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Looking SouthRace, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor from Reconstruction to Globalization$
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Mary E. Frederickson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036038

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036038.001.0001

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Beyond Heroines and Girl Strikers

Beyond Heroines and Girl Strikers

Gender and Organized Labor in the South

(p.112) 4 Beyond Heroines and Girl Strikers
Looking South

Mary E. Frederickson

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines representations of southern women within labor history. For many generations, southern labor history focused on two primary groups of women: “heroines,” individual women who performed extraordinary feats, and “girl strikers,” women whose protests were both collective and public. These stereotypes framed popular and academic histories of southern women and the labor movement and resonated profoundly in southern culture. This chapter compares these mythical images with the reality of southern women's lives as workers and with their roles as labor activists. Challenging these enduring stereotypes helps expand one's historical understanding of the full range of southern women's involvement in the labor movement and other networks of dissent. Neither heroines nor girl strikers but conscious of that history, these women took their place in the union and saw their future and that of their children in the labor movement.

Keywords:   southern women, labor history, heroines, girl strikers, mythical images

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