domestic service to one who now owns her father's business. Some migrated gladly, others reluctantly. Some rather easily found work, while others struggled. Most left the South in order to improve their lot economically and escape Southern racism. Many, nonetheless, retain fond memories of their life before they migrated and note that racism existed in the North as well. Most worked in domestic service at some point and, interestingly, felt great pride and fulfillment in doing that work. VERDICT A very readable study, this is a valuable contribution to the field of African American history. Recommended especially for undergraduate and advanced readers.—A.O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN
Lisa Krissoff Boehm is associate professor of urban studies and director of the Commonwealth Honors Program at Worcester State College. She is the author of Popular Culture and the Enduring Myth of Chicago.