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Women & the Struggle for Labor Justice

Important movements on UNC's campus to fight for fair labor practices and visibility have been led by women employed in some of the lowest-paid positions in the University. These women, many of whom were African American, drew attention to the value of their labor in housekeeping and food preparation through strikes and protests demanding proper compensation and better working conditions. Although the University was slow to respond to their demands, the administration eventually conceded in both the 1969 Foodworkers’ Strike and the lawsuit filed in the 1990s by the housekeepers. Despite these victories, these key workers remain undervalued today.

Student curators: 
Aja Saylor
Jona Bocari
Abi Worrell
Kate Karstens

Southern Oral History Program interviews related to this theme: 

Rebecca Clark interviewed by Bob Gilgor
June 21, 2000

Elizabeth Brooks interviewed by Beverly Washington Jones
October 2, 1974

Mary Smith Interviewed by Beverly Washington Jones
October 9, 1974