A Will of Her Own
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A Will of Her Own

Sarah Towles Reed and the Pursuit of Democracy in Southern Public Education

Title Details

Pages: 266

Illustrations: 12 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 06/01/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3631-2

List Price: $34.95

A Will of Her Own

Sarah Towles Reed and the Pursuit of Democracy in Southern Public Education

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  • Description
  • Reviews
The decades between the Progressive Era of the 1920s and the civil rights struggles of the 1960s were a period of profound change in the lives of southern women. The life of Sarah Towles Reed (1882–1978) illuminates and parallels many of these transformations. Over the course of her long public life as a teacher, labor union lobbyist, and activist for the rights of public school teachers, Reed emerged as a groundbreaking leader, unafraid of taking on the educational and political hierarchies of the South. A Will of Her Own is the life story of a woman who had a lasting impact on her times as well as the story of the times themselves. Reed engaged the most significant concerns of the liberal reformers during the first half of the twentieth century—the struggle for economic independence for women and the fight for women’s rights, the effort to maintain intellectual freedom in the face of cold war paranoia, and the pursuit of racial justice. Her successes, as well as her failures, lend a personal perspective to these national trends. Her career also helps to clarify what it meant to be a southern liberal in the twentieth century and how the region’s peculiar circumstances shaped the politics and strategies of southern reformers.

[An] evocative study . . . Parr is to be commended for her in-depth portrayal of Sarah Towles Reed. The author has done much to capture the ambiance of the time in which Reed lived. . . . This biography, which includes an extensive bibliography, is thorough and balanced.

Louisiana History

Parr’s work places Sarah Towles Reed at the center of educational reform in New Orleans. This well-researched study will be a valuable resource for students of women’s history and urban history.

Journal of Southern History

About the Author/Editor

LESLIE GALE PARR is the Shawn M. Donnelley Professor of Nonprofit Communications at Loyola University New Orleans. She is also director of the Center for the Study of New Orleans that integrates social justice and analytical thinking to promote research into the city’s history, culture, and society.