Academic journal article South Carolina Historical Magazine

South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times-Volume 3

Academic journal article South Carolina Historical Magazine

South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times-Volume 3

Article excerpt

South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times-Volume 3. Edited by Marjorie Julian Spruill, Valinda W. Littlefield, and Joan Marie Johnson. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012. Pp. xx, 459; $75.95, hardcover; $29.95, paperback; $24.95, e-book.)

Impressive in its comprehensiveness, volume 3 of South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Marjorie Julian Spruill, Valinda W. Littlefield, and Joan Marie Johnson, profiles numerous individuals who improved the lives of the masses of South Carolinians in the twentieth century by dedicating themselves on a voluntary basis, for the most part, to reform and uplift. With only a few exceptions, little has been published previously about the subjects of these essays. Since their stories are largely unknown, this collection will open the eyes of a wide reading audience.

The essays reveal that in general, South Carolina's political leaders did not support the efforts of these women. For example, the General Assembly was reluctant to fund pioneering educator Wil Lou Gray's literacy programs for white women, which she later extended to white men and black women. Mary Mac Ogden's chapter on Gray highlights her important contribution to the field of adult education. Many of Gray's popular ''opportunity schools" took place at colleges, and faculty across the state volunteered to support the project.

The essays also show the extent of the General Assembly's determination to keep blacks beneath the level of white citizens. An example comes from Jennifer E. Black's chapter regarding Harriet Simons and the all-white League of Women Voters of South Carolina. In November 1952, the legislature passed a resolution calling for a referendum to remove the provision for free public education from the state constitution, part of its multi-pronged strategy to prevent desegregation of public schools. When Simons and the League of Women Voters challenged the decision to eliminate the public school system rather than integrate, officials accused them of being traitors to their race.

All of the women who appear in this collection were bold, courageous, and forward-thinking reformers. Another theme that carries over from es- say to essay is the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences. Different ethnic and social groups are represented, as are a variety of geographical areas in every comer of the state-from major cities, to small towns, to mill villages, to rural communities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.