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Women who lived in the white rural South in the late nineteenth century were not expected to voice political opinions. But they were not ignorant of the issues of the day, and in the Dallas-based Populist newspaper the Southern Mercury, they found a strong outlet for expression.
In Women in the Texas Populist Movement, Marion K. Barthelme presents more than a hundred letters from Texas farm women, who were becoming ever more alert to the political and economic forces impacting their lives. The agrarian reform movement was a major element of political life in Texas, and women's letters to the Texas Farmers' Alliance newspaper became increasingly passionate and forthright in expressing their concerns. The women discover a camaraderie through their letters—a recognition of their common aspirations and frustrations with a system that dismisses their experiences. Through the medium of writing, they express vibrant personalities and a pungent sense of humor.
Barthelme makes this lively correspondence accessible for the first time and brings these admirable women into a historical framework to give a more complete picture of Southern history.