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Rebecca Jo Plant Named as 2015 Recipient of Berkshire Conference of Women Historians' Article Prize

The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians has chosen OAH member Rebecca Jo Plant, along with her co-author Frances Clarke, as the 2015 recipients of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historian's Article Prize for their article "The Crowning Insult': Federal Segregation and the Gold Star Mother and Widow Pilgrimages of the Early 1930s," published in by the Journal of American History 102: 2 (September 2015). This prize is given annually for "an article in the fields of the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality".

In making the award, the Prize Committee, chaired by Dr. Jennifer Nelson (University of Redlands), noted in their citation:

Plant and Clarke highlight the decline in African American status in interwar years, focusing on the "largely forgotten ... discriminatory treatment" of mothers and widows of fallen United States soldiers. The federal government-sponsored segregated pilgrimages to Europe from 1930 to 1933 to visit the bodies of their fallen kin became part of an emotionally fraught debate over the limitations of citizenship rights of African Americans, claims of which had pivoted on notions of masculinity. Pressured to boycott the pilgrimages, the "so-called ordinary women" were "forced ...to weigh powerful appeals to racial solidarity against deeply felt personal commitments and desires," which often "signaled their independence from black leaders." The article prize committee believes that Plant and Clark compellingly give historical voice to African American women seldom heard from and whose perspectives "harbor[ed] dreams of a radically transformed society."

Posted: May 27, 2016
Tagged: Clio's Kudos