The legal act of defining the ‘employee’ is about drawing lines. Those boundaries are often artificial, legally structured, and forged in an array of contests over power, ideology, and economics. They may be artificial, but they are powerful, demarcating who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
There are many unsettling images that come to mind when one thinks of war, images that contrast starkly with commemorations that come after. Vulnerable, scared people dragged from their homes, animals carried off, and children ripped from their families all elicit very different sensations than that of a dignified memorial, a political treatise, or a celebratory account.
Traci Parker’s book, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s, is an engaging study of the intersections of race, class, gender, labour, and activism in an arguably quintessential 20th-century American space: the department store.