The Columbus and Lowndes County Historical Society will hold its annual meeting Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. at the Stephen D. Lee Home, 316 Seventh St. N. Dr. Erin Kempker will present the program “The Union, the War and Elvira Scott: One Woman’s Experience on the Missouri-Kansas Border during the Civil War.”
The program will detail the wartime experience of Elvira Scott in Saline County, Missouri. Western Missouri was a perilous place even before the war began. Since at least 1856, guerilla forces for pro-slavery Missouri and anti-slavery Kansas actively pursued one another across the border exacting revenge in gruesome assaults. In 1861, Union forces tried to get a handle on the border situation, but they found “sesech” civilians, especially women like Elvira Scott, difficult to control. When arrested for “treasonable language” in 1862, Scott used her gender to demand respectable treatment, just as military commanders used gender convention to prove that by speaking on political matters she should not be considered a “lady.” The life and experience of Elvira Scott provide a fascinating glimpse into how the Civil War challenged gender hierarchy by pulling women into the public sphere.
Dr. Kempker is an assistant professor of History at Mississippi University for Women, where she has received many accolades including Humanities Teacher of the Year, New Faculty Member of the Year, Faculty Enhancement Grant recipient and Faculty Research Committee Grant recipient. The public is invited to attend.
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