Black Women in Texas HistoryThough often consigned to the footnotes of history, African American women are a significant part of the rich, multiethnic heritage of Texas and the United States. Until now, though, their story has frequently been fragmented and underappreciated. Black Women in Texas History draws together a multi-author narrative of the experiences and impact of black American women from the time of slavery until the recent past. Each chapter, written by an expert on the era, provides a readable survey and overview of the lives and roles of black Texas women during that period. Each provides careful documentation, which, along with the thorough bibliography compiled by the volume editors, will provide a starting point for others wanting to build on this important topic. The authors address significant questions about population demographics, employment patterns, family and social dimensions, legal and political rights, and individual accomplishments. They look not only at how African American women have been shaped by the larger culture but also at how these women have, in turn, affected the culture and history of Texas. This work situates African American women within the context of their times and offers a due appreciation and analysis of their lives and accomplishments. Black Women in Texas History is an important addition to history and sociology curriculums as well as black studies and women’s studies programs. It will provide for interested students, scholars, and general readers a comprehensive survey of the crucial role these women played in shaping the history of the Lone Star State.
Hands to the Spindle: Texas Women and Home Textile Production, 1822-1880It is said one piece of fabric can tell of the hardships, blessings, and realities of a woman's life, as well as her community's life. In nineteenth-century Texas women's hands created most of the clothes their families wore, the blankets used to cover their tired bodies, and the textiles that furnished their homes. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, and knitting of clothing and linens gave them the [palette] to display their abilities and their dreams of a better future. These day-to-day activities of Texas women spinners and weavers come to life in the award-winning author Paula Mitchell Marks' Hands to the Spindle. The hum of the spinning wheel and the clatter of the loom provided regular accompaniment to the lives of many Texas women and their families. Producing much-needed garments and cloth also provided an escape from the worries and isolation of frontier life. One charming early chronicler, Mary Crownover Rabb, kept her spinning wheel whistling all day and most of the night because the spinning kept her "from hearing the Indians walking around hunting mischief." Through the stories of real women and an overview of their textile crafts, Paula Mitchell Marks introduces readers to a functional art rarely practiced in our more hurried times. Photographs of some of their actual handiwork and evocative pen sketches of women at work and the tools and dye plants they used, skillfully drawn by artist Walle Conoly, bring the words to life. Written in an interesting and informative style, this study, the will be valuable for western history buffs, specialists in the field of spinning and weaving, and readers interested in adding another dimension to their knowledge of women's studies.
In Struggle Against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900-1957African American women have played significant roles in the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality, but relatively little is known about many of these leaders and activists. Most accounts of the civil rights movement focus on male leaders and the organizations they led, leaving a dearth of information about the countless black women who were the backbone of the struggle in local communities across the country. At the local level women helped mold and shape the direction the movement would take. Lulu B. White was one of those women in the civil rights movement in Texas. Executive secretary of the Houston branch of the NAACP and state director of branches, White was a significant force in the struggle against Jim Crow during the 1940s and 1950s. She was at the helm of the Houston chapter when the Supreme Court struck down the white primary in Smith v. Allbright, and she led the fight to get more blacks elected to public office, to gain economic parity for African Americans, and to integrate the University of Texas. Author Merline Pitre places White in her proper perspective in Texas, Southern, African American, women's, and general American history; points to White's successes and achievements, as well as the problems and conflicts she faced in efforts to eradicate segregation; and looks at the strategies and techniques White used in her leadership roles. Pitre effectively places White within the context of twentieth-century Houston and the civil rights movement that was gripping the state. In Struggle Against Jim Crow is pertinent to the understanding of race, gender, interest group politics, and social reform during this turbulent era.
Minnie Fisher Cunningham: A Suffragist's Life in PoliticsThe principal orchestrator of the passage of women's suffrage in Texas, a founder and national officer of the League of Women Voters, the first woman to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, and a candidate for that state's governor, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was one of the first American women to pursue a career in party politics. Cunningham's professional life spanned a half century, thus illuminating our understanding of women in public life between the Progressive Era and the 1960s feminist movement. Cunningham entered politics through the suffrage movement and women's voluntary association work for health and sanitation in Galveston, Texas. She quickly became one of the most effective state suffrage leaders, helping to pass the bill in a region where opposition to women voters was strongest. In Washington, Cunningham was one of the core group of suffragists who lobbied the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and then traveled the country campaigning for ratification. After women gained the right to vote across the nation, she helped found the nonpartisan National League of Women Voters and organized training schools to teach women the skills of grassroots organizing, creating publicity campaigns, and lobbying and monitoring legislative bodies. Through the League, she became acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt, who credited one of her speeches with stimulating her own political activity. Cunningham then turned to the Democratic Party, serving as an officer of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1928 Cunningham became a candidate herself, making an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. An advocate of New Deal reforms, Cunningham was part of the movement in the 1930s to transform the Democratic Party into the women's party, and in 1944 she ran for governor on a pro-New Deal platform. Cunningham's upbringing in rural Texas made her particularly aware of the political needs of farmers, women, union labor, and minorities, and she fought gender, class, and racial discrimination within a conservative power structure. In the postwar years, she was called the "very heart and soul of Texas liberalism" as she helped build an electoral coalition of women, minorities, and male reformers that could sustain liberal politics in the state and bring to office candidates including Ralph Yarborough and Bob Eckhardt. A leader and role model for the post-suffrage generation, Cunningham was not satisfied with simply achieving the vote, but agitated throughout her career to use it to better the lives of others. Her legacy has been carried on by the many women to whom she taught successful grassroots strategies for political organizing. Minnie Fisher Cunningham was the winner of the Liz Carpenter Award of the Texas State Historical Association, and of the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award of the Texas Historical Commission.
