A Woman’s Good Works: The Life of Inez Jessie Turner Baskin and Her Fight for Civil and Human Rights in the Cradle of the Confederacy
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Inez Jessie Turner Baskin (1916-2007) was an African-American, female, journalist who covered the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956 in Alabama’s capital for the Montgomery Advertiser as well as functioning as a central conduit for reporting on the protest for African-American media outlets around the country. Throughout her life she served as an advocate for underprivileged women, children, minorities, and senior citizens. This thesis examines Baskin’s emergence as an activist by first portraying the living conditions of African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama in the first half of the twentieth century in order to expose the city as Baskin would have experienced it as a child, adolescent, and young adult. It argues for Baskin’s historical significance by describing her unique situation as an African-American, female journalist for the white-owned and operated Montgomery Advertiser. Beyond her role as a journalist trailblazer, she played an important role during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in her own right, and her additional contributions to the city as a civil rights activist and humanitarian help to illuminate the contours of African-American female activism in the civil rights era and beyond.