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vii Acknowledgments I am grateful to a number of institutions and individuals who helped me through this long and difficult process. The staff and personnel of several archival collections deserve my thanks for assisting me in this project. Jim Cole and Ed Frank at the Mississippi Valley Collection of the University of Memphis McWherter Library, Wayne Dowdy in the History Department of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, and all of the employees at the City of Memphis Archives not only helped me navigate box after box of source material, but also provided guidance and helpful suggestions throughout the research process. I also owe an enormous debt to those women who shared their experiences and life stories with me in the course of my research. These women were patient and generous in their conversations with me, and they never failed in providing me with the name of an individual or organization that I had overlooked. Several members of the Department of History at Ohio University deserve special mention for their assistance and encouragement throughout this endeavor. Sherry Gillogly provided assistance in maneuvering through the graduate program over the course of seven years while becoming a cherished friend in the process. My colleagues in the Women’s Studies Program at Ohio University facilitated the manuscript revision process, fueling my late nights with plenty of laughter and kind words of support. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Judith Grant, Jen Kanke, Lynette Peck, and Risa Whitson. Marvin Fletcher and Paul Milazzo also provided insightful comments on how to improve this work. In addition, Susan Burgess of the Women’s Studies Program at Ohio University deserves special mention. The community of friends who endured my alternating periods of jubilation and despair deserve many thanks for providing emotional sustenance throughout this process. Special thanks go to Cody Simpson Caldwell, Paul Chastko, Rick Dodgson, Jamie Fries, Brent and Renee Geary, Bonnie Hagerman, Korcaighe Hale, Sherry Hill, Bill Kamil, Henrik Laursen, Alex Liosatos, Keenon McCloy, Scott Martin, Anne Molineu, Elisa Spear Nabors, Mark Nabors, Tom Priggel, Trevor Ramsey, Kathryn Simpson, Erin Stanley, and Kirk Tyvela. My family remains the true source of all my support and success. My sister and brother-in-law, Sherrie and Harvey Stafford, have encouraged and assisted me throughout this process; their children, Hunt and Halle, have enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. My “sister-inlaw ” Barbara Stafford and my uncle Cliff Lynch provided important social diversions in my numerous trips to Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, while Uncle Cliff also donned the hat of research assistant on several occasions. My father-in-law and mother-in-law, Blaine and Frances Beekman, and my stepson, Miller, also deserve special mention for their encouragement and support. My greatest debt, however, is owed to four people: my colleague, Katherine Jellison, my parents, Glenda and Bud Little, and my spouse, Scott Beekman. Throughout our thirteen-year relationship, Katherine Jellison has inspired and encouraged me. Whether she suggested that I turn in my hat as a delivery driver and continue my graduate studies or forced me to write and rewrite the manuscript until it lived up to her “tough love” standards, “Dr. J.” has earned my heartfelt thanks and respect . I can honestly call her my “academic mother.” My parents, each in his or her own unique way, contributed to the writing of this book. Dad provided reliable transportation that could withstand countless journeys through Kentucky and Tennessee. However, the puzzled facial expressions and knitted brows he displayed when I informed him that the book was not yet done proved to be a most effective catalyst to completion of the work. My mother, especially, deserves an enormous amount of gratitude, not only for her suggestion that I focus my research on Memphis women, but also for her patience, words of encouragement, and “self-esteem workshops” when the road ahead looked too long. She remains my strongest ally and source of strength. My final and deepest thanks go to Scott Beekman, whose ability to muster up sarcastic comments in the margins of each chapter led to a much better book in the end. However, Beekman’s role as my husband and closest friend is even Acknowledgments viii Acknowledgments ix more invaluable to me than his role as editor. Diversionary trips to the Bigfoot Conference and local wrestling events throughout southeastern Ohio were as important to the work as the research itself. I am eternally grateful to him for his sense...


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