Unpaid Labor Thanks Joyce Appleby, Ph.D.


“I am very happy to sign (your) statement...Joyce”

That was the simple message from Dr. Joyce Appleby. We had asked her to sign the Unpaid Labor Manifesto and that was her response. She joined over 40 other historians in endorsing Unpaid Labor's conclusion.  Later on we would receive an unsolicited check in the mail from her in support of our effort. Her encouraging words and her generosity spoke volumes. Although we had never met her personally we would come to understand that she was a giant in her field. Although we had never met her personally we have no doubt that her signature weighed heavily with others that agreed to sign our statement concluding that:

“Americans of African descent have been vital to the American story since the beginning—and the contribution of the first 12 generations of Americans of African descent between 1607 and 1865 is the indispensable factor in the United States of America becoming the most successful nation in modern history.”

Her enthusiasm about our project leaped from the page at us. We were honored to have her support and we were sad to hear of her passing.  She was a distinguished historian and author. She wrote about how capitalism and liberty shaped early Americans. She was a scholar of Thomas Jefferson. She challenged convention. Speaking of various views of capitalism she would say “We do not need to take sides in these battles to do justice to their histories.”

She told us how important our work is. She encouraged us to press on and we will. She wanted to help us as we seek to help others that are working to make the history of Unpaid Labor Contribution known. For that we can only say thank you. Thank you Joyce. Thanks again.