Morgan, Francesca (Francesca Constance Morgan)
Morgan, Francesca (Francesca Constance Morgan)
Office—Department of History, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago, IL 60625. E-mail—f-morg[email protected]
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, archival technician, 1990-91; Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, visiting lecturer, 1998; University of North Texas, Denton, assistant professor of history, 1998-2002; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, departmental associate, 2002-06; Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, visiting lecturer, 2003-06, assistant professor of history, 2006—.
American Historical Association, American Studies Association, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Mormon History Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, Southern Association of Women's Historians.
Research grants from Harvard University, 1989, State Historical Society of Iowa/Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, 1994-95, (three) University of North Texas, 1998-2001; Professing Women Award (student-nominated), University of North Texas, 1999; Massachusetts Historical Society grant, 2006-07.
Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.
Contributor to journals, including Annals of Iowa; reviewer for journals, including Journal of American History, Journal of American Ethnic History, and Gender and History.
Francesca Morgan is an educator and historian whose area of interest is the history of the United States, particularly the history of women and gender. Her Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America focuses primarily on four women's groups, the establishment of which during the 1880s and 1890s began a new era for women, according to the author. Before this time women's groups had been associated with wars and the support of the troops. The four groups founded during peacetime played a new patriotic role. In order to belong to either the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a woman had to have been a descendent of a veteran. The Women's Relief Association (WRA) began as an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, the association of the Union Army veterans, and it was racially integrated. The National Association of Colored Women (NACW) was an association of black women.
The women of these groups were instrumental in promoting patriotism, especially within the educational system. They established Memorial Day and began the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily. They were generally uninterested in power for themselves, but they celebrated the accomplishments of both their foremothers and forefathers and were instrumental in the preservation of monuments and historic places. Both white and black women were told that their purpose was reproduction, which was also the position of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Morgan writes that the national unity of the DAR, UDC, and even the WRA was race-based. In reviewing the book for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Cristina R. Nelson wrote: "The NACW did not acquiesce in this white-defined nationalism but contributed a vital counterpoint to it. Gendered in its outlook and also shaped by notions of racial uplift and black manhood, the NACW espoused its own brand of patriotism, according to Morgan. For instance, evoking the preservation of George Washington's residence by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, it referred to its most important historic preservation project, the restoration of Frederick Douglass's home, Cedar Hill, as ‘the Black Mount Vernon.’"
White clubwomen stepped up their campaigns during the Spanish-American War, while black women became more active during World War I, opposing the exclusion of black men from the military and black nurses from Red Cross duty, which they said weakened black nationalism. With the Red Scare, the nationalist women's movement was rejuvenated, but the DAR became more rightist in the 1920s, seeing the formation of new groups, including the National Council of Women, as too radical. Black women in particular began to focus their efforts on reforms. Mary McLeod Bethune, president of the NACW, supported the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921, which provided funds for maternal and child health and welfare. Black women continued to protest racism alongside black men, but it was the latter that became the most visible during the Civil Rights movement, detracting from the advances made by black women until that time.
Morgan ends her study in the 1930s, with the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt at the time of the Great Depression. Historian reviewer Jennifer Ritterhouse concluded that Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America "is a major contribution to scholarship on this period, as is her comparative study of several important women's organizations…. By demonstrating the ways that women, who could not even vote, shaped definitions of the American nation, Morgan's book also advances the rewriting of U.S. history to incorporate gender analysis."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 2006, Rebecca Edwards, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, p. 492.
Historian, summer, 2007, Jennifer Ritterhouse, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, p. 346.
Journal of American History, September, 2006, Sandra D. Harmon, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, p. 556.
Journal of Social History, summer, 2007, Jane Turner Censer, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, p. 1045.
Journal of Southern History, February, 2007, Julie Des Jardins, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America, p. 210.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (February 10, 2008), Cristina R. Nelson, review of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America.
Northern Illinois University Web site,http://www.neiu.edu/ (February 10, 2008), brief biography of Francesca Morgan.