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Unlikely DissentersWhite Southern Women in the Fight for Racial Justice, 1920-1970$
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Anne Stefani

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060767

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060767.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 27 February 2020



Two Generations, One Identity

(p.12) 1 Profiles
Unlikely Dissenters

Anne Stefani

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents the typical profile of the women examined in the book. Autobiographical writings and interviews show that all the women received the same white supremacist education, a combination of racist prejudices and specific gender norms, which rendered any personal interaction with black men and women impossible. It then shows how these women came to reject their education by deliberately unlearning racism and liberating themselves from the prescriptions of white southern womanhood in the process. Typically, the women who became involved in the “long” civil rights movement started with an acute sense of guilt through a traumatic episode or an epiphany constituting the catalyst for their repudiation of white supremacy. The chapter analyzes the main factors of their subsequent transformation, i.e. interracial contact, religion, and higher education. It concludes by showing how these women's racial activism inevitably entailed their emancipation from southern gender norms.

Keywords:   Autobiographical writing, Gender norms, Racism, White southern womanhood, Guilt, Interracial contact, Religion, Education, Racial activism, Emancipation

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