Misti Harper (History)

Posted on August 14th, 2019 by

Misti Harper

Misti Harper

Misti Harper has published “Portrait of (an Invented) Lady: Daisy Gatson Bates and the Politics of Respectability,” in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly (Spring 2019). Dr. Harper’s work explores the early life and intersectional problems of race, sex and class that applied to the civil rights heroine in the years before the 1957 Little Rock Central High School desegregation battle. Harper argues that Bates carefully crafted a image of middle-class black respectability that allowed her the public platform to challenge Jim Crow in Arkansas and the broader South. Her treatment dissects the complex history of the working-class orphaned ward who struggled to fit within the respectability standards of Southern blackness and whose unorthodox personal choices later enabled her to combat white supremacy in the international spotlight. Harper argues that pragmatism transformed Bates into a paragon of middle-class black femininity who bore every credential for the title of Southern ‘lady’ except for skin color, and redefines Bates from a one-dimensional public symbol, into a complicated and formidable civil rights icon.

 

Comments are closed.