Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Michael S. Mayer
Michael S. Mayer, Jody Pavilack, and Kyle Volk
Model Cities, urban renewal, suffrage, political history, U.S. history, U.S. South
University of Montana
Political History | Social History | United States History | Women's History
This professional paper is made up of two individual papers required for the M.A. degree in history. In my first paper, I discuss the radical suffragist Rebecca Felton. In 1897, Felton spoke to the Georgia Agricultural Society. Felton, a native Georgian who would later become the first female U.S. senator, gained prominence in the U.S. South as a politician, suffragist, and white supremacist. Her speech, “Woman on the Farm,” discussed the economic struggles of southern farmers. Felton’s speech also addressed a variety of controversial issues including agricultural economics on the farm, prison reform, and temperance. From the 1870s until her death in 1930, Felton used these specific issues to attack what she saw was the greatest threat to southern white women: southern white men.
While Felton lived from 1835-1930, this analysis primarily examines her life from the 1880s-1920s. These years take place during the Progressive Era to compare Felton’s activism with other reformers at the time. Felton adopted the issues of prison reform and temperance—while sometimes overlapping with both southern suffrage and progressive movements—as her own issue of reforming southern masculinity to protect white women. In conducting this research, the Rebecca Latimer Felton Papers available digitally through the University of Georgia Library were essential. These papers document her life from 1851-1930 and remain the most detailed regarding Felton’s life and career. These papers have been utilized in some form in any modern study on Felton. Throughout these papers are Felton’s correspondence, personal papers, drafts of speeches and sermons given, and articles written throughout her career.
In my second paper, I discuss the impact of the Model Cities program in Butte, Montana in the 1960s-70s. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the “Model Cities Act” into law. A part of Johnson’s Great Society, Model Cities was a national urban renewal program that sought to renew all aspects of society and included anything from the creation of parks and recreational facilities to increasing funding for senior citizens’ programs. My research examines the implementation of Model Cities in Butte, Montana. Whereas Model Cities was most visibly seen in metropolises like Detroit and Baltimore as a means to curtail riots and racial strife, the Butte program, in the words of the program’s director, James Murphy, wished to drag Butte into the twentieth century. I conclude that the program was partially successful in that it brought modern infrastructure and social programs to Butte but was unable to destroy Butte’s nostalgia of the past.
Stefanek, John C., "THE RADICALISM OF REBECCA FELTON: REFORMING SOUTHERN MASCULINTY and CREATING AND DESTROYING HISTORY: BUTTE, MONTANA’S MODEL CITY PROGRAM, 1968-1975" (2021). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11795.
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