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Entering the Fray by Jonathan Daniel Wells (Editor); Sheila R. Phipps (Editor)The study of the New South has in recent decades been greatly enriched by research into gender, reshaping our understanding of the struggle for woman suffrage, the conflicted nature of race and class in the South, the complex story of politics, and the role of family and motherhood in black and white society. This book brings together nine essays that examine the importance of gender, race, and culture in the New South, offering a rich and varied analysis of the multifaceted role of gender in the lives of black and white southerners in the troubled decades of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ranging widely from conservative activism by white women in 1920s Georgia to political involvement by black women in 1950s Memphis, many of these essays focus on southern women's increasing public activities and high-profile images in the twentieth century. They tell how women shouldered responsibilities for local, national, and international interests; but just as nineteenth-century women's status could be at risk from too much public presence, women of the New South stepped gingerly into the public arena, taking care to work within what they considered their current gender limitations. The authors--both established and up-and-coming scholars--take on subjects that reflect wide-ranging, sophisticated, and diverse scholarship on black and white women in the New South. They include the efforts of female Home Demonstration Agents to defeat debilitating diseases in rural Florida and the increasing participation of women in historic preservation at Monticello. They also reflect unique personal stories as diverse as lobbyist Kathryn Dunaway's efforts to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia and Susan Smith's depiction by the national media as a racist southerner during coverage of her children's deaths. Taken together, these nine essays contribute to the picture of women increasing their movement into political and economic life while all too often still maintaining their gendered place as determined by society. Their rich insights provide new ways to consider the meaning and role of gender in the post-Civil War South.
Publication Date: 2009-12-01
Gertrude Weil by Leonard RogoffIt is so obvious that to treat people equally is the right thing to do," wrote Gertrude Weil (1879-1971). In the first-ever biography of Weil, Leonard Rogoff tells the story of a modest southern Jewish woman who, while famously private, fought publicly and passionately for the progressive causes of her age. Born to a prominent family in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Weil never married and there remained ensconced--in many ways a proper southern lady--for nearly a century. From her hometown, she fought for women's suffrage, founded her state's League of Women Voters, pushed for labor reform and social welfare, and advocated for world peace. Weil made national headlines during an election in 1922 when, casting her vote, she spotted and ripped up a stack of illegally marked ballots. She campaigned against lynching, convened a biracial council in her home, and in her eighties desegregated a swimming pool by diving in headfirst. Rogoff also highlights Weil's place in the broader Jewish American experience. Whether attempting to promote the causes of southern Jewry, save her European family members from the Holocaust, or support the creation of a Jewish state, Weil fought for systemic change, all the while insisting that she had not done much beyond the ordinary duty of any citizen.
Publication Date: 2017-04-03
Lives Full of Struggle and Triumph by Bruce Clayton; John A. Salmond''A splendid sampler of the very latest and best of scholarship in the field of southern women's history.''--Thomas Appleton, Eastern Kentucky University Spanning the sweep of southern women's history from colonial times to the late 20th century, this collection represents the best scholarship on the lives and experiences of black and white southern women.
