Need some help making sense of The Help? Then stop by Amy Reads and join her exploration of the REAL conditions of black maids working in white households. Amy and Amanda are using the recommended reading list prepared by the Association of Black Women Historians to address these concerns:
1. I’m all for authors having the option to write whatever they want. But for that to work, we need a level playing field where all people can tell their stories. If one group is profiting of the stories of another group, as seems to always happen, that is where the issue comes in. If you’ve read this book, have you also looked up similar works by African American authors?
2. Way too many people are willing to see The Help as historical fiction and accept the view Stockett gives of a white woman helping the poor black maids who love their jobs. And if readers aren’t willing to engage and seek out the truth, that is where the second issue comes in. In this book we have, essentially, a white-washed truth. So again, if you’ve read this book, have you also looked into some of the real truth of the civil rights movement?
I’ve read some of the novels on the reading list so will try to join in—how about you? Here are the books Amy and Amanda will be discussing:
Like one of the Family: Conversations from A Domestic’s Life, Alice Childress
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neeley
The Street by Ann Petry
A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight
Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household by Thavolia Glymph
To Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors by Tera Hunter
Labor of Love Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present by Jacqueline Jones
Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics and the Great Migration by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis
Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody