For Atlanta, the early decades of the twentieth century brought chaotic ecomic and demographic growth. Women - black and white - emerged as a visible new component of the city's population. As maids and cooks, secretaries and factory workers, these women served the better classes in their homes and businesses. They were enthusiastic patrons of the city's new commercial amusements and mothers of Atlanta's burgeoning working classes. In response to women's growing public presence, Atlanta's boosters, politicians, and reformers created a set of images that attempted to define the lives and contributions of working women. Through these images, city residents expressed ambivalence toward Atlanta's growth, which, although welcome, threatened established racial and gender hierarchies. Using newspapers, municipal documents, government investigations, organizational records, oral histories, and photographic evidence, Hope and Danger in the New South City relates the experience of working-class women - as community members, activists, pleasure seekers, and consumers of social services - to the process of urban development.
Georgina Hickey is an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.