Read Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South by Susan Tucker Online


This is a collection of oral-history narratives that explore the complex bond between black female domestic workers and their white employers from the turn of the 20th century to the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. It is based on interviews with 42 women of both races from the Deep South....

Title : Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South
Author :
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ISBN : 9780807127995
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 279 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South Reviews

  • Maria Christensen
    2019-05-08 23:37

    I haven't read "The Help" but reading the reviews reminded me of this book which I read for an upper level Modern Southern History class in college about 12 years ago. The book is perhaps more suited for those with a deep interest in history than the casual reader. I received an A+ on the paper I wrote for this book (which is more of a statement on the writing abilities of my classmates than my intellectual abilities) and one thing in particular always struck me: the deep divide between the perception of the white women and the unspoken reality of their servants. I lived in Savannah, GA while reading this and majoring in history. That divide still existed, albeit in a slightly different form. One interview sums up what I know from personal experience. The woman who was interviewed was angry. Angry at Northerners for persisting in believing that Southerners hate blacks. "There was never any hate in anybody's heart," she said. She, and most of the white women interviewed for the book, loved their servants. Of course, they loved them the way you love a child or a favorite pet. There was a lot of condescension and patronizing and a complete inability to believe that their servants did not tell them everything they felt. There was an utter lack of empathy and these women never acknowledged, not even to themselves, that they held a fearful, economic power over their servants that was always going to create a wall. They wore rose colored glasses about the way things were and nothing, not ever, is going to make them take them off.

  • Randee
    2019-04-21 21:26

    I was eager to read "Telling Memories..." as it is the "real" book upon which The Help was based. Hoping to find the story in which the domestic worker said, "I adored the little girl in the home in which I worked," I was sadly disillusioned as reality wore on through the non-fiction book. While there were mutually appreciative relationships and kindnesses, it was unnerving to hear the ways in which the white employers often spoke "lovingly" in the same way one would speak of a beloved pet. I am still a bit haunted.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-18 03:26

    Got this on the $1.00 table at The Strand in NYC. It tickled me to find a book on this subject so far from home. I read it on the long drive home, and I loved it. It reminded me of the stories my Mama had about 'Bessie', when she was growing up, reminded me of some of my old clients, that were born just a couple of generations out of the slave South, and it reminded me of my own personal motto "Everyone has a story, and an extraordinary one."

  • Kent Hayden
    2019-05-14 21:25

    If you read the Help or saw the movie, this book was mentioned by that author as being a source of inspiration and fact for her fiction. A equally divided number of interview with both black maids and servants and their white bosses are presented and the introductions to both the sections and the interviewed make this a fascinating book that one would have thought long gone in our time.

  • Jenny
    2019-05-01 22:38

    Keeping in mind that the interviews were conducted in the 1980s, and the challenges of race between subject and interviewer, overall I thought the interviews were interesting and thought-provoking. I am disappointed that the portions of the interviews in the book were so short. Which is why I'm thankful all the interviews, in their totality have been archived at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University.

  • Liz
    2019-04-21 23:24

    This is one of the books that Kathryn Stockett used as a resource in writing "The Help"The writing was dry and academic at times, but the stories were powerful.

  • Ali
    2019-05-14 23:24

    This is the book that Kathryn Stockett used for research for The Help.  And a model for the book that Skeeter and the maids wrote in that book.  Except.   The actual book interviewed both black maids and white employers.  And it was written in the 80's, when the way of life it describes was mostly dead and gone.  Some of the white women, with the benefit of hindsight, reflected on their days of employing (exploiting?) maids with unease.  But many viewed those days with nostalgia, as a time when everyone lived in harmony.  The black women - not so much.  Granted, there was often affection on both sides.  But it was a sorely unequal relationship, with the black woman scraping by on a pittance, eked out by the gift of their employer's discards and leavings.

  • Jen
    2019-05-18 02:42

    After watching The Help, and reading the book, I wanted to know the stories of the other maids. This book was used for reference by the Author of The Help. I liked reading the interviews of the domestics and people who hired domestics much more than the Author's analysis of the interviews, which is about half the book. Though written in the 80's, I was shocked at some of the things said by older white southern woman that are just not acceptable today. But also, I was shocked that things had changed so much in just about the 20 years from when The Help takes place and this book was written. It was very interesting to hear the accounts of the employers and employees, and the way they interacted. Though nothing was as shocking as what the maids in The Help revealed in the book and movie.

  • Laura
    2019-05-10 01:44

    Forty Two interviews that have been edited into narratives create an oral history of relations between female black domestics and their white female employers that is illuminating, educational, and highly readable. The book is divided into five sections. Each contains an epilogue, the domestics narratives, and ends with the employers narratives. The ages of the interviewees varies greatly but they all have the common denominator of the segregated south as a backdrop to their stories. Definitely a must read if you enjoyed Stockett's The Help.

