Mississippi public schools underwent a dramatic change in 1970. After sixteen years of delays and token desegregation after U. S. Supreme Court orders to dismantle the state’s dual school system, a steady stream of legal action by Black parents and federal intervention toppled the state’s ninety-five-year-old “separate but equal” educational system in which White school children went to one school system and Black school children went to another one.
A study of the Girls’ Tomato Club movement in Mississippi offers a brief glimpse into the lives of a portion of the state’s female population at the turn of the century. From a very modest beginning, the movement became a part of the national 4-H Club network and was a predecessor to women’s home demonstration clubs which played a significant role in both the education and social life of rural women.
In August 1939, seventy-seven-year-old Susie V. Powell reminisced about rural life in the early 1900s. In 1910 Mississippi was overwhelmingly rural, she noted, with the majority of Mississippians living on the land or in small towns dependent upon agriculture. She explained that the care of the farm family, plus maintaining the house and garden, was generally the domain of the homemaker, who completed chores in a difficult work environment: few farms had running water, much less electricity, to ease the endless drudgery of housework.
- Previous page
- Page 3