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From the Southern Oral History Program, this is Press Record: a podcast about the joys and challenges of learning history by talking to those who lived it.

Episode 10: Women and Politics in the South

We’re back at Press Record featuring a discussion of oral history and women in politics in the South

This past election season was historic; it was the first time a major party has nominated a female candidate for President and the second time in recent history when a woman has launched a Presidential campaign. In the wake of this moment, we present a podcast focusing on Southern women in politics.From fighting for the ballot to running for office, Southern women have been on the frontlines of many flash-points in women’s political history. Oral histories offer a particularly rich way to understand these experiences.

Eva Clayton’s campaign lapel pin

In this episode, we’ll first hear from field scholar Taylor Livingston about women and the fight for suffrage. Included in this segment is a captivating story about South Carolina suffragist named Eulalie Salley. Next, Carol and Rachel discuss clips from the SOHP archives that illuminate why women decided to run for office in the South. Interviewees featured include Grace Towns Hamilton, the first African American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly, Isabella Cannon, the first woman mayor of Raleigh, and Eva Clayton, the first African American woman to represent North Carolina in Congress. Finally, you’ll hear a Carolina Women’s Center forum on women and politics.

Find more information on Press Record’s new Facebook page. The SOHP’s twitter page is here. Feel free to tweet your feedback or share your thoughts on oral history and Charlotte or email your comments, questions, or ideas to us at!

You can listen to the episode below through SoundCloud and please subscribe and rate us on iTunes here!

Find full interviews and transcripts below:

Eulalie Salley

Eulalie Salley pictured second from right, with then governor of South Carolina. Image courtesy of the Edgewood Project.

Viola Turner

courtesy of the Pauli Murray Project

Isabella Cannon

image courtesy of Will and Deni media
Isabella Cannon was often called a marshmallow by her political opponents.

Eva Clayton

courtsey of the US House of Representatives History, Art, and Archives

Grace Towns Hamilton

courtesy of the Atlanta History Center

Additional Resources:

Taylor’s South Writ Large article

Information on Eulalie Salley and her home

US House of Representatives page on Eva Clayton

Elon University’s biography of Isabella Cannon

Georgia Encylcopedia article on Grace Towns Hamilton

Carolina Women’s Center

Andrea Benjamin’s website

Laila Nur’s Music


Episode 1: Silence Speaks Volumes

Episode 2: Back Ways

Episode 3: Feminism and Oral History

Episode 4: LGBTQ Southern Oral History and Activism

Episode 5: Pet Sounds

Episode 6: Sweet Emotion

Episode 7: Oral History for Movement Building

Episode 8: Voices From Charlotte

Episode 9: Veterans and Oral History

Episode 10: Women and Politics in the South

Episode 11: Oral History and the ERA

Episode 12: Revisiting “Back Ways”

Episode 13: New Roots/ Nuevas Raíces