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Telling HistoriesBlack Women Historians in the Ivory Tower$
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Deborah Gray White

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832011

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889121_white

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A Journey Through History

A Journey Through History

Chapter:
(p.58) A Journey Through History
Source:
Telling Histories
Author(s):

Merline Pitre

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807889121_white.7

This chapter discusses Merline Pitre's path to becoming a historian, which, according to the author herself, was not inevitable or preordained. Perhaps nothing more effectively put Pitre on a path toward this endeavor than the insidious combination of poverty and racism. Growing up in the segregated South profoundly shaped her worldview and her work as a historian in two basic ways. First, it provided Pitre a reverential view of education; second, it instilled in her a determination to struggle incessantly against racism, sexism, and social and cultural ostracism. Different people have used various strategies to cope with or fight against such evils. Some accommodated, others became openly defiant, and still others simply endured. Pitre chose to fight via education and became a student of history. This action was based on the premise that historical ignorance begets racial ignorance.

Keywords:   Merline Pitre, historian, poverty, racism, segregated South, historical ignorance, racial ignorance

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