Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work

Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work

by Enobong Branch


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Blacks and Whites. Men and Women. Historically, each group has held very different types of jobs. The divide between these jobs was stark-clean or dirty, steady or inconsistent, skilled or unskilled. In such a rigidly segregated occupational landscape, race and gender radically limited labor opportunities, relegating Black women to the least desirable jobs. Opportunity Denied is the first comprehensive look at changes in race, gender, and women's work across time, comparing the labor force experiences of Black women to White women, Black men and White men. Enobong Hannah Branch merges empirical data with rich historical detail, offering an original overview of the evolution of Black women's work.

From free Black women in 1860 to Black women in 2008, the experience of discrimination in seeking and keeping a job has been determinedly constant. Branch focuses on occupational segregation before 1970 and situates the findings of contemporary studies in a broad historical context, illustrating how inequality can grow and become entrenched over time through the institution of work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813551234
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

ENOBONG HANNAH BRANCH is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Table of Contents


1. Hierarchies of Preference at Work: The Need for an Intersectional Approach

2. As Good as Any Man: Black Women in Farm Labor

3. Excellent Servants: Domestic Service as Black Women's Work

4. Existing on the Industrial Fringe: Black Women in the Factory

5. Your Blues Ain't Nothing Like Mine: Race and Gender as Keys to Occupational Opportunity

6. The Illusion of Progress: Black Women's Work in the Post-Civil Rights Era


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