NWSA Journal 11.3, Fall 1999
Special Issue: Appalachia and the South: Place, Gender, Pedagogy
Guest Editor: Patricia D. Beaver
Smith, Barbara E.
"Beyond the Mountains": The Paradox of Women's Place in Appalachian History
- Women -- Appalachian Region -- Historiography.
Despite the flourishing of southern women's history
during the past two decades, the history of women in Appalachia has
only begun to be written. Those who make the attempt must come to terms
with implicitly gendered constructions of Appalachia and narratives of
regional history that feature men as the determinant actors. Utilizing
oral history and family legend, the article argues that women's history
in Appalachia, particularly the history of working-class women, requires
an approach that looks beyond orthodox sources of data and fields
of action to locate women's history-making and the contestations of
gender. The resulting feminist historiography challenges conventional
conceptions of the region, its history, and who has created both.
Watkins, Charles Alan.
Weaving Day at Penland: A Photographic Analysis
- Penland School of Handicrafts, Penland, N.C.
- Weaving -- North Carolina -- Penland.
- Weavers -- North Carolina -- Penland.
This article considers the photographic images of
Appalachian women who were part of the Crafts Revival movement of the
1920s and 1930s in Appalachia. It challenges the popular images created
to promote the crafts revival, while proposing contemporary understandings
and economic motives which informed women's participation in weaving.
"There Was No Middle Ground": Anne Braden And The Southern Social Justice Movement
- Braden, Anne, 1924-
- Women civil rights workers -- Southern States -- Biography.
- Women social reformers -- Southern States -- Biography.
Anne McCarty Braden is a southern white anti-racist
activist who made a dramatic break with segregationist culture in the
years just after World War II and committed her life to the cause of
racial and social justice. Braden found her life's work and meaning
through the racial justice movement in the South, and the longevity of her
activism has made her into a sort of "conscience" for the white South, a
reminder that whites bear an equal stake in opposing racism. This article
is essentially biographical, framing her (1) political transformation;(2)
early activism; (3) Kentucky sedition case and (4) overall contributions
to racial change in the post-World War II South, in terms of race, gender,
class, and place. A theme of the essay is Braden's broad-based vision of
social change, which has provided important points of connection with
most of the great social upheavals of this century, even though her
own work has centered primarily on civil rights campaigns in the former
plantation South. She has lived her life as a feminist and has brought
a highly gendered presence to all of her organizing, raising questions
of women's rights in every movement of which she has been a part and
urging inclusiveness within the women's movement. Her commitment to
trade unionism and economic justice also has led her to build alliances
between southern civil rights crusades and union drives and economic
reform projects in the Appalachian South.
Keller, Frances Richardson, 1917-
An Educational Controversy: Anna Julia Cooper's Vision of Resolution
- Cooper, Anna J. (Anna Julia), 1858-1964.
- Afro-American women educators -- Biography.
- Afro-Americans -- Education (Higher)
Out of deep educational disagreements that tore black
communities asunder in the nineteenth century, an African American
woman offered solutions. Anna Julia Cooper pioneered one of the most
significant innovations ever introduced in any society. She
envisioned and brought into being a system we know as community
college. She championed and modeled the idea that higher education
is a lifelong experience, that it can be available for everyone, and
that everyone can work as she or he learns. Distressed by the "old,
subjective, stagnant, indolent and wretched life" of far too many women,
Anna Cooper demonstrated that women, as well as men, can escape ignorance
and poverty. In her community she discovered, built, and nurtured a
working-adult college; she believed that students need no longer feel
thwarted in their life possibilities, that they could learn as they
worked. As Booker Washington spoke for industrial education, W.E.B. Du
Bois for elite opportunity, and Charles Chesnutt for the vote to achieve
both, Anna Cooper offered higher education, vocational education, and
lifelong education--and women's inclusion in them all--as the road to
Maternalism and the Promotion of Scientific Medicine During the Industrial Transformation of Appalachia, 1880-1930
- Women social reformers -- Appalachian Region.
- Medical care -- Appalachian Region -- History.
- Women's health services -- Appalachian Region -- History.
During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries
rural Appalachian life was fundamentally challenged by the intrusion of
industrial capitalism. While historians have illustrated the complexities
of these developments in the areas of labor and economic history, little
has been done to document the importance of gender in the reconstruction
of Appalachian customs and traditions. By focusing on the role of women
volunteers and settlement workers in the promotion of scientific
medicine, this article argues for a recognition of women as active
agents who labored to impart the expectations and presumptions of
an increasingly professionalized and bureaucratized medical system
to rural people. Driven by maternalist concerns and professional and
class ambitions, women activists were key players in encouraging rural
Appalachian residents to redefine their fundamental understandings
of health and of their relationship to their healers.
Judson, Sarah Mercer.
Civil Rights and Civic Health: African American Women's Public Health Work in Early Twentieth Century Atlanta
- Afro-American women social reformers -- Georgia -- Atlanta.
- Tuberculosis -- Georgia -- Atlanta -- Prevention.
- Public health -- Georgia -- Atlanta -- History.
