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March 2017 Spotlight On: Race

Bring Back Our Jobs: Work, Machines, and Energy Infrastructure

Sometime in the late 1930s, Irene Robertson interviewed Mary Teel about her memory of slavery and her life since. Some of Robertson’s questions clearly made the formerly-enslaved Teel feel uncomfortable, like when she asked about the Klan, education, and voting. Nonetheless, Teel’s account of slavery and its aftermath repeated a theme common among her peers: years of hard work still left her “hard up.”