Zipporah Elizabeth Moman, born 10 August 1883, was a teacher who championed the rights of domestic workers. Moman graduated from Tougaloo College and became an elementary teacher in Ridgeland, worked as a home demonstration agent in Madison County, and as an adult education teacher at Lanier High School in Jackson.
In 1933 Moman helped form and became president of the National Association of Domestic Workers. The group presented a petition to the federal government calling for them to create equitable standards for domestic workers, especially in the South. The “Code of Fair Competition for Personal and Domestic Workers” requested fair compensation and adequate facilities, including a work week not exceeding 56 hours with at least two half days off, one week paid vacation, and a minimum wage of $14.40 a week. Moman also spoke out publicly about the need for domestic workers to maintain their independence and autonomy from employers by not “living in.”
In 1950 Moman was appointed by Gov. Fielding Wright to the Mississippi Committee on Children and Youth. That same year, Pres. Harry S. Truman invited her to Washington, D.C., to attend the Mid-Century White House Conference on Women, Children, and Youth.
Moman went on to become matron at the Oakley Training School, an all-black juvenile reformatory opened in 1948 that remained segregated until 1969. She was the first municipal recreation supervisor of Jackson. Moman also served as the first director at College Park Recreation Center. She died in Jackson in 1965.
Kathryn McGaw York
University of Mississippi
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Collected Papers of Zipporah Elizabeth Moman website, www.mdah.state.ms.us; Rebecca Sharpless: Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1860–1960 (2010).