Atlanta & Charlotte: Women’s History in the Urban South w/ La Shonda Mims (#262)

February 13, 2023
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In the 20th Century, leaders in Atlanta and Charlotte championed a “New South” vision that they hoped would attract the investment needed to transform their regional trading hubs into world-class urban centers. The success in both cases was undeniable, but it was also not equal. Despite Charlotte’s success as a banking hub, it has lagged far behind Atlanta in terms of its economy and its place in American culture. And one possible reason for this gap may be in the way the two cities treated their gay and lesbian communities.

In this episode, historian La Shonda Mims joins Ben for a discussion about the history of lesbian communities in Atlanta and Charlotte, the ways they shaped and reflected the cities they inhabited, and how tracing the development of lesbian spaces can help us better understand urban history. La Shonda also explains how lesbians’ stories in urban spaces can reveal the greater social and economic realities that women have experienced throughout US history.

Dr. La Shonda Mims is Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. She is author of Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South (UNC Press, 2022) and recently published a piece entitled “LGBTQ Pride in the South has been Marked by Resistance and Resilience” in The Washington Post’s Made By History.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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