In America, the stereotypical southern woman is often seen as a frail, wilting belle whose husband keeps her in the kitchen all day long, stirring his grits. On the contrary, southern women are among the strongest in the world. Here is where you can learn all about them in the USA:
Fort Worth, Texas. The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame highlights the lifetime achievements of the tough, independent, influential women of the frontier. Their roster includes many accomplished ranchers, barrel racers, and rodeo stars, but also veterinarians, writers, chefs, and more. Among the first inductees were consummate horsewoman Connie Reeves and world champion bronc rider Jan Youren. Admission is $10.
Marion, Alabama. The Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame on the campus of Judson College similarly honors the phenomenal accomplishments of women connected to the state. Portraits, photos, and letters tell the stories of such icons as deaf-blind scholar Helen Keller, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, actress and star of Hitchcock’s Lifeboat Tallulah Bankhead, and many other Alabamans. Admission is free.
Knoxville, Tennessee. The Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial doesn’t reside in a museum, but rather proudly out in a public square. This life-size bronze was created by sculptor Alan LeQuire and features three prominent suffragettes from the state who helped solidify our right to vote: Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville, and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis. The bronze is a thing of beauty in itself, but you can also read about the fight to pass the 19th amendment to the constitution, which was finally complete in 1920.
There are also exciting plans to build a Southern Women’s History Museum in Georgia, so stay tuned…
Have you made your first trip to the American South?