$5 Weekly Is Average For Domestic Aide


$5 Weekly Is Average For Domestic Aide


Domestic Work, Race Relations, African American women, Low wages, Unemployment Relief


Contrasting Miss Evelyn Shuler's account of the "unwillingness" of Black relief receivers to accept available domestic jobs, Edgar W. Roster presented the harsh reality of low wages through advertisements. Instead of toiling long hours each week for a pitiful wage, some workers chose to stay home and accept relief.


Edgar W. Roster


Philadelphia Tribune


WCU, HIS 601/HON 452 Great Migration and Digital Storytelling, Fall 2014


May 9, 1935


Kristen Waltz, Erica Knorr


Used by permission of the Philadelphia Tribune Company, Inc. All rights reserved. The Philadelphia Tribune, with 130 years of continuous publication, is the oldest newspaper in the United States serving the African-American community.






Colored Women Being Gradually "Squeezed Out" of Field
Many Prefer Relief to Week's Work On Such A Basis
     Miss Evelyn Shuler, who wrote an article in the Evening Ledger last Tuesday night, recounting in a slightly amazed manner, the number of domestic jobs available and the unwillingness of relief receivers to take these jobs, might have found an answer in the want ad section of her own and contemporary papers.
     Miss Shuler quoted several women who conduct employment agencies and others who were social workers. These women spoke disgustedly of the way young women turned down maid, housekeeper, nursemade jobs to exist on the sum given each week by the various welfare agencies as seven dollars a week, eight dollars a week, salaries going up to twelve dollars a week, which they didn't "consider at all low."
     The business women were right. Such salaries are not low. But if they had looked through the "Female Help Wanted" section of the daily papers they would have found just how low salaries for work can be. The answer to the question of why domestics turn down jobs is easy.
     Here is a typica ad, and not the worst by a long shot. "Howsework, white, sleep in. $15.00 month, one child." Another reads "Mother's helper, no laundry, young girl, $3.00"
     Imagine salaries like that for six and seven days hard work each week for an able-bodied woman. No wonder the domestics would rather stay and live on what the relief brings them. Perhaps they should have a more social view about the matter, but why shoulnd't those who offer such low salaries have the more social view and pay larger wages?

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Edgar W. Roster, “$5 Weekly Is Average For Domestic Aide,” Goin' North, accessed May 20, 2024, https://goinnorth.org/items/show/205.