Public Workers in Service of America

A Reader
Author: Edited by Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin
Groundbreaking research on a vital yet underappreciated workforce
Cloth – $110
Paper – $30
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 08/15/2023
Cloth: 08/15/2023
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About the Book

From white-collar executives to mail carriers, public workers meet the needs of the entire nation. Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin edit a collection of new research on this understudied workforce. Part One begins in the late nineteenth- and the early twentieth century to explore how questions of race, class, and gender shaped public workers, their workplaces, and their place in American democracy. In Part Two, essayists examine race and gender discrimination while revealing the subtle contemporary forms of marginalization that keep Black men and Black and white women underpaid and overlooked for promotion. The historic labor actions detailed in Part Three illuminate how city employees organized not only for better pay and working conditions but to seek recognition from city officials, the public, and the national labor movement. Part Four focuses on nurses and teachers to address the thorny question of whether certain groups deserve premium pay for their irreplaceable work and sacrifices or if serving the greater good is a reward unto itself.

Contributors: Eileen Boris, Cathleen D. Cahill, Frederick W. Gooding Jr., William P. Jones, Francis Ryan, Jon Shelton, Joseph E. Slater, Katherine Turk, Eric S. Yellin, and Amy Zanoni.

About the Author

Frederick W. Gooding Jr. holds the Dr. Ronald E. Moore Professorship in Humanities in the John V. Roach Honors College and is an associate professor of African American studies at Texas Christian University. He is the author of American Dream Deferred: Black Federal Workers in Washington, D.C., 1941–1981. Eric S. Yellin is an associate professor of history and American studies at the University of Richmond. He is the author of Racism in the Nation's Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson’s America.



Public Workers in Service of America is a fascinating and consequential history of public sector work that demonstrates how public employees from diverse backgrounds have fought to define their rights over time and in a wide variety of occupations. It contributes to an essential conversation about the need for a robust and inclusive public workforce in a nation that often uncritically embraces the private sector.”--Margaret C. Rung, author of Servants of the State: Managing Diversity and Democracy in the Federal Workforce, 1933–1953