The twentieth century was a time of great social change in America. One example of remarkable change was in the role of women in American society. Across the country, and particularly in the South, traditional ideas defined acceptable roles and behavior for women. However, some women challenged these norms by championing suffrage and civil rights, pursuing higher education, and pursuing professional careers. These trailblazers contested accepted views and paved the way for continuing change in women’s roles in society.
This site uses oral histories available in the Southern Oral History Program to trace ways in which ideas about women’s abilities and social roles changed in the South over the course of the twentieth century. This site represents just a portion of the diverse history of Southern Women Trailblazers. Listen as these accomplished women recall the opportunities, challenges, changes, and triumphs they experienced as trailblazers in academic and professional careers.