The “Real Detroit Housewives” League: The African-American Women Who Shut The Meat Industry Down in 1935

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During 1935 African-American women were doing more than just sitting at home sewing and waiting for their husbands. No, the women of Detroit formed a group called the “Detroit Housewives’ League. They were upset because many of the businesses would take the people’s money but they were not willing to hire them. If the businesses wanted the Black people’s money then the “Detroit Housewives” were going to make sure they were willing to hire them as well. The league was founded in 1930 by Fannie Peck. By 1935, there were over 9,000 members in the organization. The league help to create over 70,000 jobs for Blacks, both men and women.

In 1935 the group took on the meat packing industry. They burned a huge packing house in protest of high prices, and they joined thousands of Chicago housewives in a march that shut down the city’s entire meat industry. Leagues initiated negotiations, boycotts and canvasses locally to convince neighborhood business to hire black employees. Leagues began to form all over the country, one in New York, Washington, D.C, Maryland and Ohio. From the local chapters a National Housewives’ League of America was born.

Over the years the group educated women on their buying power, and encouraged them to only shop at African-American owned businesses. Also, they encouraged the women to patronize the White businesses that employed African-Americans. The league celebrated many events such as National Housewives’ Day, April National Trade Month, Essay Contests and many other events. However, the 3rd Sunday in May was a special day, it was set aside to celebrate the founder of the organization Fannie Peck.

source:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhlead/umich-bhl-0080?rgn=main;view=text

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