Beyond Heroines and Girl Strikers

Mary E. Frederickson

in Looking South

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036038
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038469 | DOI:
Beyond Heroines and Girl Strikers

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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

Chapter.  8944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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