Texas Through Women's Eyes: The Twentieth-Century ExperienceTexas Through Women's Eyes offers a fascinating overview of women's experiences and achievements in the twentieth century, with an inclusive focus on rural women, working-class women, and women of color. McArthur and Smith trace the history of Texas women through four eras. They discuss how women entered the public sphere to work for social reforms and the right to vote during the Progressive era (1900-1920); how they continued working for reform and social justice and for greater opportunities in education and the workforce during the Great Depression and World War II (1920-1945); how African American and Mexican American women fought for labor and civil rights while Anglo women laid the foundation for two-party politics during the postwar years (1945-1965); and how second-wave feminists (1965-2000) promoted diverse and sometimes competing goals, including passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive freedom, gender equity in sports, and the rise of the New Right and the Republican party.
True Women and Westward ExpansionExpansion was the fever of the early nineteenth century, and women burned with it as surely as men, although in a different way. Subscribing to the "cult of true womanhood," which valued domesticity, piety, and similar "feminine" virtues, women championed expansion for the cause of civilization, even while largely avoiding the masculine world of politics. Adrienne Caughfield mines the diaries and letters of some ninety Texas women to uncover the ideas and enthusiasms they brought to the Western frontier. Although there were a few notable exceptions, most of them drew on their domestic skills and values to establish not only "civilization," but their own security. Caughfield sheds light on women's activism (the flip side of domesticity), attitudes toward race and "civilization," the tie between a vision of a unified continent and a cultivated wilderness, and republican values. She offers a new understanding of not only gender roles in the West but also the impulse for expansionism itself. In Texas, Caughfield demonstrates, "women never stopped arriving with more fuel for the flames [of expansionism] as their families tried to find a place to settle down, some place with a little more room, where national destiny and personal dreams merged into a glorious whole." In doing so, Texas women expanded not only American borders, but their own as well.
Undaunted: A Norwegian Woman in Frontier TexasElise Waerenskjold is known to fans of Texas women writers as "the lady with the pen," from the title of a book of her writings. A forward-looking journalist, she sent letters and articles back to Norway that encouraged others to follow her footsteps to Texas, where a small colony of Norwegian settlers were making a new life alongside—but distinct from—other European immigrants.
We Won't Back Down: Severita Lara's Rise From Student Leader to MayorJohn Feinstein goes behind closed doors at the US Open. When teen sportswriters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson score press passes to the U.S. Open they expect drama. They expect blistering serves, smashed returns and fierce competition. What they don't expect is kidnapping. Russian tennis phenom Nadia Symanova was supposed to win it all, but she never even made it onto the court. Now the whole stadium is in an uproar trying to find her. Can Stevie and Susan Carol get to Nadia before it's too late?
Women, Culture, and CommunityIn this work, Elizabeth Turner addresses a central question in post-Reconstruction social history: why did middle-class women expand their activities from the private to the public sphere and begin, in the years just before World War I, an unprecedented activism? Using Galveston as a case study, Turner examines how a generally conservative, traditional environment could produce important women's organizations for Progressive reform. She concludes that the women of Galveston, though slow to respond to national movements, were stirred to action on behalf of their local community. Local organizations, particularly Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, and traditional everyday social activities provided a nurturing environment for budding reformers, and a foundation for activist organizations and programs such as poor relief and progressive reform. Ultimately, women became politicized even as they continued their roles as guardians of traditional domestic values. Women, Culture, and Community will appeal to scholars and students of the post-Reconstruction South, women's history, activist history, and religious history.
Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in TexasCitizens at Last is an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of the suffrage movement in Texas. Richly illustrated and featuring over thirty primary documents, it reveals what it took to win the vote.
Invisible Texans: Women and Minorities in Texas HistoryThis anthology about women and minorities in Texas collects eighteen essays by highly respected scholars, examining the latest multicultural interpretations of the Lone Star state and placing them in a historical perspective. The distinctive and diverse nature of Texas history comes alive through the book’s focus on topics that have been under-represented in Texas history literature.
Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas BorderlandsRevising the standard narrative of European-Indian relations in America, Juliana Barr reconstructs a world in which Indians were the dominant power and Europeans were the ones forced to accommodate, resist, and persevere. She demonstrates that between the 1690s and 1780s, Indian peoples including Caddos, Apaches, Payayas, Karankawas, Wichitas, and Comanches formed relationships with Spaniards in Texas that refuted European claims of imperial control. Barr argues that Indians not only retained control over their territories but also imposed control over Spaniards. Instead of being defined in racial terms, as was often the case with European constructions of power, diplomatic relations between the Indians and Spaniards in the region were dictated by Indian expressions of power, grounded in gendered terms of kinship. By examining six realms of encounter--first contact, settlement and intermarriage, mission life, warfare, diplomacy, and captivity--Barr shows that native categories of gender provided the political structure of Indian-Spanish relations by defining people's identity, status, and obligations vis-a-vis others. Because native systems of kin-based social and political order predominated, argues Barr, Indian concepts of gender cut across European perceptions of racial difference.
Women and Texas History: Selected EssaysWomen have long made significant contributions to Texas history. Only in recent years, however, has their part in that history begun to be told. The great strides made in Texas women's studies are reflected in this important new book of essays about women and their many roles in the history of our state. In October 1990, the Texas State Historical Association sponsored a conference, "Women and Texas History," which brought together some of the leading scholars in the field of women's studies. This highly successful conference -- attended by hundreds and awarded recognition for its excellence by the AASLH -- produced a raft of exciting presentations which demonstrated the vigorous quality and growth of women's studies in and about Texas. Women and Texas History includes thirteen of the best presentations at the conference. This "milestone" publication, notes Fane Downs in her introduction to Women and Texas History, represents "the emerging maturity of the field of Texas women's history; moreover, these essays add significantly to our knowledge of the complex and diverse history of Texas."
Women and the Texas RevolutionHistorically, wars and revolutions have offered politically and socially disadvantaged people the opportunity to contribute to the nation (or cause) in exchange for future expanded rights. Although shorter than most conflicts, the Texas Revolution nonetheless profoundly affected not only the leaders and armies, but the survivors, especially women, who endured those tumultuous events and whose lives were altered by the accompanying political, social, and economic changes. While there is wide scholarship on the Texas Revolution, there is no comparable volume on the role of women during that conflict. Most of the many works on the Texas Revolution include women briefly in the narrative, such as Emily Austin, Susanna Dickinson, and Emily Morgan West (the Yellow Rose), but not as principal participants. Women and the Texas Revolution explores these women in much more depth, in addition to covering the women and children who fled Santa Anna's troops in the Runaway Scrape, and examining the roles and issues facing Native American, black, and Hispanic women of the time. Like the American Revolution, women's experiences in the Texas Revolution varied tremendously by class, religion, race, and region. While the majority of immigrants who crossed the Sabine and Red rivers into Texas in the 1820s and 1830s were men, many were women who accompanied their husbands and families or, in some instances, braved the dangers and the hardships of the frontier alone. Black and Hispanic women were also present in Mexican Texas. Most black women came as chattel property (or free blacks) and most Tejanas were already living in predominantly Spanish or Mexican communities. The Native American female population, a sizeable but declining segment of the population, was also in the region, inhabiting the prairies and plains, but rarely counted in the various censuses at the time. Whether Mexican loyalist or Texas patriot, elite planter or subsistence farm wife, slaveholder or slave, Anglo or black, women helped settle the Texas frontier and experienced the uncertainty, hardships, successes, and sorrows of the Texas Revolution. By placing women at the center of the Texas Revolution, this volume reframes the historical narrative and asks different questions: What were the social relations between the sexes at the time of the Texas Revolution? Did women participate in the war effort? Did the events of 1836 affect Anglo, black, Hispanic, and Native American women differently? What changes occurred in women's lives as a result of the revolution? Did the revolution liberate women to any degree from their traditional domestic sphere and threaten the established patriarchy? In brief, was the Texas Revolution "revolutionary" for women?
Women Pioneers in Texas MedicineWomen have offered medical care as midwives and herbalists for centuries. As the authors of this book show, however, the women who have worked in the medical professions in Texas not only staked out traditional roles but also moved into new territory as science and technology developed. Women Pioneers in Texas Medicine is the first-ever book on Texas women who practice the healing arts and sciences. The pioneering figures presented here have broken new ground in fields ranging from nursing, pharmacy, public health, and dentistry to general and hospital practice, hospice care, virology, surgery, and psychiatry. Their stories reveal the special obstacles they faced and overcame as women practicing in demanding, frequently all-male fields. Their profiles also chronicle the history of medicine in the state generally since their accomplishments paralleled and in some instances led the development of medical practice and specialization. Using vignettes and biographical details garnered from literature, newspaper archives, typescripts in various libraries, and interviews, Elizabeth Silverthorne and Geneva Fulgham have created profiles of women ranging from the traditional to contemporary pioneers in fields such as genetics and nuclear medicine. The accomplishments of the women heighten our understanding of the ways in which they have defied stereotype. Through dedication to their chosen fields, often against great odds, the women profiled here contributed to an elevated status for all women in the state.