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Georgia Women

Their Lives and Times

Ann Short Chirhart

Publication Year: 2014

Women were leading actors in twentieth-century developments in Georgia, yet most histories minimize their contributions. The essays in the second volume of Georgia Women, edited by Ann Short Chirhart and Kathleen Ann Clark, vividly portray a wide array of Georgia women who played an important role in the state’s history, from little-known Progressive Era activists to famous present-day figures such as Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Georgia women were instrumental to state and national politics even before they achieved suffrage, and as essays on Lillian Smith, Frances Pauley, Coretta Scott King, and others demonstrate, they played a key role in twentieth-century struggles over civil rights, gender equality, and the proper size and reach of government. Georgia women’s contributions have been wide ranging in the arena of arts and culture and include the works of renowned blues singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and such nationally prominent literary figures as Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, and Flannery O’Connor, as well as Walker.

While many of the volume’s essays take a fresh look at relatively well-known figures, readers will also have the opportunity to discover women who were vital to Georgia’s history yet remain relatively obscure today, such as Atlanta educator and activist Lugenia Burns Hope, World War II aviator Hazel Raines, entrepreneur and carpet manufacturer Catherine Evans Whitener, and rural activist and author Vara A. Majette. Collectively, the life stories portrayed in this volume deepen our understanding of the multifaceted history of not only Georgia women but also the state itself.

Published with the generous support of the Honorable Dr. M. Louise McBee

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Southern Women: Their Lives and Times

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

...This volume relied on the research of all contributors, and we would like to thank them for their patience and contributions to Georgia women’s history. Indiana State University provided funding to Ann Short Chirhart with a grant from the Indiana State...

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Ann Short Chirhart and Kathleen ann Clark

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pp. 1-12

...This is the second of two volumes that together explore the diverse and changing patterns of Georgia women’s lives. Volume 2 focuses on eighteen Georgia women from the turn of the century to the 1980s. In volume 1, black and white women responded to dramatic changes...

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Lugenia Burns Hope (1871–1947): Fulfilling a Sacred Purpose

Ann Short Chirhart

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pp. 13-39

...Within two years of moving to Atlanta in 1898, Lugenia Burns Hope emerged as a leader for race work in the African American community. Primarily remembered for founding the Neighborhood Union (nu) in 1908, Hope’s work as a reformer originated during one of...

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Vara A. Majette (1875–1974): “The Small Voice of a Dissenter” in the Segregated South

Leslie Dunlap

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pp. 40-61

...The novel confronted certain of the film’s—and the white South’s—most cherished myths, especially the idea that chivalrous white men needed to protect virtuous white women from violent black men. Not surprisingly...

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Lucy May Stanton (1876–1931): New Forms and Ideas

Betty Alice Fowler

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pp. 62-85

...Lucy May Stanton emerged as an American artist of significance at the beginning of the twentieth century. By 1902 she was regarded as one of the best artists in her hometown of Atlanta, known not only for her portraits of prominent men and women and their children...

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Catherine Evans Whitener (1881–1964): The Creation of North Georgia’s Tufted Textile Industry

Randall L. Patton

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pp. 86-113

...Whitfield County, Georgia. She grew up, as did most Georgia women in the late nineteenth century, on the farm. She was clearly a very talented girl, yet her horizons were limited by both the circumstances of her birth and her gender. Rural Georgians, male and...

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Viola Ross Napier (1881–1962): The Twentieth-Century Struggle for Women’s Equality

Elizabeth Gillespie McRae

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pp. 114-132

...Viola Ross Napier, a mother of three children with another on the way, could not have known how fundamentally her life would change in 1919. For most Americans, the devastation of World War I had been something that they read about but did not experience...

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Mary Hambidge (1885–1973): A Vision of Beauty, Symmetry, and Order

Rosemary M. Magee

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pp. 133-147

...An ecstatic vision of oneness with nature and the universe informed the work of Mary Crovatt Hambidge. In every part of her life, she sought to fi nd and express the interconnectedness of beauty, symmetry, and order. A weaver of textiles, as well as a thinker and social...