The New Woman in Alabama by Mary Martha ThomasBetween 1890 and 1920, middle-class white and black Alabama women created many clubs and organizations that took them out of the home and provided them with roles in the public sphere. Beginning with the Alabama Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the 1880s and followed by the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs and the Alabama Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in the 1890s, women spearheaded the drive to eliminate child labor, worked to improve the educational system, upgraded the jails and prisons, and created reform schools for both boys and girls. Suffrage was also an item on the Progressive agenda. After a brief surge of activity during the 1890s, the suffrage drive lay dormant until 1912, when women created the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association. During their campaigns in the 1915 and 1919 to persuade the legislature to enfranchise women, the leaders learned the art of politics--how to educate, organize, lobby, and count votes. Women seeking validation for their roles as homemakers and mother demanded a hearing in the political arena for issues that affected them and their families. In the process they began to erase the line between the public world of men and the private world of women. These were the New Women who tackled the problems created by the industrialization and urbanization of the New South. By 1920 Alabama women had created new public spaces for themselves in these voluntary associations. As a consequence of their involvement in reform crusades, the women's club movement, and the campaign for woman suffrage, women were no longer passive and dependent. They were willing and able to be rightful participants.Thomas's book is the first of its kind to focus on the reform activities of women during the Progressive Era, and the first to consider the southern woman and all the organizations of middle-class black and white women in the South and particularly in Alabama. It is also the first to explore the drive of Alabama women to obtain the vote. The development of political power among southern women progressed slowly. Demolishing as it did the myth of the "Southern Lady." Traditionally confined to the domestic sphere, southern women had no experience in public decision making and were discouraged from attaining the skills necessary for participation in public debate. The division of women by race and class further impeded their political education. But through their participation in so-called women's issues--child labor laws, temperance, and educational reform--women gained experience in influencing political leaders. Black and white women's clubs provided the framework for state-wide lobbying.Only in the wake of their success with domestic issues tackled through club organizations and temperance unions did women dare seek the right to vote. They learned how to wield political power through acceptable "ladylike" avenues, and it was this experience that led to their long but eventually successful drive for woman suffrage. The New Woman eventually found a way to replace the Southern Lady.
Southern Strategies by Elna C. GreenThe biographies of more than 800 women form the basis for Elna Green's study of the suffrage and the antisuffrage movements in the South. Green's comprehensive analysis highlights the effects that factors such as class background, marital status, educational level, and attitudes about race and gender roles had in inspiring the region's women to work in favor of, or in opposition to, their own enfranchisement. Green sketches the ranks of both movements--which included women and men, black and white--and identifies the ways in which issues of class, race, and gender determined the composition of each side. Coming from a wide array of beliefs and backgrounds, Green argues, southern women approached enfranchisement with an equally varied set of strategies and ideologies. Each camp defined and redefined itself in opposition to the other. But neither was entirely homogeneous: issues such as states' rights and the enfranchisement of black women were so divisive as to give rise to competing organizations within each group. By focusing on the grassroots constituency of each side, Green provides insight into the whole of the suffrage debate.
Publication Date: 2000-11-09
Books in the Library
"Faithful to Our Tasks" by Elizabeth Griffin HillThe United States was a vital, if brief, participant in World War I--spending only eighteen months fighting in "the Great War." But that short span marked an era of tremendous change for women as they moved out of the Victorian nineteenth century and came into their own as social activists during the early years of the twentieth century. Faithful to Our Tasks provides the context for women's actions and reactions during the war. It incorporates the mitigating factors and experiences of American women in general and compares Arkansas women's Progressive Era actions with those of other southern women. The contextual underpinnings provide a rich tapestry as we attempt to understand our grandmothers and great-grandmothers' responses to wartime needs. Primary records of the World War I era, accessed in archives in central Arkansas, reveal that the state's organized women were suddenly faced with a devastating world war for which they were expected to make a significant contribution of time and effort. "Club women" were already tackling myriad problems to be found in abundance within a poor, rural state as they worked for better schools, a centralized education system, children's well-being, and improved medical care. Under wartime conditions, their contributions were magnified as the women followed a barrage of directions from Washington, DC, within a disconcerting display of micromanagement by the federal government. The important takeaway, however, is that the Great War created a scenario in which Arkansas's organized women--as well as women throughout the nation--would step forward and excel as men and governments stood up and took notice. After the war, these same organized women won the right to vote.
Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote by Bernadette CahillWomen from all over Arkansas--left out of the civil rights granted by the post-Civil War Reconstruction Amendments--took part in a long struggle to gain the primary civil right of American citizens: voting. The state's capital city of Little Rock served as the focal point not only for suffrage work in Arkansas, but also for the state's contribution to the nationwide nonviolent campaign for women's suffrage that reached its climax between 1913 and 1920. Based on original research, Cahill's book relates the history of some of those who contributed to this victorious struggle, reveals long-forgotten photographs, includes a map of the locations of meetings and rallies, and provides a list of Arkansas suffragists who helped ensure that discrimination could no longer exclude women from participation in the political life of the state and nation.
Daughters of Canaan by Margaret Ripley WolfeFrom Gone with the Wind to Designing Women, images of southern females that emerge from fiction and film tend to obscure the diversity of American women from below the Mason-Dixon line. In a work that deftly lays bare a myriad of myths and stereotypes while presenting true stories of ambition, grit, and endurance, Margaret Ripley Wolfe offers the first professional historical synthesis of southern women's experiences across the centuries. In telling their story, she considers many ordinary lives -- those of Native-American, African-American, and white women from the Tidewater region and Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta to the Gulf Coastal Plain, women whose varied economic and social circumstances resist simple explanations. Wolfe examines critical eras, outstanding personalities and groups -- wives, mothers, pioneers, soldiers, suffragists, politicians, and civil rights activists -- and the impact of the passage of time and the pressure of historical forces on the region's females. The historical southern woman, argues Wolfe, has operated under a number of handicaps, bearing the full weight of southern history, mythology, and legend. Added to these have been the limitations of being female in a patriarchal society and the constraining images of the "southern belle" and her mentor, the "southern lady." In addition, the specter of race has haunted all southern women. Gender is a common denominator, but according to Wolfe, it does not transcend race, class, point of view, or a host of other factors. Intrigued by the imagery as well as the irony of biblical stories and southern history, Wolfe titles her work Daughters of Canaan. Canaan symbolizes promise, and for activist women in particular the South has been about promise as much as fulfillment. General readers and students of southern and women's history will be drawn to Wolfe's engrossing chronicle.
Publication Date: 1995-03-02
Hidden Histories of Women in the New South by Virginia Bernhard (Editor); Betty Brandon (Editor); Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (Editor); Theda Perdue (Editor); Elizabeth H. Turner (Editor)As women's history has embraced the contributions of multi-culturalism, crucial intersections between gender and race, ideology and identity, and work and life have converged to enrich the mainstream of American history. The parameters that once defined women's history have broadened from the experiences of just a few white middle-class women to include those of women from all walks of life. Representing some of the best and most recent scholarly work in the field, the subjects of these essays reflect the diversity of southern women's lives. Women in prisons, in mental institutions, in labor unions; women activists for temperance, suffrage, birth control, and civil rights; women at home and in public life: all add their individual histories to help reshape the terrain of the American past. Southern women's history contines to make pathbreaking strides, and students of women's history, southern history, ethnic studies, sociology, and psychology will find this volume's contributions invaluable.
Elizabeth Robins -- Suffrage drama -- Cicely Hamilton -- Elizabeth Baker -- Githa Sowerby.
The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss"Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader"--Hillary Rodham Clinton Soon to Be a Major Television Event The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. "With a skill reminiscent of Robert Caro, [Weiss] turns the potentially dry stuff of legislative give-and-take into a drama of courage and cowardice."--The Wall Street Journal "Weiss is a clear and genial guide with an ear for telling language ... She also shows a superb sense of detail, and it's the deliciousness of her details that suggests certain individuals warrant entire novels of their own... Weiss's thoroughness is one of the book's great strengths. So vividly had she depicted events that by the climactic vote (spoiler alert: The amendment was ratified!), I got goose bumps."--Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times Book Review Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the "Antis"--women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel's, and the Bible. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman's Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.
Publication Date: 2018-03-06
Special Collections: books, maps, and posters which are unique, fragile, or related to the history of Arkansas Tech, Pope County, the River Valley, and Arkansas. Contact the Reference Desk to arrange an appointment to view items. (2nd floor)