From Lost Cause to Female Empowerment: The Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1896-1966
Description: The Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) organized in 1896 primarily to care for aging veterans and their families. In addition to this original goal, members attempted to reform Texas society by replacing the practices and values of their male peers with morals and behavior that UDC members considered characteristic of the antebellum South, such as self-sacrifice and obedience. Over time, the organization also came to function as a transition vehicle in enlarging and empowering white Texas women's lives. As time passed and more veterans died, the organization turned to constructing monuments to recognize and promote the values they associated with the Old South. In addition to celebrating the veteran, the Daughters created a constant source of charity for wives and widows through a Confederate Woman's Home. As the years went by, the organization turned to educating white children in the “truth of southern history,” a duty they eagerly embraced. The Texas UDC proved effective in meeting its primary goal, caring for aging veterans and their wives. The members' secondary goal, being cultural shapers, ultimately proved elusivenot because the Daughters failed to stress the morals they associated with the Old South but because Texans never embraced them to the exclusion of values more characteristic of the New South. The organization proved, however, a tremendous success in fostering and speeding along the emergence of Texas women as effective leaders in their communities. The UDC was an important middle ground for women moving from an existence that revolved around home and family to one that might include the whole world.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Stott, Kelly McMichael