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Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (1886–1939): “Hear Me Talkin’ to You”

Steve Goodson

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pp. 148-165

...They called her the “Mother of the Blues.” At her peak, in the mid- 1920s, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey toured with her company in a $13,000 Mack bus, her name proudly painted on the side...

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Lillian Smith (1887–1966): Humanist

John C. Inscoe

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pp. 166-189

...What accounts for the fascination that Lillian Smith continues to evoke among southern scholars today? Hers was a unique voice in the mid- twentieth century that was ahead of its time in terms of the hard truths and harsh judgments she poured out about the inequities...

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Margaret Mitchell (1900–1949): “What Living in the South Means”

Kathleen Ann Clark

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pp. 190-211

...Margaret Mitchell reflected on the price to be paid for “peace and happiness” in the South: “I couldn’t live any other place in the world except the South. . . . I believe, however, that I see more clearly...

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Frances Freeborn Pauley (1905–2003): Working for Justice in Twentieth-Century Georgia

Kathryn L. Nasstrom

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pp. 212-235

...The life story of Frances Freeborn Pauley is that of a political activist whose career spanned the twentieth century. At the center of the story is a middle-class white woman, with northern roots and a southern upbringing, who carved out an ever-expanding role...

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Kathryn Dunaway (1906–1980): Grassroots Conservatism and the STOP ERA Campaign

Robin Morris

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pp. 236-259

...“Mercy!” cried Lee Wysong as she fell into a hug with Kathryn Dunaway in the halls of the Georgia Capitol. The longtime friends had just heard the announcement from the state senate: the Equal Rights Amendment had failed once...

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Hazel Jane Raines (1916–1956): Georgia’s First Woman Pilot and her “Band of Sisters” during World War II

Paul Stephen Hudson

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pp. 260-280

...Enshrined in 1989 with a group of six other pilots inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia, Hazel Jane Raines is hailed as “Georgia’s First Lady of Flight.” Indeed, Hazel Raines was the first woman in Georgia to earn...

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Carson McCullers (1917–1967): “The Brutal Humiliation of Human Dignity” in the South

Carlos Dews

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pp. 281-298

...of the twentieth century—all her major works were set in the South and suff used with the language and atmosphere of the region—McCullers felt great ambivalence toward the South, escaped from it to what she considered a more tolerant New York City, and, with...

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Mabel Murphy Smythe (1918–2006): Black Women and Internationalism

Mary Rolinson

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pp. 299-323

...In June 1981, during her fi nal week as deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, Mabel Murphy Smythe sat down with Ruth Stutts Njiiri of the Phelps- Stokes Fund for an interview. Expressing her hopes for the future...

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Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964): A Prophet for Her Times

Sarah Gordon

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pp. 324-343

...At the time of her untimely death at age thirty- nine, Flannery O’Connor had published thirty- one short stories and two novels and had established herself as a fi ction writer of some interest, although her work was oft en mistakenly and simplistically labeled “southern...

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Coretta Scott King (1927–2006): Legacy to Civil Rights

Glenn T. Eskew

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pp. 344-368

...World renowned for her human rights activities during and aft er the modern civil rights struggle, Coretta Scott King created a lasting legacy by establishing the process through which the nonviolent movement is memorialized in annual ceremonies, monuments...

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Rosalynn Carter (1927– ): The President’s Partner

Scott Kaufman

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pp. 369-394

...During the past century, the first lady of the United States has adopted an increasingly activist role. Eleanor Roosevelt traveled overseas on goodwill missions and fought for greater rights for African Americans. Jacqueline Kennedy promoted the arts, while Lady Bird Johnson...

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Alice Tallulah-Kate Walker (1944– ): On All Fronts

Deborah G. Plant

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pp. 395-416

...had learned to dance anew. At a family celebration designed to dance away the sorrows of those gathered, Walker observed the next generation of her family engaged in “a spirited line dance.” She confidently...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 417-424

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List of Contributors

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pp. 425-428

...is chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at John Cabot University in Rome. He is also the director of the John Cabot University Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. He was the founding director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in McCullers’s...


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pp. 429-438

E-ISBN-13: 9780820347004
E-ISBN-10: 0820347000
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820337845

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 19 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Southern Women: Their Lives and Times