Including suffragists, civil rights activists, and movers and shakers in politics and in the music industries of Nashville and Memphis, as well as many other notables, this collective portrait of Tennessee women offers new perspectives and insights into their dreams, their struggles, and their times. As rich, diverse, and wide-ranging as the topography of the state, this book will interest scholars, general readers, and students of southern history, women's history, and Tennessee history.
Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times shifts the historical lens from the more traditional view of men's roles to place women and their experiences at center stage in the historical drama. The eighteen biographical essays, written by leading historians of women, illuminate the lives of familiar figures like reformer Frances Wright, blueswoman Alberta Hunter, and the Grand Ole Opry's Minnie Pearl (Sarah Colley Cannon) and less-well-known characters like the Cherokee Beloved Woman Nan-ye-hi (Nancy Ward), antebellum free black woman Milly Swan Price, and environmentalist Doris Bradshaw.
Told against the backdrop of their times, these are the life stories of women who shaped Tennessee's history from the eighteenth-century challenges of western expansion through the nineteenth- and twentieth-century struggles against racial and gender oppression to the twenty-first-century battles with community degradation. Taken as a whole, this collection of women's stories illuminates previously unrevealed historical dimensions that give readers a greater understanding of Tennessee's place within environmental and human rights movements and its role as a generator of phenomenal cultural life.
About the Author
BEVERLY GREENE BOND is an associate professor of history and director of African and African American Studies at the University of Memphis. She is the co-editor of Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times, with Sarah Wilkerson Freeman, Vol. 1 (2009) and Vol. 2 (Georgia 2015) and Images of America: Beale Street with Janann Sherman (Arcadia Publishing 2006).
CHERISSE JONES-BRANCH is professor of history at Arkansas State University. She is the author of Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II and is currently writing a book on rural black women’s activism in Arkansas.
CONNIE L. LESTER is an assistant professor of history at the University of Central Florida and editor of the Florida Historical Quarterly.
MELISSA WALKER HEIDARI is an associate professor of English at Columbia College.
Table of Contents
Preface Sarah Wilkerson Freeman ix
Nan-ye-hi (Nancy Ward): Diplomatic Mother Cynthia Cumfer 1
Fanny Wright: Battle against Slavery Celia Morris 23
Milly Swan Price: Freedom, Kinship, and Property Beverly Greene Bond 44
Mary Church Terrell: Revisiting the Politics of Race, Class, and Gender Cherisse Jones-Branch 68
Alberta Hunter: "She Had the World in a Jug, with the Stopper in Her Hand" Michelle R. Scott 93
Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie: Wing Walker, Parachute Jumper, Air Racer Janann Sherman 119
Sue Shelton White: Lady Warrior Betty Sparks Huehls Beverly Greene Bond 140
Charl Ormond Williams: Feminist Politics and Education for Equality Sarah Wilkerson Freeman 164
Lucille Thornburgh: "I Had to Be Right Pushy" Connie L. Lester 191
Martha Ragland: The Evolution of a Political Feminist Carole Bucy 214
Wilma Dykeman: The Hearth and the Map Melissa Walker 243
Sarah Colley Cannon (Minnie Pearl): Gossiping about Grinder's Switch-The Grand Ole Opry and the Modernization of Tennessee Kristine M. Mccusker 261
Diane Judith Nash: A Mission for Equality, Justice, and Social Change Linda T. Wynn 281
Wilma Rudolph: Running for Freedom Aram Goudsouzian 305
Jo Walker-Meador: The Country Music Association Diane Pecknold 333
Bettye Berger: Transforming the Mainstream Laura Helper-Ferris 359
Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg: Feminist and Race Woman Gail S. Murray 381
Doris Bradshaw: Battling Environmental Racism Melissa Checker 403
Selected Bibliography 425
List of Contributors 433