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Torches of Light: Georgia Teachers and the Coming of the Modern South Hardcover – February 28, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"In her well-written and tightly argued Torches of Light, Ann Chirhart has rescued neglected women teachers in the Georgia upcountry and revealed their crucial role in mediating between a conservative patriarchal culture and education for modern life. Both African American and white teachers used their status not only to educate children but also to serve as models of deportment and vision."--Pete Daniel, author of Lost Revolutions: The South in the Late 1950s

"In this ambitious and poignant book, Chirhart restores black and white women teachers to their proper place—at the front—in the social and political change that swept Georgia and the South in the first half of the twentieth century. More than just a much needed account of the role of teachers in their classrooms and communities, Torches of Light also reveals the centrality of public education to the emergence of the modern state in the South. A very welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on teachers and education in the South."--W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Chirhart's narrative pulls the reader along convincingly and effortlessly . . . she does a fine job of showing the racial and gender tensions that complicate the efforts of reformers . . . Chirhart recounts her subjects' lives with respect and warmth.”--H-Net

"Ann Short Chirhart covers enormous territory in her excellent new history of Georgia teachers in the first half of the twentieth century. . . . Chirhart has written an excellent history of Georgia teachers that provides insight into many aspects of the South in the first half of the twentieth century."--Florida Historical Quarterly

"Blazes a new historiographical path . . . Chirhart's well-documented and contextualized study will inform GHQ readers about the integral place of education in the state's recent past. Her sensitive portrait of individual teachers gives depth to what have been largely one-dimensional figures. This book will also take its place alongside studies by Adam Faircluogh and James LeLoudis as an important installment on the project to rehabilitate the role of education in the region's struggle for racial justice."--Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Chirhart has written an outstanding study of education, race, and reform in Georgia . . . Chirhart's is a solid study of the plight of a state's public school teachers, the culture they created, the reform they supported, and the long-term results of their individual and collective activism. It proves that the transformative power of education extended beyond the classroom and into southern society itself."--American Historical Review

From the Publisher

A southern state's transition into the modern world, seen through the eyes of its teachers

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