16. February 14 – February 21

This week, I have been focusing on revising the previous draft of my second chapter (completed in November) in light of my new introduction and first chapter. One of the common critiques of this first completed chapter was that it attempted to do too much and in so doing could not truly achieve the narrative arc or argument that it was truly going for. With this primary concern in mind, I tried to redistribute much of the structural argument that focused on gendered norms and evolving institutions in the first chapter and introduction. Similarly, I think I will move the idea of racial uplift strategy/dialogue with Washington and DuBois into the third chapter. This will give me space to dedicate this middle chapter to an in-depth understanding of the actual activities, leadership, and values of the WCTU during this era. Even if this chapter is more descriptive than the more argumentative chapters that precede and follow it, I still think that adds real value to current literature since no such narrative yet exists.

Consequently, I think I will restructure the chapter so that it leads up to the Cotton Exhibition, permitting a transition into a third chapter that elevates King’s speech to the level of comprehensive uplift ideology on the same level as her more prominent male peers. This also allows for a slightly clearer chronological narrative, which has certainly been lacking in the work as a whole.

While this alone represents a significant shift for this early draft, I also want to find ways to incorporate my new research findings from Atlanta. As of right now, there isn’t an obvious connection but as I move forward with writing, this remains a key priority. In addition, I want to use the space made available by reallocating the other major arguments to chapters one and three for further exploring the scientific temperance movement. There’s a lot of primary source material to work with here from the white WCTU that can be interpreted in new ways from an African American movement standpoint. The work of Mary Hunt leading into the 1890s provides a useful starting point:

Mary H. Hunt, A History of the First Decade of the Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction in Schools and Colleges, of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (Boston: Washington Press, 1891).

Mary H. Hunt, The Pathfinder, or National Plans for Security Scientific Temperance Educaiton in Schools and Colleges (New York: AS Barnes and Co, 1885)

And as I prepare to start researching and writing my last chapter, I’ve begun reading Kevin Gaines’s Uplifting the Race – it’s not the fastest read, but I think it’s giving me a solid foundation for the ideological landscape of the period. However, with only two and a half weeks left, I have a lot of work left to do!