Author: Smith, Mary Jane.
Title: Constructing Womanhood in Public: Progressive White Women in a New South.
Publisher: Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College Doctoral Dissertations 2626, LSU Digital Commons, 2002.
Guided by a committee with extensive publishing experience in this area of Southern history (including Professor Gaines Foster who wrote Ghosts of the Confederacy), Mary Jane Smith wrote a useful monograph on white women's history that shows how black and white women of the South during the Progressive Era constructed their respective ideals for their communities and their sex. In both arenas, black and white, women used racialized language to describe how the New South would best be led in the future. Smith focuses in particular on the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. For southern white women, white supremacy was used not only to argue the necessity for the vote but also to exclude black clubwomen from their national organizations. They also insisted that prohibition was needed in order to assure that African Americans would be productive members of society. Dr. Smith is also the author of "Laura Clay (1849-1941): States' Rights and Southern Suffrage Reform" pp 119-139 in Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Melissa A. McEuen and Thomas H. Appleton Jr. (U. of Georgia Press, 2015). She currently teaches history at St. Lawrence University and continues her research into racial discourse and politics of southern white women’s voluntary associations during the Progressive Era. She currently is focusing on southern black women’s temperance work between 1865 and 1917.