There is no way to tell the story of what happened on June 17, 2015, without talking about deeper histories of race, religion, and violence.
On the whole, black southern women forged a more intimate—and more active—relationship with the burgeoning world of beauty than did white southern women.
The image of the beautiful southern belle/lady was, by definition, racially exclusive, and many black women would have keenly felt its discriminatory power. There were occasions, however, when individuals and institutions attempted to claim the image for black women, to challenge its underlying racial assumptions and reframe its meaning. An interesting example is a photo spread that ran in Ebony magazine in 1971 entitled “Belles of the South” that featured young women from southern historically black colleges. The magazine said very explicitly that it wanted to prove that not all southern beauties were white—that black women were belles of the South, too.
A roundup of authors making news this week: Ed Blum and Glenn Eskew on the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham bombing, Hester Blum offers tips for the academic job hunter, Sandra Gutierrez has a Twitter chat about Latin Street Food, and Blain Roberts looks at the Miss America pageant.