Soldiers in Petticoats

—Appalachian Educators— Sophia Sawyer, Emily Prudden, Martha Berry

by Betty Jamerson Reed



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 11/4/2019

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 344
ISBN : 9781973637431
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 344
ISBN : 9781973637448
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 344
ISBN : 9781973637424

About the Book

Sophia Sawyer, Emily Prudden, and Martha Berry encountered sexism, prejudice, financial hardship, discrimination, challenging travel conditions, exclusion from the right to vote, and social complacency.

On one occasion two militiamen showed up at the school door and threatened to arrest the teacher if she continued teaching black children to read. Another instructor dealt with murder and mayhem, violence, loss of life, and racial hostility. And a third was shunned by her neighbors because she associated with poor mountaineers and “begged” to keep her school open. Their victories against overwhelming obstacles on behalf of struggling youth in the Southern Appalachian region, as well as in Oklahoma and Arkansas, led each into a deeper Christian life. With vision, audacity, and resolution these teachers enabled students to succeed.

Their accomplishments as educators and as Christians provide inspiration for today’s readers. Sawyer, Prudden, and Berry were viewed in their culture as weak. However, they battled ignorance, bias, superstition, and even dirt, as they effectively changed the lives of thousands of children and adults.

About the Author

A retired educator with an interest in Christian missions, Betty Jamerson Reed has rigorously researched the lives of three school founders. Reed spotlights Sophia Sawyer, a committed instructor of Cherokees; Emily Prudden, a master builder of fifteen schools; and Martha Berry, an untrained educator who turned ignorant boys and girls into active learners. The author, a graduate of Bryan College, reveals details of their battle to overcome barriers confronting the youth of Appalachia. Reed’s previous books identified the accomplishments of black and white educators in their crusade to overcome the limitations of a segregated education: The Brevard Rosenwald School: Black Education and Community Building in a Southern Appalachian Town, 1920-1966 (McFarland, 2004) and School Segregation in Western North Carolina: A History, 1860s-1970s (McFarland, 2011).