Everybody's Grandmother and Nobody's Fool: Frances Freeborn Pauley and the Struggle for Social Justice

Everybody's Grandmother and Nobody's Fool: Frances Freeborn Pauley and the Struggle for Social Justice

by Kathryn L. Nasstrom
     
 

Frances Freeborn Pauley, a white woman who grew up in the segregated South, has devoted most of her ninety-four years to the battle against discrimination and prejudice. A champion of civil rights and racial justice and an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised, Pauley's tenacity as an activist and the length of her career are remarkable. She is also a

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Overview

Frances Freeborn Pauley, a white woman who grew up in the segregated South, has devoted most of her ninety-four years to the battle against discrimination and prejudice. A champion of civil rights and racial justice and an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised, Pauley's tenacity as an activist and the length of her career are remarkable. She is also a consummate storyteller; for decades, she has shared her words with activists, students, and scholars who have found their way to her door.

Kathryn L. Nasstrom uses rich oral history material, recorded by herself and others, to present Frances Pauley in her own words. Pauley's life has encompassed much of the last century of extraordinary social change in the South, a life touching and touched by famous figures from southern politics and the civil rights movement. Highlights of Pauley's career in the public eye include a friendship with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, encounters with several of Georgia's civil-rights-era governors, and a meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt. A skillful political organizer, Pauley was involved in decades of community mobilization, repeated efforts to educate politicians and the public about the origins and nature of poverty, and lobbying for unpopular causes. "People are born into a certain way of living," she says. "It takes a jolt to get out of it. It doesn't really mean that they're all that mean and bad, but it takes a jolt to make them see that maybe they could make a change."

In a deft blend of biography and memoir, Nasstrom explains Pauley's historical significance and places her story in the context of developments in Georgia politics and the civil rights movement. Even as it contributes to the political history of Georgia and the South, affording insight of unusual depth on familiar issues and events, the book preserves one woman's story in the still largely undocumented history of southern women's social and political activism in the twentieth century. Pauley's experiences serve as a window on the lives of all those women and men who, town by town and state by state, made momentous change not only possible but also inescapable.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nasstrom describes Pauley's life and work in social activism throughout all of Georgia's 159 counties. For over sixty years this energetic woman has helped to guide the movement of civil rights in the South and by using interviews, public documents, and Pauley's own life. Nasstrom's book tells of our forward progress. —Doubletake. Summer, 2000

"Nasstrom. . . provides a fascinating and important memoir of a white woman who was active in civil rights activities throughout the South from the 1930s to the 1980s. . . . This volume. . . is a superb oral history that recaptures the personal side of social justice struggles since the 1930s. Recommended. . . . "—Choice. October, 2000

"Kathryn Nasstrom skillfully blends biography and memoir to tell the inspiring story of Frances Pauley. . . Her life story is not only a remarkable look into one woman's social activism, it is a mandate for any of us who aspire to make a difference in the world."—Faith in Action: News and Resources for Unitarian Universalists Working for Justice. Fall/Winter 2000

"A life well lived is the theme of this unorthodox but highly absorbing production. . . Kathryn Nasstrom should be proud of her publication, which is an exceptional accomplishment for any scholar. It is a pleasure to recommend the work for its accessible format and its uplifting message."—Betty Brandon, University of South Alabama. Georgia Historical Quarterly, Winter 2000

"The political activist life of Frances Freeborn Pauley '27 spans 50 years, beginning with her endeavor to establish a free health clinic in DeKalb County, GA., and culminating with her efforts on behalf of people with AIDS. . . She earned a reputation for always being prepared with the facts whenever she attended a meeting or confronted a legislator and for being a superb strategist who worked the system for the benefit of the less fortunate. In 1984, the Agnes Scott College Alumnae Association recognized Pauley with its Award for Service to the Community. This year, as Pauley turns 95, Cornell University Press released a book about her, Everybody's Grandmother and Nobody's Fool, Frances Freeborn Pauley and the Struggle for Social Justice."—Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, Vol. 77, No. 1, Fall 2000

"The body of the book comes directly from primary sources including Pauley's papers, letters, speeches, and a series of interviews she dictated over a twenty-five-year period, but it is not a verbatim account. . . Pauley's life story is a welcome addition to the literature on the civil rights movement and women's history. . . "—Elsa A. Nystrom, Kennesaw State Univerisity. Journal of Southern History, Vol. 68, No.1, February 2002

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801437823
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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