Austin Peay State University’s Minoa Uffelman to give Tennessee Historical Society talk on Daughters of the Confederacy

Austin Peay State University professor Minoa Uffelman. (APSU)
APSU professor Minoa Uffelman

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a small group of Southern women decided it was time to enrich their communities. They commissioned works of art for public memorials, cared for aging veterans, built dormitories, funded scholarships, and helped redefine the subjects taught in public schools.

Swept up by the changes during the Progressive Era, these women wanted to improve the South. But, as historians are now pointing out, their supposedly noble intentions only applied to one part of society – the region’s white citizens. Those women were members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).
 
“While modern Americans do not think of the UDC and progressivism, the UDC was active in what they considered reform and improving the South,” Dr. Minoa Uffelman, Austin Peay State University (APSU) professor of history, said. “The reforms excluded African Americans because the UDC wanted to maintain white supremacy.”

On Tuesday, January 18th at 5:00pm she’ll deliver a free online talk, “The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Confederate Progressivism,” as part of the Tennessee Historical Society’s special virtual series, Tennessee 101: Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era, Part 2.” New recorded talks appear on the society’s website every Tuesday through February 22nd.

Members of the Daughters of the Confederacy in Jackson, Tennessee.
Members of the Daughters of the Confederacy in Jackson, Tennessee.

In 2013, Uffelman contributed an essay to a groundbreaking new book, “Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era: Toward the Public Sphere in the New South.” The book, a collection of scholarly works examining women’s reform efforts in Tennessee from 1890-1930, highlighted the historic but often overlooked work of women in this state. 


Last fall, Uffelman reunited with her collaborators on the book for a special virtual series, “Tennessee 101: Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era, Part 1.” In January, the Tennessee Historical Society launched part two of the popular online series. The scholars presenting as part of this new series have all contributed articles to volume two of “Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era: Toward the Public Sphere in the New South,” which will be released by the University of Tennessee Press later this year.

For information on the series, along with a schedule of upcoming lectures, visit the historical society’s Tennessee 101: Progressive Era website.