In this article I explore how African American women
asserted their political power in early twentieth-century Atlanta
by investigating their participation and leadership in Atlanta's
anti-tuberculosis movement. Despite the reigning political system and
culture of white supremacy, African American women created a sphere
in which they could claim political power both as leaders of their
community and as mediators between the white power structure and the
Fine, Elizabeth C. (Elizabeth Calvert)
"Lazy Jack": Coding and Contextualizing Resistance in Appalachian Women's Narratives
- Jack tales -- Kentucky -- Rockcastle County -- History and criticism.
- Carter-Sexton, Beverly, 1953- -- Criticism and interpretation.
- Cannibalism -- Mythology.
The female characters in most American Jack tales portray
ancillary roles and seldom display strong character or initiative. But
Appalachian storyteller Beverly Carter-Sexton develops strong women
characters in all of her Jack tales. In "Lazy Jack," a remarkable
tale involving cannibalism and self-cannibalism, she uses coding and
contextualizing techniques to challenge traditional gender and economic
relationships that she has observed in her native Rockcastle County,
Kentucky. This paper 1) examines the dominant motifs and related versions
of this tale to appreciate the changes Carter-Sexton has brought to her
telling; 2) analyzes the implicit coding strategies of appropriation,
juxtaposition, and incompetence used by Carter-Sexton to subvert male
dominance, and links her coding strategies to those used by other
female storytellers in her family; and 3) explores the metanarrative
and metaperformative techniques she uses to recontextualize the tale.
Slashing the Homemade Quilt in Denise Giardina's Storming Heaven
- Giardina, Denise, 1951- Storming heaven.
- Coal mines and mining -- West Virginia -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
- Coal miners -- Labor unions -- West Virginia -- History -- Fiction.
In contemporary Southern literature, many women
authors have developed a theme of cooperation and mutual aid. Denise
Giardina depicts cooperative mountain communities, empowered by the
land, that are devastated by the competitive and colonizing forces
of the outsider mine owners in Storming Heaven. The intensity of the
destruction expands with the awareness that the novel is based upon
the actual history of Matewan and the 1920 labor strike; the struggle
for justice is not imaginary but real. Giardina dramatizes four points
of view, including gender differences: a mountain fellow who grows up
with the old ways; a younger man born on the eve of industrialization; a
modern mountain woman whose family lives in both worlds; and an Italian
immigrant woman relocated in the coal camp. Their threatened lives are
symbolized by tattered folklife motifs: a regendered midwife, a blasted
stargazer, an exiled banjo songster, a slashed quilt, and a skewered
butterfly. Nonetheless, the characters find strategies of
resistance and continue to create cooperative social systems.
Coming Home: Finding My Appalachian Mothers Through Emma Bell Miles
- Miles, Emma Bell, 1879-1919 -- Criticism and interpretation.
- Brooks, Shannon.
- Women -- Appalachian Region.
Growing up in a culture that frequently denigrates the
very women that it relies upon, I had a difficult time finding
models for womanhood among the women of my Appalachia. Most of the women
around me appeared to exert little power or command much respect outside
their families, let alone within them. Driven by a desire to break the
cycle of dropping out, marrying, bearing children, and settling into
manufacturing work, I abandoned the Appalachian women of my past in search
of a future with the new womanhood I saw in the academy. However, I soon
found that I needed to be a great deal like the women I had left behind
in the rural manufacturing communities in order to create an identity
for myself in the outside world. Through the discovery of the writings
of one of Appalachia's earliest feminists, Emma Bell Miles, I found the
value of the culture I had left behind, as well as my own ability to
create space for myself within that culture on my own terms.
Greene, Christina, 1951-
The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper: Including A Voice From the South and Other Important Essays, Papers, and Letters, and: The Power of Femininity in the New South: Women's Organizations and Politics in North Carolina, 1880-1930 (review)
- Cooper, Anna J. (Anna Julia), 1858-1964. Voice of Anna Julia Cooper: including A voice from the South and other important essays, papers, and letters.
- Lemert, Charles C., 1937-, ed.
- Bhan, Esme, 1947-, ed.
- Sims, Anastatia. Power of femininity in the New South: women's organizations and politics in North Carolina, 1880-1930.
- Afro-American women -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century.
- Women -- North Carolina -- Societies and clubs -- History.
Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers, and: Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women, and: Searching for Safe Spaces: Afro-Caribbean Women Writers in Exile (review)
- Lee, Valerie, 1950- Granny midwives and Black women writers.
- Perkins, Kathy A., 1954-, ed. Strange fruit: plays on lynching by American women.
- Stephens, Judith L. (Judith Louise), 1943-, ed.
- Chancy, Myriam J. A., 1970- Searching for safe spaces: Afro-Caribbean women writers in exile.
- American prose literature -- Afro-American authors -- History and criticism.
- Lynching -- United States -- Drama.
Farr, Sidney Saylor, 1932-
The Quare Women's Journals: May Stone & Katherine Pettit's Summers in the Kentucky Mountains and the Founding of the Hindman Settlement School, and: Courageous Paths: Stories of Nine Appalachian Women (review)
- Stone, May. Quare women's journals: May Stone & Katherine Pettit's summers in the Kentucky mountains and the founding of the Hindman Settlement School.
- Pettit, Katherine.
- Stoddart, Jess, 1937-, ed.
- Stephenson, Jane B., ed. Courageous paths: stories of nine Appalachian women.
- Stone, May -- Diaries.
- Pettit, Katherine -- Diaries.
- Women -- Appalachian Region.