Cover for HEWITT: Southern Discomfort: Women's Activism in Tampa, Florida, 1880s-1920s. Click for larger image

Southern Discomfort

Women's Activism in Tampa, Florida, 1880s-1920s
Awards and Recognition:

Julia Cherry Spruill Prize, Southern Association for Women Historians, 2002

A historical examination of multiracial women’s activism in the cigar factories of Tampa Florida

Vitally linked to the Caribbean and southern Europe as well as to the Confederacy, the Cigar City of Tampa, Florida, never fit comfortably into the biracial mold of the New South. In Southern Discomfort, highly regarded historian Nancy A. Hewitt explores the interactions among distinct groups of women--native-born white, African American, Cuban and Italian immigrant women--that shaped women's activism in this vibrant, multiethnic city.

Southern Discomfort emphasizes the process by which women forged and reformulated their activist identities from Reconstruction through the U.S. declaration of war against Spain in April 1898, the industrywide cigar strike of 1901, and the emergence of progressive reform and labor militancy. This masterful volume also recasts our understanding of southern history by demonstrating how Tampa's triracial networks alternately challenged and reinscribed the South's biracial social and political order.

"Southern Discomfort is a splendid piece of work: rich in detail, soundly reasoned, and provocative in its implications for social historians' debates about identity. Hewitt's lucid, engaging prose makes the book a particularly good one for use in undergraduate classrooms, but specialists will also find it a most valuable read."--Journal of American History

"Hewitt focuses upon post-Reconstruction Tampa, Florida, home to diverse peoples who arrived from distant points on the globe, especially southern Europe and the Caribbean. . . . An ethnic mixture of women spawned activism in revolutionary clubs and organizations, 'woven by African American, Latin, and Anglo women who sought to make sense and create order out of the upheavals of their time.' . . . Hewitt's book revises previous notions about the biracialism of Jim Crow. . . . Outstanding scholarship."--Choice

"Enriches our understanding of women and gender in urban history through [the] astute analys[is] of women as key public actors and cultural symbols in the emerging city of Tampa."--Urban History

Nancy A. Hewitt, a professor of history at Rutgers University, is the author of Women's Activism and Social Change: Rochester, New York, 1822-1872, coeditor of Visible Women: New Essays on American Activism, and editor of A Companion to American Women’s History.

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