Letters to a Black Woman
Original title: Lettres à une Noire
Her writing is unapologetic about reality and absolutely brilliant in its social and political analysis. — Richard Godin, Libération
Neither entirely reduced to her status of housemaid, nor entirely fooled by her wish to assume that of a writer, Françoise Ega remains a free, irreducible conscience. Just like her writing, full of opens spaces and play. — Juliette Cerf, Télérama
In the France of the 1960s, hundreds of young girls and women arrived from the West Indies to become domestic servants for white, bourgeois families. Everything about the relationship between these maids and their employers is reminiscent of slavery: the state agency that organises their recruitment, the exhausting and endless tasks, the deplorable living conditions, the racism and the sexual and racial division of labour.
Françoise Ega, a typist and mother from Martinique, arrived in Marseille in the mid-1950s. There, she heard stories of “girls from her country” that were so incredible and scandalous that she decided to check them out for herself. She then worked as a cleaning lady, an “experience” that she recorded in this posthumously published diary, in a style that is as moving as it is strikingly realistic.
This text is as much an intimate narrative as it is a piece of combat literature. It is a plea against racism and for black sisterhood, community support and true social equality.