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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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(p.1) Introduction
Unlikely Dissenters

Anne Stefani

University Press of Florida

The introduction presents the research subject, two generations of white southern women who confronted white supremacy in their region between the 1920s and the 1960s. It exposes the distinctive ways in which the interconnections of race, gender, and regional culture shaped their identities, explaining how the women dissented from their native culture while remaining deeply attached to it. After surveying the historiography of the subject, it stresses the contribution of the book to current scholarship by describing its scope and contents. The volume provides a comprehensive view of white southern anti-racist women over five decades, taking the “long” civil rights movement as its conceptual frame. It sheds light on the threads of continuity bridging two generations of unique southern activists during the segregation era, demonstrating that these women's racial activism entailed a gradual process of emancipation from southern gender norms but did not destroy their identification with the South. The introduction gives an overview of the book’s methods and sources (autobiographical writings, organizational archives, private correspondence, oral interviews, and a questionnaire).

Keywords:   White southern women, White supremacy, Race, Gender, Civil rights movement, Segregation, Racial activism, South, Emancipation

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