Greetings and welcome to the fourth issue of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review. Since its inception in 2011, the Review has provided a publishing outlet for undergraduates at Virginia Tech. This year, for the first time, we were thrilled to be able to expand our scope to embrace fine undergraduate work from any four-year college or university in Virginia. As editors, we seek to help students develop their historical research in order to take part in ongoing scholarly conversations about the past and to gain the experience of having their work published through a peer-review process.
The Review offers students a chance to develop their skills outside of the classroom. Our editorial staff takes pride in the review process. The quality of this publication is a testament to the labor and dedication of our faculty editor, Dr. Heather Gumbert, and our seven undergraduate editors. Our undergraduate editors work for no credit aside from the satisfaction of a job well done and a product worthy to be shared.
This year we have selected seven articles for publication. Virginia Tech alumna Andrea Ledesma opens the issue with an article on the interwar feminism of Eudora Ramsay Richardson. Using Richardson’s literary and political activities to craft an argument, Andrea reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of feminist activism in the 1920s and 1930s. Next, Danielle Ingalls examines the background of and reaction to female bread rioters in the Confederacy during the Civil War, arguing that discontented Southern women defied the strict gender roles of their time. Our third article, by Anna Pope, examines the coalition of white and African American women who stood up to Massive Resistance during the crisis of desegregation in the Norfolk, Virginia, public school system. A fascinating and intimate look at the beginnings of the Virginia community college system, written by Earl Cherry, the son of one of the key players in the story, follows. Our first published article written by a student outside of Virginia Tech comes next as Abigail Gomulkiewicz of the College of William & Mary explores Victorian-era Protestant hymns in relation to the scientific advancements and imperial incursions of nineteenth-century Britain. Morgan Sykes then provides a detailed analysis of the rise of the artificial sweetener aspartame in the food industry. Rachel Goatley, another recent Virginia Tech alumna, rounds out the issue with her article on the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, focusing on the disease’s impact in the rural communities of Southwest Virginia.
We hope you enjoy this issue of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review. We would like to thank Virginia Tech’s History Department, faculty editor and adviser Dr. Heather Gumbert, the VTUHR’s founder Dr. Robert Stephens, the undergraduate editorial board, and all the authors who submitted their papers for publication. Our two undergraduate design editors, Nick Swedberg and Courtney Howell, have been tireless in making this year’s issue shine. Finally, we would like to thank you for picking up this journal and supporting undergraduate historical research. Enjoy your journey back in time!
April 2, 2015