Women's history

Hazel Brannon Smith: Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Lesson Plan


Hazel Brannon Smith was a southern belle whose life was anything but typical compared to the women of her time. Upon graduation from college, she relocated from Alabama to Holmes County, Mississippi, where she became the owner of two local newspapers. While faced with great resistance and pressure from segregationists, she courageously reported the news during a turbulent time in the history of the state and nation.

Hazel Brannon Smith: Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

Theme and Time Period

In May 1964 Hazel Brannon Smith, editor and publisher of the Lexington Advertiser, won a Pulitzer Prize for “steadfast adherence to her editorial duties in the face of great pressure and opposition” from the Holmes County Citizens’ Council, which had formed in 1954, and from its segregationist supporters. The Lexington Advertiser served the small community of Lexington, Mississippi, the county seat of Holmes County.

Girls’ Tomato Clubs in Mississippi: A “Glimpse” Into Women’s History Lesson Plan


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.

Betsy Love and the Mississippi Married Women's Property Act of 1839 Lesson Plan


With every social and cultural change in our American society there are individuals and events that serve as catalysts for these circumstances. Betsy Love is certainly a woman who helped bring change not only to Mississippi, but also to our nation. Her role in the lawsuit Fisher v. Allen served as a precedent in establishing the protection of property that belonged to married women. It was Love’s Chickasaw heritage and the tribal law of her culture that helped change the Mississippi state law concerning the property of married women.

Women’s Work Relief in the Great Depression

Theme and Time Period

Mississippian Ellen Sullivan Woodward went to Washington in August 1933 to be the federal director of work relief for women, a job that was considered to be the second most important to which President Franklin Roosevelt appointed a woman. Only Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins ranked higher.

Woodward would work in the nation’s capital for the next 20 years. Economic security for women would remain her focus when she became a member of the Social Security Board in 1938 and beyond, when, after World War II, she directed a division of the Federal Security Agency.

Girls’ Tomato Clubs in Mississippi, 1911-1915

Theme and Time Period

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.

The Equal Rights Amendment and Mississippi

Theme and Time Period

Definitions for Equal Rights Amendment

  1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
  2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article
  3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

—full text, the Equal Rights Amendment

Fannie Lou Hamer: Civil Rights Activist

Theme and Time Period

When young civil rights workers arrived in Ruleville in the Mississippi Delta in 1962, they were looking for local Black people who could help convince their neighbors to register to vote. They found forty-four-year-old Fannie Lou Hamer.

Ida B. Wells: A Courageous Voice for Civil Rights

Theme and Time Period

Ida Bell Wells (1862-1931), one of the most important civil rights advocates of the 19th century, was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, just before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. She was the first child of James Wells, an apprentice carpenter, and Elizabeth Warrenton, a cook.