Maids in the South

Hannah Ishmael and Ali Bortmess


Racism was something that was a horrible but normal thing in society a long time ago, and there is still some in our society today which is not right. We're trying to show you how racism was tied into black maids in the south, and how racism was almost a choice but was often taught and some were basically born into being racist. Racism, a socially constructed term is a learned behavior. Black maids in the south were basically the mother to the children of the house they lived in, they usually raised the kids and did everything around the house.

Maid's Point of View

We are Literally Slaves

This story was told by a black woman born and raised in the South. She talks about her life and how every black person in her community was a "slave" of some sort. She was a nurse, a house maid, and many other jobs. She talks about her 14-16 hour days and how she rarely even got a thanks. This story just shows you how badly maids and black workers were treated because it talks about how much they got paid, and how they couldn't even take care of their own children most of the time because they were busy raising white children.

White Child, Black Maid

This story is uniquely told from the point of view of a black maid's birth child. When Tyrone Doyle’s mother past away, he went looking through old boxes and found momentos and pictures from the past, however they were all of the 4 families his mother had worked for. These white children were very close to his mother, they attended her wedding and she went to their bar mitzvahs.

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They call me Miss Brooks

This story is told with a more negative view on her experience as a maid. Even in the North where she was employed, the racism was very present. She wasn’t allowed to use the front door, the white families bathroom, and eat at the dining table. Everyone in her family worked for a white person in one way or another.

Child's Point of View

BitterSweet: Linked Through Slavery

This is the story a little girl that was raised by a black maid named Thelma. Thelma had been working for their family since this girl was a baby. Thelma was her best friend. She describes having a wonderful relationship with Thelma and having no relationship with her own real mother. When this girl got a little older she would wake up early on the days that Thelma was coming and walk down to the bus stop to wait for Thelma. They would walk back home together and hold hands and talk. Thelma was this girl's partner in crime and she loved her.

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The stories above show how black maids raised white children as their own. It shows the relationship and bond that is formed between the two, and some of the time this bond never goes away. But in some cases, somewhere along the way the bond is lost and forgotten. The white children who once loved their black maids become adults and turn into racist people, because the know nothing better. Only some can take a stand and go against what is the norm, but back then racism was the norm. It was almost a learned behavior, like as a white child became an adult they learned and saw around them racism happening and eventually picked up on it.