Book Series Co-Edited by Southeast Faculty Member Adds Latest Edition on Social Justice Crusader


The next edition in a book series titled “Women in American Political History,” whose lead co-editor is Dr. Pam Parry, chair of the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University, recently was published by Rowman & Littlefield.

“Political Pioneer of the Press: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Her Transnational Crusade for Social Justice” is co-edited by Lori Amber Roessner and Jodi Rightler-McDaniels, and it is the latest volume in the series that Parry co-edits.

Known as a daring anti-lynching crusader, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) worked tirelessly throughout her life as a political advocate for the rights of women, minorities and the working class. Despite her significance, until the 1970s, Wells-Barnett’s life, career and legacy were relegated to the footnotes of history. Since then, her daughter, biographers and historians have begun to define her life within the context of the social, cultural and political culture of the 19th and 20th centuries. This volume extends discussions cultivated during the last five decades and provides insight into the communication strategies the political advocate employed during her life as a social justice crusader.

Scholars offer their thoughts on the full range of communication techniques—from lecture circuits and public relations campaigns to investigative and advocacy journalism—that Wells-Barnett used to combat racism and sexism and to promote social equity; her dual career as a journalist and political agitator; her advocacy efforts on an international, national and local level; her own failed political ambitions; her role as a bridge and participant in key social movements of the 19th and 20th centuries; her legacy in American culture; and her potential to serve as a prism through which others could be educated on how to address oppression in the 21st century.

The series, “Women in American Political History,” focuses on influential women throughout the history of American politics. From the colonial period through the founding up to the present, women often have played significant and meaningful roles in politics, both directly and indirectly. Many of their contributions have been overlooked. This interdisciplinary series advances dialogue on the role of women in politics in America and highlights their contributions, including women who were elected and appointed to office and those who have wielded political power behind the scenes, such as first ladies, journalists, activists and public relations practitioners.

Other titles in the series have included “Press Portrayals of Women Politicians, 1870s-2000s: From ‘Lunatic’ Woodhull to ‘Polarizing’ Palin,” “Ruby A. Black: Eleanor Roosevelt, Puerto Rico, and Political Journalism in Washington,” “Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s” and “Gendered Politics: Campaign Strategies of California Women Candidates, 1912-1970.”

Parry says the series began taking shape after she published her first academic book and her acquisitions editor invited her to edit a book series. While the editor did not have a particular topic in mind, he allowed Parry to create it based on her interests. Having just completed her doctorate in mass communication with an emphasis in media history and realizing that women are neglected in American political history, she decided to consider the series on “Women in American Political History.”

“I have an interest in history and politics,” she said. “Once I discovered how much women had been given short shrift, I wanted to write about women in American political history. I suggested this topic, and my acquisitions editor helped me refine it.”

Parry invited Dr. Dave Davies of the University of Southern Mississippi to co-edit the series, as he had been her dissertation director. Next, they invited six scholars on women’s studies or media history to serve on their editorial board. As co-editor of the series, Parry’s responsibilities are to find the authors and their works, and to edit their manuscripts for books in the series.

The quality of the manuscripts and the credentials of the authors are considered in selecting the books.

Two more publications are currently under contract, including another edition by Parry titled, “Eisenhower and Gender: Changing the Face of Politics,” set to be published in June 2019. Publication of the next book, “Birddogs and Tough Old Broads: Women Journalists Cover the Mississippi State Capitol, 1972-1992” by Dr. Pete Smith is expected to be published in 2020.