Throughout history, strong dominant females have played significant roles in shaping societal evolution. While some women warriors have fought on the battlefield, with sword in hand, others wage war on less violent fronts. There are many arenas that can promote change and bring about awareness. Lillian Smith used her pen, her brain and her heart as weapons against segregation and racism in the south. She is this week's woman warrior and American bad ass!!.
Lillian Smith was a writer and social activist from the south during the time of segregation in America. She was a fearless pioneer in "speaking out" against the moral atrocities that she witnessed around her. She was a southern liberal who courageously wrote and published works about the evils of racism. She was one of the first white women to publicly denounce the Jim Crow ideologies that were rampant in the south.
She was born in Georgia in 1897. As she grew and developed her own ideologies and opinions, she noticed that they differed from the popular opinions within her southern society. She met her life partner, Paula Snelling after college and together they founded Pseudopodia, a magazine that centered on progressive and modern ideologies and it gave black people a forum.
Smith wrote Strange Fruit (1944), a daring novel about interracial love. It was banned in Boston and Detroit due to its graphic content and "lewdness". She gained nationwide recognition along with being ostracized in her region of the United States. She continued her fight against the evils of racism when she published Killers of the Dream in 1949.
She once said, "Segregation is spiritual lynching," and it leads to social and moral retardation.
Lillian Smith died in 1966 and although she battled breast cancer through the 50's, changing the south's ideologies and closed mindedness remained one of her primary goals.