360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 illus., notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4966-8
Published: September 2001
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1100-6
Published: January 2013
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Wolcott takes us into the speakeasies, settlement houses, blues clubs, storefront churches, employment bureaus, and training centers of Prohibition- and depression-era Detroit. There, she explores the wide range of black women's experiences, focusing particularly on the interactions between working- and middle-class women. As Detroit's black population grew exponentially, women not only served as models of bourgeois respectability, but also began to reshape traditional standards of deportment in response to the new realities of their lives. In so doing, Wolcott says, they helped transform black politics and culture. Eventually, as the depression arrived, female respectability as a central symbol of reform was supplanted by a more strident working-class activism.
About the Author
Victoria W. Wolcott is assistant professor of history at the University of Rochester
For more information about Victoria W. Wolcott, visit the Author Page.
"A most welcome breakthrough in the historiography of black Detroit that has been dominated by a focus on black men as the central agents of community building."--Michigan Historical Review
"By focusing on the changing nature of their community work in the first three decades of the twentieth century, Wolcott adds significantly to our understanding not only of the history of African American women but also of the changing nature of black Detroit. All future work on either subject will need to take this book into account."--Anne Firor Scott, author of Natural Allies: Women's Associations in American History