Mississippi Women, Volume 1: Their Histories, Their Lives

Overview

This collection of seventeen fascinating biographies, produced by the Mississippi Women's History Project, is an important step toward gaining the state's women their deserved place in its written record. The women whose absorbing life stories are told here range from Felicite Girodeau of old Natchez, who was both a person of color and a slaveholder, to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Some of the women are well known, others were prominent in their time but have ...
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Overview

This collection of seventeen fascinating biographies, produced by the Mississippi Women's History Project, is an important step toward gaining the state's women their deserved place in its written record. The women whose absorbing life stories are told here range from Felicite Girodeau of old Natchez, who was both a person of color and a slaveholder, to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Some of the women are well known, others were prominent in their time but have since faded into obscurity, and a few have never received the attention they deserve. As multifaceted as the state they helped to build, the women portrayed in this engaging volume will interest and inspire Mississippians of all ages. Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every woman who today exercises the legal rights of her male counterparts should read this book outlining the labor and sacrifice of the pioneer women who worked tirelessly to achieve gender equality, not only in legal and political activities, but in all facets of private and public life. This is an important treatise documenting their efforts and achievements in the advancement of rights for all citizens, and it is fascinating reading as well."—Lenore L. Prather, former Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court

"This extraordinary collection pays tribute to the strength and resourcefulness of a number of Mississippi women—some famous, some relatively unknown, some sophisticated and wealthy, some poor and uneducated—whose lives bear witness to their 'courage to think,' as Pauline Orr put it, and also to act, sometimes in the most perilous of circumstances and always in a world where women, whether white or black, have been bound by rigid societal taboos. Mississippi Women is a book that has cried out to be written and cries out to be read."—Ellen Douglas, author of Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell

"This volume represents a long-overdue highlighting of some of the significant and diverse contributions that seventeen remarkable women made to the history of Mississippi. One cannot read these pages without developing a greatly enhanced sense of appreciation of the role these gifted and dedicated individuals played in shaping for the better the lives of the people of our state."—William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi

"Significant contributions to history and society arent always made by the well known. That point is made immensely clear in this new book. . . . The authors are careful to cover all aspects of their subjects lives, which brings even more personality and humanity to their depiction of these remarkable women. Readers learn about the womens professional lives, as well as their families, volunteerism, hobbies, and passions. Such a presentation will help modern female readers identify with these historical paragons.”—Foreword Magazine

"How in the world could a book about these women be anything but intriguing? It couldn't, and it isn't. . . . Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history, while the 'civilian' readers will find Mississippi Women just plain good."—Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

"For readers from Mississippi, the book offers a source of pride and inspiration; for others, it sheds light on a group of women whose noteworthy achievements went unnoticed for far too long."—Mississippi Magazine

"As multifaceted as the state they helped to build, the women portrayed in this engaging volume will interest and inspire Mississippians of all ages."—Starkville Daily News

"Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history, while the 'civilian' readers will find Mississippi Women just plain good."—Daily Journal

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Martha H. Swain is Cornaro Professor of History Emerita at Texas Woman's University. Elizabeth Anne Payne is Professor of History at the University of Mississippi. Marjorie Julian Spruill is Associate Provost for Strategic Planning and Research Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Felicite Girodeau (1791-1860): Racial and Religious Identity in Antebellum Natchez 4
Winnie Davis (1864-1898): The Challenges of Daughterhood 21
Nellie Nugent Somerville (1863-1952): Mississippi Reformer, Suffragist, and Politician 39
Belle Kearney (1863-1939): Mississippi Gentlewoman and Slaveholder's Daughter 59
Pauline Van de Graaf Orr (1861-1955): Feminist Education in Mississippi 72
Kate Freeman Clark (1875-1957): An Artist and a Lady 98
Blanche Colton Williams (1879-1944): Mentor of Southern Women's Literature 113
Elizabeth Lee Hazen (1885-1975): A Mississippi Microbiologist's Quest for a Cure 131
Burnita Shelton Matthews (1894-1988): The Struggle for Women's Rights 144
Minnie Brewer (1898-1978): The Life and Times of a Flapper Feminist 160
Eudora Welty (1909-2001): En Route to A Curtain of Green 181
Sadye Wier (1905-1995): A Life of Independence and Service 200
Hazel Brannon Smith (1914-1994): Journalist under Siege 220
Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998): Voicing Form 235
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977): A New Voice in American Democracy 249
Mae Bertha Carter (1923-1999): School Desegregation in a Delta Town 268
Vera Mae Pigee (1925-): Mothering the Movement 281
For Further Research 299
List of Contributors 307
Index 311
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