Black Women In Scraping By By Seth Rockman

1207 Words 5 Pages
Throughout history, women have been oppressed in comparison to men. Women were seen as emotional beings, whose job was to take care of the home and children. As time moved on men gained more rights and power, such as getting formal educations and getting the right to vote, while women were in a stalemate. Seth Rockman, author of the book Scraping By, provides evidence that helps support the idea that women were unable to get ahead in Balitimore. In the early nineteenth century, working women were faced with boundaries that restricted them from prospering and getting ahead. It is human nature to want to be able to live a successful life: having a job is a main component that leads to a successful life. During the early nineteenth century, it …show more content…
Rockman states that, “Many Baltimore white householders shared the hostile sentiments of Robert Goodloe Harper. . . that free blacks in general constituted an ‘idle, worthless, and thievish race’” (Rockman 121). This common view hurt black women’s opportunity to find jobs. They needed to work hard to prove that they were just as hard working as any white women. One man who took note of the difference of skill, in areas such as knitting, sewing, ironing, in black women versus white women, leads to show that black women may have been less skilled. As the man took note, ranking the women by skill, it was seen that the Black women were ranked the lowest. This can propose the question, were white women more skilled than black women? Rockman helps explain this question by stating that “the birthplaces of African American women help explain the apparent gap in domestic skills” (Rockman 123). Depending on where they lived, women were most likely trained with different skills. Some women may have been put into slavery at a younger age than others and therefore started learning earlier. If in fact Black women did have fewer skills it would hurt them when trying to find a job. Employers would not hire them and move onto another woman. Other than free Black women there were also runaway slaves who took jobs. These jobs were then taken from free Black …show more content…
. .those possibilities were limited and low paying” (Rockman 126). These possibilities were jobs such as working at paper mills or selling goods. Paper mills only hired about eighteen women, making the competition heightened. Women had the opportunity to sell actual products, but could also sell themselves. Prostitution lead to a fair amount of money and “could bring a woman more income in the space of an evening than she might earn in several weeks finishing shirts for a tailor” (Rockman 129). Although, prostitution was a dangerous job for women, it was an easy way to make money. There would always be men looking to buy women, so the job would always have an available

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