Events in southern history have often been recounted from the top down, relying on political and economic models to explain historical changes. Thus, the key players have usually been men who dominated politics, shaped economic development, and led armies. However, women who confronted change and shaped it through their actions also make history from the bottom up. In this collection of essays, the contributors reexamine major transformative events of southern history from the late eighteenth century through the civil rights era. Shifting the focus to the local level, the authors demonstrate how women participated in creating change, even as they confronted conditions over which they had little power. In addition to exploring southern women's lives, this collection shows how the women shaped southern history. Using new and extensive primary research, each of these authors presents a new perspective on the important roles that women of different races and classes have played in transforming the South at some of its most crucial turning points, including post-Revolution, Civil War, Jim Crow era, World War I, and the civil rights movement. Expanded from papers presented at the Sixth Southern Conference on Women's History in Athens, Georgia, these essays reflect the depth and breadth of current vibrant research in southern women's history and contribute exciting and important new scholarship to the field. Just as significant, the volume highlights the trends in southern women's historical scholarship and points toward new directions for future scholars.
ANGELA BOSWELL is Associate Professor of History at Henderson State University in Arkansas. She is the author of Her Act and Deed: Women's Lives in a Rural Southern County, 1837-1873 and coeditor of Searching for Their Places: Women in the South across Four Centuries (University of Missouri Press). JUDITH N. MCARTHUR is Lecturer in History at the University of Houston - Victoria. She is the author or coeditor of several books, including Creating the New Woman: The Rise of Southern Women's Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893-1918.
Editor's Introduction; Gentry Women and the Transformation of Daily Life in Jeffersonian and Antebellum Virginia by Phillip Hamilton; Jane C. Washington, Family, and Nation at Mount Vernon, 1830-1855 by Jean B. Lee; ""I Desire to Give My Black Family Their Freedom"": Manumissions, Inheritance, and Visions of Family in Antebellum Kentucky by Yvonne M. Pitts; Seeking a Moral Economy of War: Confederate Women and Southern Nationalism in Civil War North Carolina by Jacqueline G. Campbell; Redirecting the Tide of White Imperialism: The Impact of Ida B, Wells's Transatlantic Anti-Lynching Campaign on British Conceptions of American Race Relations by Sarah L. Silkey; Unlikely Allies: Southern Women, Interracial Cooperation, and the Making of Segregation in Virginia, 1910-1920 by Clayton McClure Brooks; Solving the Girl Problem: Race, Womanhood, and Leisure in Atlanta during World War I by Sarah Mercer Judson; To See Past the Differences to the Fundamentals: Racial Coalition within the League of Women Voters of St. Louis, 1920-1946 by Priscilla A. Dowden-White; Louise Thompson Patterson and the Southern Roots of the Popular Front by Claire Nee Nelson; Women's and Girl's Activism in 1960s Southwest Georgia: Rethinking History and Historiography by Alisa Y. Harrison.