Despite their prevailing image and stereotype, southern women have often gone "beyond convention," living on their own terms within a society that revered tradition and compliance. Spanning the colonial era to the mid-twentieth century, Beyond Image and Convention documents women from widely varied social, economic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds who acted outside the accepted gender boundaries of their day.
Reflecting the quality and breadth of current scholarship in the field of southern women's history, this collection of essays relies upon previously untapped documentary evidence and, in the process, crafts provocative new interpretations of our collective past. The essays explore the historical experience of black and white southern women across nearly three centuries, including a white woman's sexual misconduct in colonial North Carolina, one slave woman's successful attempt to carve out an autonomous existence in southwestern Virginia, an ex-slave's fight for freedom in postbellum Missouri, and the civil rights activism of two white southern women—Sarah Patton Boyle of Virginia and Alice Norwood Spearman of South Carolina.
Breaking new ground in the study of women's history, Beyond Image and Convention provides valuable insights for both specialists and general readers.