The Kid Should See This

Dorothy Bolden, a leader for fair wages and better working conditions

Watch more with these video collections:

Dorothy Bolden was a Civil Rights activist who advocated for fair wages and better working conditions for domestic workers, many of whom were excluded from labor protections due to their race and gender. She knew these challenges well. Via

“Dorothy Bolden began doing domestic work alongside her mother, at age 9, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first job was washing diapers after school for $1.25 per week in the 1930s.”

Created by The New York Historical Society Teen Leaders, in collaboration with the Untold project, this is the story of how Dorothy Bolden unionized domestic workers “and created noticeable change in the workplace for thousands of Black women.”

connecting domestic workers to political power

“In her 42-year career as a domestic worker, Bolden challenged racial discrimination as she sought to secure economic self-sufficiency. She was an active member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was also a neighbor of Martin Luther King Jr., a critical figure in Atlanta’s civil rights movement. As a mother of six, Bolden’s primary focus was to uplift her community.”

In 1968, she founded the National Domestic Workers Union of America (NDWUA), and though it was neither national nor an official union, the organization quickly became a force for change. Bolden, who talked with domestic workers during their bus commutes to work and back, built an Atlanta-based community that, by 1970, was 10,000 strong.

talking with domestic workers at a bus stop
And they were all registered to vote, which made the organization a political force for workers’ rights. From the New-York Historical Society:

“As Dorothy predicted, the better domestic workers felt and were compensated, the more likely it was that they cared about other issues… Elected officials in Georgia knew they needed Dorothy’s approval to gain votes of Black women. Dorothy’s reputation in politics and labor reform even reached the national level. During her career, she counseled presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.”

Related stories: NYHS’ Women and the American Story Video Library and

Watch these related videos next:
β€’ The Fight for Fair Housing in Milwaukee: Vel Phillips and James Groppi.
β€’Β Rosa Parks, her story as a lifelong civil rights activist
β€’ Marian Anderson’s β€˜defiant performance’ at the Lincoln Memorial
β€’Β Wangari Maathai – β€œI will be a hummingbird”

Plus: How to understand power.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

What is Juneteenth?

Rion Nakaya

Weaving on Mount Vernon’s 18th Century Loom

Rion Nakaya

Vote with Benji

Rion Nakaya

The Tuskegee Airmen, an Untold History introduction

Rion Nakaya

The Raised Fist Afro Comb: Untold’s Museum of Artifacts That Made America

Rion Nakaya

The historic 1913 women’s suffrage march on Washington D.C.

Rion Nakaya

The exceptional life of Benjamin Banneker

Rion Nakaya

The breathtaking courage of Harriet Tubman

Rion Nakaya

Sweet potato vs. yam: What’s the difference?

Rion Nakaya

Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.