“We Gave Birth or Furnished the Children…”

Women Citizens Concerns
This letter from the “Citizens Committee” begins, “As women citizens and mothers of Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, we make the following appeal to you.” The letter, written by a select group of African American women, was addressed to A Quinn Jones after he refused to reappoint a female teacher without notice.

I hesitated to write a digital field note on this subject, just as I am sure these women hesitated to challenge the refusal of this woman’s reappointment. As I assume these women did, especially given the time period in which this challenge was brought, I was wary of presenting information that would cast AQJ in a negative light. Still, he was human, and this letter represents more than outrage, but a community within a community, particularly a group of double minorities attempting to take a stand to protect their purportedly marginalized sister against a minority with a unique position.
The organizational format in which the issues were presented in the letter, including appeals to liberty, womanhood and the implicit duties owed by the school to the community, as a support system mutually dependant upon one another, allowed the women to make the appeal with very little reference to the women who were hurt by AQJ’s decision. I enjoyed seeing a group of women take such a strong stance for young women, but I also questioned AQJ’s reasoning for refusing to re-appoint the women as teachers, which, other than by his citing to his duty to protect his students, was not very clear.


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