The Women's Studies Program had invited Dr. Elizabeth Hayes Turner, Professor of History at UNT, to give a lecture entitled "'To Help Our Nation Find Its Soul': Women and the 1968 Poor People's Campaign", in honor of Women's History Month. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, March 27, at 7:00 p.m., in Terrill Hall 120.
"To Help Our Nation Find Its Soul" is a quotation from a Poor People's Campaign brochure and epitomizes the goals of women who participated in the campaign--that is to stop the war in Vietnam and to feed the poor, particularly African Americans in the Mississippi Delta, Native Americans in the West, and Mexican Americans in the Southwest. From May to June, nine caravans of protesters, nearly 5,000 people, came to Washington, D.C. under the sponsorship of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and camped for six weeks on the National Mall. Every day they lobbied to end the war and increase funding for LBJ's war on poverty. The Poor People's Campaign was the last dream of Martin Luther King, one that thousands of women helped to fulfill. The results were nothing short of life changing for the participants.
Elizabeth Hayes Turner is a professor of History at the University of North Texas. She is the author of Women and Gender in the New South, 1865-1945 (2009) and Women, Culture, and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880-1920 (1997). In 2003, she was a Fulbright Lecturer to the University of Genoa, Italy. For spring 2011, she was awarded a Bill & Rita Clements Fellowship for the Study of Southwestern America from the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. In 2011, the Texas State Historical Association elected her a Fellow. Her current book project is Juneteenth: The Evolution of an Emancipation Celebration.