Merline Pitre

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MERLINE PITRE is a professor of History and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Behavioral Sciences at Texas Southern University. She received her Ph.D. degree from Temple University and has published a number of articles in scholarly and professional journals. Her most noted works are Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868 to 1898 (a book which was reissued in 1997 and used in a traveling exhibit on black legislators by the State Preservation Board in 1998), and In Struggle Against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900 to 1957 (Texas A&M University Press, 1999). Pitre has been the recipient of grants from the Fulbright Foundation, Texas Council for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is also a former member of the Texas Council for the Humanities. Currently, she is a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Texas Council for the Humanities and serves on the nominating board of the Organization of American Historians.


Publications

Black Women in Texas History


Though often consigned to the footnotes of history, African American women are a significant part of the rich, multiethnic heritage of Texas and the United States. Until now, though, their story has frequently been fragmented and underappreciated. Black Women in Texas History draws together a multi-author narrative of the experiences and impact of black American women from the time of slavery until the recent past. Each chapter, written by an expert on the era, provides a readable survey and overview of the lives and roles of black Texas women during that period. Each provides careful documentation, which, along with the thorough bibliography compiled by the volume editors, will provide a starting point for others wanting to build on this important topic. The authors address significant questions about population demographics, employment patterns, family and social dimensions, legal and political rights, and individual accomplishments. They look not only at how African American women have been shaped by the larger culture but also at how these women have, in turn, affected the culture and history of Texas. This work situates African American women within the context of their times and offers a due appreciation and analysis of their lives and accomplishments. Black Women in Texas History is an important addition to history and sociology curriculums as well as black studies and women’s studies programs. It will provide for interested students, scholars, and general readers a comprehensive survey of the crucial role these women played in shaping the history of the Lone Star State.
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Southern Black Women in the Modern Civil Rights Movement


Throughout the South, black women were crucial to the Civil Rights Movement, serving as grassroots and organizational leaders. They protested, participated, sat in, mobilized, created, energized, led particular efforts, and served as bridge builders to the rest of the community. Ignored at the time by white politicians and the media alike, with few exceptions they worked behind the scenes to effect the changes all in the movement sought. Until relatively recently, historians, too, have largely ignored their efforts.

Although African American women mobilized all across Dixie, their particular strategies took different forms in different states, just as the opposition they faced from white segregationists took different shapes. Studies of what happened at the state and local levels are critical not only because of what black women accomplished, but also because their activism, leadership, and courage demonstrated the militancy needed for a mass movement.

In this volume, scholars address similarities and variations by providing case studies of the individual states during the 1950s and 1960s, laying the groundwork for more synthetic analyses of the circumstances, factors, and strategies used by black women in the former Confederate states to destroy the system of segregation in this country.

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