For National Women’s History Month, University of Alabama Press presents these titles centering the lives and perspectives of women at 40% off through the end of March.
Browse these histories, memoirs, and biographies by and about women—female service members commemorating the Great War, groundbreaking civil-rights lawyer and federal judge Constance Baker Motley, young witnesses to the 1965 struggle in Selma, and more.
Use code NWHM22 at checkout when you order through our website and get 40% off.
Constance Baker Motley was an African American woman; the daughter of immigrants from Nevis, British West Indies; a wife; and a mother who became a pioneer and trailblazer in the legal profession. She broke down barriers, overcame gender constraints, and operated outside the boundaries placed on black women by society and the civil rights movement. In Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice under Law, Gary L. Ford Jr. explores the key role Motley played in the legal fight to desegregate public schools as well as colleges, universities, housing, transportation, lunch counters, museums, libraries, parks, and other public accommodations.
Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King by Edythe Scott Bagley with Joe Hilley
Coretta Scott King—noted author, human rights activist, and wife and partner of famed Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.—grew up in the rural Alabama Black Belt with her older sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Bagley chronicles the sisters’ early education together at the Crossroads School and later at the progressive Lincoln School in Marion. She describes Coretta’s burgeoning talent for singing and her devotion to musical studies, and the sisters’ experiences matriculating at Antioch College, an all-white college far from the rural South. Bagley provides vivid insights into Coretta’s early passion for racial and economic justice, which lead to her involvement in the Peace Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Coretta’s devotion to activism, motherhood, and the movement led by her husband, and her courageous assumption of the legacy left in the wake of King’s untimely assassination, are wonderfully detailed in this intimate biography.
Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917–1945 by Allison S. Finkelstein
In Forgotten Veterans, Invisible Memorials: How American Women Commemorated the Great War, 1917–1945 Allison S. Finkelstein argues that American women activists considered their own community service and veteran advocacy to be forms of commemoration just as significant and effective as other, more traditional forms of commemoration such as memorials. Finkelstein employs the term “veteranism” to describe these women’s overarching philosophy that supporting, aiding, and caring for those who served needed to be a chief concern of American citizens, civic groups, and the government in the war’s aftermath. However, these women did not express their views solely through their support for veterans of a military service narrowly defined as a group predominantly composed of men and just a few women. Rather, they defined anyone who served or sacrificed during the war, including women like themselves, as veterans.
Maria Martin’s World: Art and Science, Faith and Family in Audubon’s America by Debra J. Lindsay
Maria Martin (1796–1863) was an evangelical Lutheran from Charleston, South Carolina, who became an accomplished painter within months of meeting John James Audubon. Martin met Audubon through her brother-in-law, Reverend John Bachman, who befriended Audubon while passing through Charleston on route to Florida where he expected to find new avian species. Martin was an amateur artist, but by the time Audubon left, she had familiarized herself with his style of drawing. Six months after their initial meeting, her background botanicals were deemed good enough to embellish Audubon’s exquisite bird paintings. Maria Martin’s World is a heavily illustrated volume examining how Maria Martin learned to paint aesthetically beautiful botanicals with exacting accuracy. Drawing on deep research into archival documents and family-held artifacts, Debra Lindsay brings Maria Martin out from behind the curtain of obscurity and disinformation that has previously shrouded her and places her centrally in her own time and milieu.
The first comprehensive history of the oldest national religious Jewish women’s organization in the United States, Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893-1993 explores the council’s approach to immigrant aid, relationships between German and Eastern European Jews, and the power struggle between the Reform movement and more traditional interpretations of Judaism.
Good Maya Women: Migration and Revitalization of Clothing and Language in Highland Guatemala analyzes how Indigenous women’s migration contributes to women’s empowerment in their home communities in Guatemala. This decolonial ethnographic analysis of Kaqchikel Maya women’s linguistic and cultural activism demonstrates that marginalized people can and do experience empowerment and hope for the future of their communities, even while living under oppressive neoliberal regimes. Joyce N. Bennett contests dominant frameworks of affect theory holding that marginalized peoples never truly experience unrestricted hope or empowerment, and she contributes new understandings of the intimate connections between Indigenous women, migration, and language and clothing revitalization.
Borders of Visibility: Haitian Migrant Women and the Dominican Nation-State by Jennifer L. Shoaff
Borders of Visibility offers extremely timely insight into the Dominican Republic’s racist treatment of Haitian descendants within its borders. Jennifer L. Shoaff employs multisited feminist research to focus on the geographies of power that intersect to inform the opportunities and constraints that migrant women must navigate to labor and live within a context that largely denies their human rights, access to citizenship, and a sense of security and belonging.
Home without Walls: Southern Baptist Women and Social Reform in the Progressive Era by Carol Crawford Holcomb
The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), founded in 1888, carved out a uniquely feminine space within the Southern Baptist Convention during the tumultuous years of the Progressive Era when American theologians were formulating the social gospel. These women represented the Southern Baptist elite and as such had the time to read, write, and discuss ideas with other Southern progressives. They rubbed shoulders with more progressive Methodist and Presbyterian women in clubs and ecumenical missionary meetings. Baptist women studied the missionary publications of these other denominations and adopted ideas for a Southern Baptist audience. In Home without Walls: Southern Baptist Women and Social Reform in the Progressive Era, Carol Crawford Holcomb uncovers ample evidence that WMU leaders, aware of the social gospel and sympathetic to social reform, appropriated the tools of social work and social service to carry out their missionary work.
Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Sheyann Webb, Rachel West Nelson, and Frank Sikora
Sheyann Webb was eight years old and Rachel West was nine when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Selma, Alabama, on January 2, 1965. He came to organize non-violent demonstrations against discriminatory voting laws. Selma, Lord, Selma is their firsthand account of the events from that turbulent winter of 1965–events that changed not only the lives of these two little girls but the lives of all Alabamians and all Americans. From 1975 to 1979, award-winning journalist Frank Sikora conducted interviews with Webb and West, weaving their recollections into this luminous story of fear and courage, struggle and redemption that readers will discover is Selma, Lord, Selma.
Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering by Judith Hillman Paterson
Judith Paterson was just nine years old in 1946 when her mother died of a virulent combination of alcoholism and mental illness at the age of 31. Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering is Paterson’s harrowing account of the memories of her mother, told with eloquence and understanding. Set largely in Montgomery, Alabama, the story plays out against a backdrop of relatives troubled almost as much by southern conflicts over race and class as by the fallout from a long family history of drinking, denial, and mental illness.
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White is an arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity in the American South, rendered in stunning illustrations by the author, Lila Quintero Weaver. In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations.
All the Lost Girls: Confessions of a Southern Daughter by Patricia Foster
Patricia Foster’s lyrical yet often painful memoir explores the life of a white middle-class girl who grew up in rural south Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, a time and place that did not tolerate deviation from traditional gender roles. Her mother raised Foster and her sister as “honorary boys,” girls with the ambition of men but the temperament of women. An unhappy, intelligent woman who kept a heartbreaking secret from everyone close to her, Foster’s mother was driven by a repressed rage that fed her obsession for middle-class respectability. By the time Foster reached age fifteen, her efforts to reconcile the contradictory expectations that she be at once ambitious and restrained had left her nervous and needy inside even while she tried to cultivate the appearance of the model student, sister, and daughter. It was only a psychological and physical breakdown that helped her to realize that she couldn’t save her driven, complicated mother and must struggle instead for both understanding and autonomy.