Generations Women in the South (1977)

Includes articles on Paralyzed: A True Story by Lee Smith, Photographic Portrait of Southern Women, On Women's Autobiography by Lillian Smith, Women and Lynching, In Search of Our Mother's Gardens by Alice Walker, and more.

Excerpt from the Introduction:

The time has come, Lillian Smith wrote in 1962, for women to risk the "great and daring creative act" of discovering and articulating their own identity. Three years later, Southern women of a younger generation, fortified by the skills and self-respect earned in the black civil-rights movement, issued the first manifesto of a new feminism. Their words landed with explosive force, setting off cultural reverberations which have shaken the lives of men and women alike.

A little more than a decade after that, this issue of Southern Exposure began to take form. Its creation has taken us back into history and deep into the meaning of our own lives. As we set out to understand the situation of Southern women, we found ourselves "in search of our mothers' gardens." We found ourselves naming an experience we share across the generations. "So many of the stories that I write," Alice Walker discovered, "are my mother's stories." To speak in our own voices, we had first to give expression to a "promise song" that has been there all along.


  • 2 Letters from our Readers
  • 3 Blood Knowledge / poem by Joy Elvey Lamm
  • 4 The Fourth Generation of Proud Shoes
  • 10 Women's Consciousness and the Southern Black Movement, by Sara Evans
  • 14 "We Started from Different Ends of the Spectrum"
  • 19 "If It was Anything for Justice"
  • 23 The True Southern Belle / poem by Virginia Rudder
  • 24 Quilting Women: "Rather Quilt than Eat, Almost"
  • 29 Magnolias Grow in Dirt
  • 34 Mountain Women /poems
  • 36 Paralyzed: A True Story
  • 42 Kalanchoe Pinnata /poem
  • 43 Lillian Smith: Reflections on Race and Sex
  • 48 On Women's Autobiography
  • 50 A Second Open Letter to Southern White Women
  • 53 Women and Lynching
  • 55 Rape Law: A Case Study
  • 58 Photographic Portrait of Southern Women
  • 60 In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens
  • 65 That Civilizing Spirit
  • 70 The Southern Summer School for Women Workers
  • 76 "It's Something Inside You"
  • 82 Right to Life: The Southern Strategy
  • 86 The Lonesomes Ain't No Spring Picnic
  • 91 Grandmother.. .and Afterplay I poems by Lee Robinson
  • 92 Hazel and Alice: Custom Made Woman Blues
  • 95 Varieties of Southern Women
  • 98 Women in the South: A Bibliography
  • 104 Book Reviews
  • 111 Lest We Forget /poem by Ann Deagon
  • 113 Potter / poem by Jeanie Thompson
  • 115 Judgment /poem by Virginia Rudder
  • 116 Pictures from A Wedding Book /poem by Lee M. Robinson

Volume and Number: 
Vol. 9, No. 4

Since 1973 Southern Exposure has gained critical praise for its thorough investigations, unsentimental portraits of Southern life, and public interest reporting.