Report ready for work at the laundry.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 August 1920.

Asa and A. Edward Bishop were proprietors of Carolina Laundry. In 1920, they placed a want ad for ten or more African-American women to work in their plant at 235-237 South Tarboro Street. Laundering clothes was work primarily reserved for Black women in the South, though most worked from home rather than in a laundry. White families would drop their soiled clothes and linens at the laundress’ house, then return to pick up clean bundles. Though grueling work, many women preferred “taking in washing and ironing” to working as domestics in the homes and under the watchful (or wandering) eye of an employer.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C. (1922).

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

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