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Suzanne Wolff Post

March 25, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history

If I have found out anything about Suzy Post over the course of our research this semester, to be quite frank, it is that she has one hell of a spirit.  Up to this point, much of the information we have acquired has been through her oral history interviews. Despite her age in some of the interviews, her spunk remains strong.

Post spent a life dedicated to activism. She was a prominent figure in the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union.  She was a strong supporter of school desegregation in Louisville and open housing. She was also strongly involved in the anti-war movement.

She was raised in the Louisville Jewish community. From an early age, she was exposed to the horrors of World War II.   In a 2009 interview she describes seeing a connection in the genocide and the treatment of African Americans in the U.S.*

Her feminist ideology stems from the treatment she experienced throughout her life because of her gender.  She describes in detail a situation in which she realized how blatantly men expected her to remain silent, and how dramatically that encouraged her to do the absolute opposite.**

Overall, research on Post has gone well, and we have been almost swamped with good information to use and organize.  Even more exciting in regard to our research is that Post has agreed to meet with us!!! Needless to say we are thrilled about the opportunity to speak with this remarkable woman.

~~~

* Timothy, Patrick McCarthy. 2009. Interview with Suzy Post. Journal for the Study of Radicalism 3, (1): 145-173. http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/213913050?accountid=11836 (accessed March 3, 2013).

**”20B1 Suzy Post.” Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. Kentucky Historical Society. 205.204.134.47/civil_rights_mvt/util.aspx?p=1&pid=14969 (accessed January 30, 2013).

See also:
“Suzy Post,” Wikipedia. January 13, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Post. Accessed March 27, 2013.

“Hall of Fame 2007 – Suzy Post.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. http://kchr.ky.gov/hof/halloffame2007.htm?&pageOrder=0&selectedPic=10 (accessed January 30, 2013).

by Measha

Lillian H. South

December 5, 2010 in 1960s-1970s

Lillian H. South, bacteriologistLillian H. South on this web (Jan. 31, 1879-Sept. 13, 1966) was born in Warren County, Kentucky. She studied to be a registered nurse at the Nurses Training School of the Central Hospital in Patterson, New Jersey, and continued in her education to become a bacteriologist.

She accomplished such great things and also overcame barriers for women during this time. She was credited with the elimination of diseases such a hookworms [1]. She also carried out inoculation campaigns against scarlet fever, malaria, small pox, typhoid, and leprosy [1]. Lillian was also the state bacteriologist at state board of health Louisville. She would go on to held this position for 40 years [2]. She was very involved in state and national organizations. South was an active member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Kentucky Medical Association, Jefferson County Medical Society, and other associations [2].

Although, Smith did not have to overcome racial barriers, she had to fight the barrier of being a women in a male dominated world in the early 1920s. She would go on to do some amazing things. Women like her set the path for other women to be able to help make changes in the medical field.

1. http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/fcs1/fcs1323/fcs1323.pdf

2. “Dr. Lillian Harold South,” Warren County Medical Society. Accessed 5 December 2010. http://www.warrencountymedicalsociety.org/Lillian%20South.htm

by Mary

Taking another look at influential women in Kentucky: Gloria Jean Watkins (bell hooks)

November 1, 2010 in 1960s-1970s, Economic history, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

bell hooksGloria Jean Watkins better known as bell hooks (her pen name) is a very influential woman that has come from Kentucky.  She has written multiple books that bring light the injustice that women go through in our patriarchal society.  Some of her books are even used at the University of Kentucky in gender study classes.  Watkins is a social activist that ties in race and gender to get her message out about how women are treated as lesser individuals than men.  

Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1952 to a working class African American family.  Watkins grew up in segregated schools but in high school was exposed to the integration of black and white schools in her region.  She has written about her accounts and the difficulty of going from an all black school to an integrated school where most of the children and teachers were white.  This is where she first saw the role that gender and race played into our society.

Her book Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism explores the historical impact of sexism and racism on black women.  She has published 30 books that explore the ideas of feminism, race, class and gender.  She discusses how we learn our gender roles from an early age so we are accustomed to women being treated unfairly and not equal to men.  Watkins has taught at Yale, but she now works for Berea College in Kentucky as Distinguished Professor in residence, she has expressed that she wanted to return to her home of Kentucky.


She speaks of how loving communities (see for example her articles in Shambhala Sun) can help to overcome the inequalities that race and gender have put into our society.  I think that she should be considered an influential woman of Kentucky because she puts limelight on the unfair treatment of women in society and incorporates race with these injustices.  Although it does not really have to do with the history of Kentucky she has everything to do with the treatment of women in history and how it affects women today in our patriarchal society.

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