History scholar awarded NEH fellowship to write book about female plantation owner

(February 7, 2019)

A history scholar at The University of Toledo has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that will allow her to spend the 2019-20 academic year writing the history of Mary Willing Byrd, one of the few women who ran a large plantation in the early American South.

Dr. Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, associate professor and chair of the UT Department of History, will use the fellowship to complete her book, "The World of Westover: Mary Willing Byrd, Gender, Slavery, and the Economics of Citizenship in Revolutionary Virginia."

"I was shocked I had never heard of this woman when I first learned her name about 10 years ago, so I am excited by this opportunity to write an extensive study about her life," Pflugrad-Jackisch said. "Mary Willing Byrd explodes a lot of myths about Southern white women during the revolutionary era. She's not your typical Southern belle. Byrd believed that she was entitled to the same citizenship rights as white male property owners in the new republic, and she pushed to try and secure these rights for herself."

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