This essay explores how and with what effect Amy Bailey, a teacher, women’s rights activist, and public intellectual, cofounded the Housecraft Training Centre to educate working-class Jamaican women in cooking, cleaning, childcare, and other “domestic sciences.” Newspaper articles, unpublished interviews, and other texts reveal that Bailey used the center to articulate a vision of working-class black ladyhood that advanced black women’s sense of racial dignity by valorizing elitist, patriarchal narratives at work in 1950s Jamaica. In doing so, Bailey ultimately fostered, as well as stymied, the possibility that Jamaica would come to realize what its national ethos professed—that it was an increasingly plural, prosperous, and egalitarian state well positioned for political independence from Britain.

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