What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers during the Jim Crow Era

By de Jong, Greta | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers during the Jim Crow Era


de Jong, Greta, The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers during the Jim Crow Era. By Stephanie J. Shaw. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Pp. xvi, 347. Foreword, preface, acknowledgment, introduction, conclusion, sources, appendices, notes, index. $47.50, cloth; $16.95, paper.)

Stephanie Shaw's What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do Black Professional Women Workers during the Jim Crow Era makes a significant contribution to the study of African American and women's history. Focusing her research on approximately eighty black women who pursued careers in teaching, nursing, social work, and other professions, Shaw shows how African American communities empowered their daughters (and themselves) through child-rearing and educational practices designed to develop "socially responsible individualism" (p. 3). Women like Mary Church Terrell, Janie Porter Barrett, Angelina Grimke, Layle Lane, and Septima Poinsette Clark were encouraged to strive for individual achievement not just for its own sake, but so that they might reach positions of wealth or influence that would enable them to help others. Because assistance in gaining access to education and other advantages was often provided by people outside their immediate families, black professional women were imbued with a sense of their "duties to [their] race" (p. 69).

They knew they were expected to use the knowledge and skills they acquired to become community leaders and work to improve the lives of others who had not been so fortunate. As Clara Jones's grandfather told her before she left for college, "You're going to get your education, and its [sic] not yours; you're doing it for your people" (p. 38).

Shaw's sample group encompasses three generations of women born between the 1850s and 1930s. The first two generations, she suggests, viewed their role within the traditional framework of the Progressive Era: shaping working-class and poor people into more acceptable members of society by encouraging them to adopt mainstream American values such as hard work, thrift, and sobriety. At the same time they often provided useful resources for black communities and helped establish institutions like schools, hospitals, and libraries where none had existed before. In the third generation Shaw perceives a shift toward a more militant attitude and a reconceptualization of the problems facing African Americans. In the 1930s and 1940s black professional women turned their attention away from "uplifting the race" to uplifting white society. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers during the Jim Crow Era
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.