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  • Meredith Baker

Rebel Garden Ladies at the Richmond Law Library

What do potted orchids, a vigilante billboard vandal, civil rights, and female political activists in pearls have in common? They're all part of my research for an upcoming book project--Scenic Sisters: How Garden Clubs Cultivated Virginia's Female Political Activists. (Special thanks to the Virginia Humanities Fellowship for funding my research this year.) The Richmond Law Library in conjunction with the League of Women Voters (Richmond Metro Area) coordinated to host my April 27th virtual talk about the ways that the women's gardening clubs in Virginia from 1920-1960 pushed environmental legislation and civil rights. Did you know that Black women's gardening clubs registered voters and successfully lobbied for infrastructure improvements? Have you ever heard of the years-long feud over environmental protections between the Garden Club of Virginia and Virginia's "Demon Highway Department?" It's all juicy stuff, and I was happy to present my preliminary findings here. Virginia women have accomplished amazing things, and it's time that women's political advocacy in all its variety and diversity is recognized. Thanks to the marvelous Kathryn Coker and Meldon Jenkins-Jones for moderating!


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