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, history is also made from the bottom up by those who confront change and shape it through their actions. 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 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.