  • Melissa Moritz
    2019-05-03 00:44

    Makes ya think for sure and kinda gives you a sense of what all women went through during that era. I feel for both not only because of equality and segregation but for the children that grew up during this time not understanding and "getting" that segregation was wrong but being told "that's just what we do". The relationships and bonds that some of these women shared were touching. And then there were some that were...not so much and I couldn't understand as a human being you could not be compassionate for another human being no matter what the color of their skin is.

  • Jeanne
    2019-05-03 00:34

    This book was recommended in a discussion about Kathryn Stockett's book, The Help, which I read some time ago. Stockett seems a little too young to have experienced life as written about in the book, and this was recommended as a better interpretation. It is a collection of interviews of women who employed domestic workers in the South and the domestics themselves. The study was done in 1984, so was a little closer to the time. An interesting read.

  • Julie
    2019-05-14 03:30

    Interesting stories and accounts of black slaves and domestic workers - the inspiration behind Kathryn Stockett's The Help, which is a 5-star book! I was happy to see that there were some good relationships between domestic workers and their employers. Some workers were taken care of their whole lives, like part of the family. The interviews were somewhat dry, but altogether enlightening on the subject.

  • Cara
    2019-05-02 23:24

    I was really eager to get this book when I read that it was one of the sources/inspirations for The Help. I thought it would be really in-depth, fascinating stories from real women's lives. But actually, it's just a few pages per person, taken from interviews. You get a general sense of what life was like (which I already had) but no real feel for the day-to-day. I guess what I wanted was details, and there's no room for them here. After awhile, all the stories start to seem the same.

  • Barbw
    2019-04-24 01:35

    The book Telling Memories was listed in Kathryn Stockett's comments at the end of the novel The Help. Instead of being about the lives of black domestics, Telling Memories focused on the lives of female slaves during and shortly after slavery. Some of the slaves seemed to carefully answer the interviewers' questions and only a few seemed very honest about what their lives were like.

  • Monique
    2019-04-24 02:47

    Fascinting study about the lives of African Americian women as domestic workers and the relationships which developed with their white employers from the turn of the twentieth century until the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The collection of oral histories adds a poignant quality to the tales told within.

  • Caroline
    2019-05-16 01:43

    I got this out after reading The Help since the author said she got a lot of her inspiration from it. I found it very interesting to read especially since those experiences are so far removed from my own. I thought that the narratives could of been organized a bit better but all in all, engrossing.

  • Lin
    2019-05-07 02:47

    3,75/5 stars. I picked this up after reading The Help, because The Help had such an influence on me and I wanted to learn more about this topic. I'm glad I read it, as it helped me to get a clearer picture about the conventions and lifestyles in the South in those times. The book includes a lot of interesting narratives and deals with different aspects of domestic work in the South.

  • Micebyliz
    2019-05-10 19:39

    A must read for better understanding of our society. I read The Help but it doesn't measure up to this book which is the real thing. i realize one is a novel and the other is research, but i think the comparison is valid.

  • Teresa Pinegar
    2019-05-09 20:38

    This is the book that inspired the author of The Help to write her novel. These are actual interviews of white female employees and of domestic workers. I really enjoyed this book and found it very fasinating!

  • Eileen
    2019-04-20 03:25

    I found this to be a tedious read. I wanted to read it since it was listed as a source for the fictional book "The Help". It was interesting, but hard to get through. I am done with my copy if anybody wants it.

  • Jill English
    2019-05-21 02:47

    Amazing what was believed as truth in those days. We can sit back and pass judgment, or we can wonder, what truths do we believe today that are in fact a means of oppressing and maintaining a status quo?

  • Lamandra
    2019-05-19 21:36

    I didn't finish this book - and that means a lot since I lean toward compulsive and can't stand not to finish a book once I start it. It's a series of interviews, written like a monologue for each interviewee, and just didn't hold my interest.

  • Loralie
    2019-05-10 21:45


  • Julie
    2019-05-16 21:49

    Really interesting actual stories that "The Help" was based on. A good picture of the way many women saw life, how things have changed for some, how things have as much remained the same.

  • Marlene
    2019-05-20 23:25

    Interesting but a bit tedious after awhile.

  • Jamie
    2019-05-13 22:47

    Couldn't finish it...due back at library, but parts I did read were interesting...

  • Teeniemisfeldt
    2019-05-02 00:40

    This was very interesting, especially if you liked The Help--these are non-fiction accounts.

  • Kristin Daugherty
    2019-05-18 23:50

    I read this after I read "The Help" because it was a referenced book... Good Golly Miss Molly... Gave me a lot to think about.

  • Marianne Kearney-brown
    2019-05-01 01:53

    This was REALLY was actual interviews with actual southern women, black and white, and it was really informative and interesting.

  • Denise
    2019-04-26 23:50

    Very informative and entertaining (in spots).