"This extraordinary collection pays tribute to the strength and resourcefulness of a number of Mississippi women—some famous, some relatively unknown, some sophisticated and wealthy, some poor and uneducated—whose lives bear witness to their 'courage to think,' as Pauline Orr put it, and also to act, sometimes in the most perilous of circumstances and always in a world where women, whether white or black, have been bound by rigid societal taboos. Mississippi Women is a book that has cried out to be written and cries out to be read."
—Ellen Douglas, author of Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell
"This volume represents a long-overdue highlighting of some of the significant and diverse contributions that seventeen remarkable women made to the history of Mississippi. One cannot read these pages without developing a greatly enhanced sense of appreciation of the role these gifted and dedicated individuals played in shaping for the better the lives of the people of our state."
"Significant contributions to history and society arent always made by the well known. That point is made immensely clear in this new book. . . . The authors are careful to cover all aspects of their subjects lives, which brings even more personality and humanity to their depiction of these remarkable women. Readers learn about the womens professional lives, as well as their families, volunteerism, hobbies, and passions. Such a presentation will help modern female readers identify with these historical paragons."
"How in the world could a book about these women be anything but intriguing? It couldn't, and it isn't. . . . Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history, while the 'civilian' readers will find Mississippi Women just plain good."
—Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
"For readers from Mississippi, the book offers a source of pride and inspiration; for others, it sheds light on a group of women whose noteworthy achievements went unnoticed for far too long."
"As multifaceted as the state they helped to build, the women portrayed in this engaging volume will interest and inspire Mississippians of all ages."
—Starkville Daily News
"Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history, while the 'civilian' readers will find Mississippi Women just plain good."
"Not only should this volume inspire additional research on Mississippi women, it also provides a model for other states wishing to undertake similar projects."
—Journal of Southern History
This collection of seventeen fascinating biographies, produced by the Mississippi Women's History Project, is an important step toward gaining the state's women their deserved place in its written record. The women whose absorbing life stories are told here range from Felicité Girodeau of old Natchez, who was both a person of color and a slaveholder, to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Some of the women are well known, others were prominent in their time but have since faded into obscurity, and a few have never received the attention they deserve.
Readers may already know such figures as writer and photographer Eudora Welty, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, and poet and educator Margaret Walker Alexander. Others are probably less familiar: the microbiologist Elizabeth Lee Hazen, the black businesswoman and civic leader Sadye Wier, the flapper feminist Minnie Brewer, or the jurist Burnita Shelton Matthews. All the featured women, whether suffrage pioneers, champions for higher education for women, or luminaries in art and literature, shared similar experiences in their struggles for success. From Winnie Davis, daughter of the Confederacy's president, to Hazel Brannon Smith, a journalist and antilynching crusader, they had in common the pains and privileges that were part of womanhood in their times.
As multifaceted as the state they helped to build, the women portrayed in this engaging volume will interest and inspire Mississippians of all ages. Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history.
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