Read Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life by Alice Childress Free Online
Book Title: Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life|
Date of issue: October 31st 1986
ISBN 13: 9780807009031
The author of the book: Alice Childress
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 372 KB
Edition: Beacon Press
Read full description of the books Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life:Like One of the Family, which provides historical context for Kathryn Stockett's novel, The Help, is comprised of a series of conversations between Mildred, a black domestic, and her friend Marge. They create a vibrant picture of the life of a black working woman in New York in the 1950s. Rippling with satire and humor, Mildred’s outspoken accounts capture vividly her white employers’ complacency and condescension—and startled reactions to a maid who speaks her mind. As Mildred declares to a patronizing employer that she is not just like one of the family, or explains to Marge how a tricky employer has created a system of “half days off” to cheat her help, we gain a glimpse not only of one woman’s day-to-day struggle, but of her previous ache of racial oppression. A domestic who refuses to exchange dignity for pay, Mildred is an inspiring conversationalist, a dragon slayer in a segregated world.
The conversations in the book were first published in Freedom, the newspaper edited by Paul Robeson, and later in the Baltimore Afro-American. The book was originally published in the 1950s by in Brooklyn–based Independence Press, and Beacon Press brought out a new edition of it in 1986 with an introduction by the literary and cultural critic Trudier Harris.
Read information about the authorAlice Childress (October 12, 1916 – August 14, 1994) was an American playwright, actor, and author.
She took odd jobs to pay for herself, including domestic worker, photo retoucher, assistant machinist, saleslady, and insurance agent. In 1939, she studied Drama in the American Negro Theatre (ANT), and performed there for 11 years. She acted in Abram Hill and John Silvera's On Strivers Row (1940), Theodore Brown's Natural Man (1941), and Philip Yordan's Anna Lucasta (1944). There she won acclaim as an actress in numerous other productions, and moved to Broadway with the transfer of ANT's hit comedy Anna Lucasta, which became the longest-running all-black play in Broadway history. Alice also became involved in social causes. She formed an off-broadway union for actors. Her first play, Florence, was produced off-Broadway in 1950.
Her next play, Just a Little Simple (1950), was adapted from the Langston Hughes' novel Simple Speaks His Mind. It was produced in Harlem at the Club Baron Theatre. Her next play, Gold Through the Trees (1952), gave her the distinction of being one of the first African-American women to have work professionally produced on the New York stage. Her next work, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, was completed in 1962. The setting of the show is South Carolina during World War I and deals with a forbidden interracial love affair. Due to the scandalous nature of the show and the stark realism it presented, it was impossible for Childress to get any theatre in New York to put it up. The show premiered at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and later in Chicago. It was not until 1972 that it played in New York at the New York Shakespeare Festival. It was later filmed and shown on TV, but many stations refused to play it.
In 1965, she was featured in the BBC presentation The Negro in the American Theatre. From 1966 to 1968, she was awarded as a scholar-in-residence by Harvard University at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Alice Childress is also known for her literary works. Among these are Those Other People (1989) and A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich (1973). Also, she wrote a screenplay for the 1978 film based on A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich. Her 1979 novel A Short Walk was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Childress described her writing as trying to portray the have-nots in a have society. In conjunction with her composer husband, Nathan Woodard, she wrote a number of musical plays, including Sea Island Song and Young Martin Luther King.
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