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Tennessee women of the Progressive Era march into ...

Tennessee women of the Progressive Era march into 21st century in online lecture series

promo image combining photo of advocates of women's suffrage in 1920 on the steps of MTSU’s Kirksey Old Main at left and a 1925 photo of the first women's basketball team at Middle Tennessee Normal School at right with the logo for “Tennessee 101: Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era,” aseries of 10 free online lectures sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society that will run from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16. (photos courtesy of the Albert Gore Research Center and the James E. Walker Library)

Two MTSU scholars will provide expertise in a new online series of presentations this fall on women who were important in Tennessee history.

Tennessee 101 Progressive Era logo

Click on the logo to register for and watch the free lecture series.

Sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society, “Tennessee 101: Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era” is a series of 10 free online lectures. The first five will run from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16.

Access to the series is available here, under “Programs” on the Tennessee Historical Society website. Registration is required.

Drs. Mary Evins, a research professor of history at MTSU, and Minoa Uffelman, a history professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, are co-organizers for the lecture series.

Dr. Mary A. Evins, professor of history, coordinator of the American Democracy Project, member of the University Honors College faculty

Dr. Mary A. Evins

Evins will open and introduce the series Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. Central and will speak on “Women’s Progressivisms.”

Dr. Crystal deGregory, a research fellow at MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation, will discuss “African American College Women” at 5 p.m. Central Tuesday, Nov. 16.

Dr. Crystal deGregory, research fellow, Center for Historic Preservation

Dr. Crystal deGregory

Evins and Uffelman also are collaborating on the second volume of an anthology on Tennessee women of the Progressive Era. The period spanned several decades of social activism and political reform focusing on women’s rights, among other issues.

The first volume, which Evins edited, is titled “Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era: Toward the Public Sphere in the New South.” The second volume, which is set for release in 2022, will be titled “Constructing Citizenship: Tennessee Public Women in the Progressive Era.”

“In this anthology and in the first volume, we explicitly adhere to the ‘long chronology’ of Southern progressivism from the late 1800s into the decades of the early to mid-20th century — the 1870s to the 1930s and beyond — when Southern society was moving beyond the restrictions and perspectives of the 19th century into 20th-century modernity,” Evins said.

“Throughout this time period, women were engaged in claiming their place in the public sphere and directly challenging patriarchy, power and prejudice,” Evins said. “They were shaping themselves as public women, taking and enacting their rights and constructing their own citizenship as full Americans.”

Advocates for women's suffrage pose on the steps of Kirksey Old Main on the MTSU campus in 1920. (Photo courtesy of the Albert Gore Research Center)

Advocates for women’s suffrage pose on the steps of Kirksey Old Main on the MTSU campus in 1920. (Photo courtesy of the Albert Gore Research Center)

The Tennessee 101 lecture series will continue in spring 2022 and will feature more presentations by MTSU scholars.

Included on the spring lecture agenda are Center for Historic Preservation Director Carroll Van West, who also serves as Tennessee’s state historian; CHP Assistant Director Antoinette Van Zelm; and recent MTSU graduate Aubrie McDaniel, who received her master’s degree in public history in 2020.

“In October 2020, with the support of Humanities Tennessee, we transitioned our lecture series to the online environment,” said Jennifer C. Core, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Society.

Tennessee Historical Society logo“Doing so has allowed people from all over the world — (including) Brazil, Australia and France — to learn about Tennessee’s fascinating history. We hope the audience who joins us for this free webinar series will gain an appreciation for Tennesseans’ participation in local, state and national events from 1896 to 1920.”

Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provided a grant helping to make the lecture series possible.

For more information about “Tennessee 101: Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era,” contact Evins at 615-904-8241 or mary.evins@mtsu.edu or the Tennessee Historical Society at 615-741-8934 or www.tennesseehistory.org/home/programs.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

This 1925 photo shows the first women's basketball team at Middle Tennessee Normal School, which later became Middle Tennessee State University. (Photo from James E. Walker Library collection)

This 1925 photo shows the first women’s basketball team at Middle Tennessee Normal School, which later became Middle Tennessee State University. (Photo from James E. Walker Library collection)

 


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