The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Book Reviews

Illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, epilogue, notes, index. 0-89096-
869-1. $29.95, cloth.)
In Struggle Against Jim Crow is an excellent and long-awaited book on the role of
black women in the Civil Rights Movement in Houston. This volume fills a signifi-
cant gap in the literature of the Civil Rights Movement in Texas. Pitre's Lulu White
was a brave, courageous, and daring woman whose efforts as head of Texas State
Branches of the NAACP helped bring an end to Jim Crow segregation in Houston.
Born in 1900 in Elmo, the heart of Jim Crow East Texas, to a former slave from
Mississippi who shielded her from the harshness of Jim Crow and emphasized edu-
cation and godliness as fundamental to her development. Motivated by the harsh-
ness of rural racism and the educational limitations for all children in East Texas,
but especially for blacks, her parents sent her to stay with an older sibling in Dallas
in order to further her education. This played a crucial role in her later life,
because she was able to see that you could escape rural racism in urban areas.
By the time White moved to Houston in 1928, after graduating from Prairie
View A&M College for Negroes, "she had expressed a desire to help solve the
problems of Jim Crow" (p. 16). White soon discovered that gender was almost as
formidable as Jim Crow. Her adoring husband and patron, Julius, gave her eco-
nomic independence and freed her to step further beyond the accepted societal
roles of a black woman. She used economic independence to further the causes
she believed in and her zeal irritated black male activists in Houston, particularly
Carter Wesley, the owner, editor, and self-appointed voice of black conscious-
ness in Houston. White and Wesley both sought the same end: the eradication
of Jim Crow and the improvement of the status of blacks in Houston. The per-
sonal battle between the two of them is one strength of Pitre's work. Because of
White's unrelenting voice for black rights and her popularity, she became direc-
tor of State Branches of the NAACP in Texas. She worked diligently to increase
membership at a time when affiliation with the group could mean the loss of
your job, or your life. The only thing that stopped White was her untimely death
due to a heart condition, on June 1, 1957.
The only question Pitre fails to answer is what motivated White to fight on all
fronts. Although there is evidence that White was profoundly affected by the
silence of adults over white capping (Ku Klux Klan violence and intimidation)
and rural racism in East Texas, nothing explains what drove her to fight to end
Jim Crow. Perhaps it was her father's insistence on being above discussions of
race that created in her the drive to find the exact nature of his fear. Overall, I
highly recommend this work as a point of departure for future works in the fer-
tile fields of civil rights and gender in Texas history.
Southwest Texas State University Dwight David Watson
University of Texas of the Permian Basin: A History. By V. R. Cardozier. (Austin:
Eakin Press, 1998. Pp. viii+28o. Preface, illustrations, appendix, index.
ISBN 1-571-68269-4. $19.95, paper.)
V. R. Cardozier's history of the early years of the University of Texas of the

2000

131

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed November 22, 2014.