Friday April 16 at 12.30pm EST.
For this Black, Brown and Green Voices event, Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey will be in conversation with Dr. Danielle T. Phillips-Cunningham about her new book Putting Their Hands on Race: Irish Immigrant and Southern Black Domestic Workers (Rutgers University Press, 2019), which offers an important labor history of 19th and early 20th century Irish immigrant and US southern Black migrant domestic workers. Drawing on a range of archival sources, this intersectional study explores how these women were significant to the racial labor and citizenship politics of their time. Their migrations to northeastern cities challenged racial hierarchies and formations. Southern Black migrant women resisted the gendered racism of domestic service, and Irish immigrant women strove to expand whiteness to position themselves as deserving of labor rights. On the racially fractious terrain of labor, Black women and Irish immigrant women, including Victoria Earle Matthews, the “Irish Rambler”, Leonora Barry, and Anna Julia Cooper, gathered data, wrote letters and speeches, marched, protested, engaged in private acts of resistance in the workplace, and created women’s institutions and organizations to assert domestic workers’ right to living wages and protection.
Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham is the program director and associate professor of Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies (MWGS) at Texas Woman’s University (TWU). At TWU, she teaches courses about race, feminist theories, and women’s labor and migration histories. She is co-teaching a cross-listed course between TWU and Spelman College entitled “Covid-19 & Black Workers: Race, Gender, and Labor” this semester. Phillips-Cunningham won the 2020 National Women’s Studies Association’s Sara A. Whaley Book Prize for Putting Their Hands on Race. Her work about Irish immigrant and African American domestic workers has also appeared in Signs: The Journal of Women and Culture in Society and the Women’s History Review.
Black, Brown and Green Voices represents a documentation strategy and public humanities initiative that gives voice to the diversity of the Irish diaspora by recording life histories with Americans of Irish and African ancestry. The project director is historian Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey, who has been based at New York University since 2008, and is a founding board member of the African American Irish Diaspora Network. Funding for this project has been generously provided by Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate General of Ireland, New York. This event is co-sponsored by NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYU DC Dialogues and the African American Irish Diaspora Network.