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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Southern women prove their worth in the workforce

Southern women were reluctant to push for suffrage, Boyd believes, because they were rather conservative and were "placed on a pedestal." But in a postwar environment, first after the Civil War and then after World War I, women's capacity for shouldering responsibility became evident and the franchise followed.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Well, I know that the women up here were not really too eager to push in this direction although they favored the franchise of women and they would assume responsibility when it came. That is, the leadership. I think the rest of the women, were just lethargic and maybe disinterested.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is probably the case throughout the United States. You had a small handful of leaders that pushed hard for this.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes, I think so. And I don't think the South was the area that really put it across at all, because women were rather conservative. This was where they were placed on a pedestal and kept there a longer period of time than elsewhere. Although, southern women during the Civil War had to assume heavy responsibilities and be mother and father both, to their families.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Probably to some extent during World War I too, yes.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
I think, in the nation as a whole, that women assumed such an important role in World War I that the franchise was a reward for their community service and their national service. I don't think it could have been delayed much longer after women had played such a significant role in the War. Keeping the home fires burning and doing the necessary work for the tro ps that could be done at home and having to take over more male roles, more vocational and occupational positions that men previously had, proved their ability and equality.