The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995 Page: 352
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Blanton was a prolific writer and author who left a record of the political and ed-
ucational changes for which she fought. Cottrell is careful to point out that Blan-
ton was by no means a radical feminist. This woman who founded Delta Kappa
Gamma and broke the gender barrier with her election to the presidency of the
Texas State Teachers Association and later to the office of state superintendent
simply believed that women educators deserved the same opportunity and pay as
their male counterparts. She once wrote, "It is the payment of better salaries to
men of inferior qualifications that arouses dissatisfaction and resentment in the
heart of the woman teacher" (p. 65).
Texas Progressivism was generally similar to southern Progressivism. Both
sought reform in the hopes of expanding democracy while at the same time
clinging to romantic images of the past. It was reform, albeit cautious reform.
Cottrell notes several times that Blanton's idea of feminism was limited to mid-
dle-class white women. Moreover, Blanton felt that equality "was an earned privi-
lege rather than an inherent right" (p. 50). In the final chapter of the book,
which concentrates on the founding of Delta Kappa Gamma, Cottrell notes that
Blanton's vision of membership qualifications was almost Duboisesque. She felt
that only the top o percent of female teachers in any one school, college, or
university should be allowed to join the society. Blanton was determined to make
her society an example of what Cottrell calls "feminist meritocracy" (p. 112).
Some of the shortcomings of the work lie in the incidental description of
Blanton's involvement in the Better Schools Campaign, perhaps the state's first
grass-roots movement for educational reform. Although by and large Cottrell's
work is admirably balanced, she occasionally edges close to the line where biog-
raphy becomes hero-worship. The most notable example of this is her rational-
ization of Blanton's racial biases because, according to Cottrell, "Blanton acted
as did educational reformers throughout the South" (p. 7o). This ignores the
fact that there were educational reformers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds
in the south and southwest during the 192os. And it was in 1931 that University
of Texas professors H. T. Manuel and George I. Sanchez began publishing mate-
rial calling for increased educational attention to Spanish-speaking children.
George A. Works, who is cited as one of Blanton's friends, suggested in 1924
that educational facilities for African American and Mexican American children
were woefully inadequate.
Rather than being racially biased, as Cottrell and Guadalupe San Miguel con-
tend, Blanton may have simply been caught up in the philosophy of American-
ization that followed World War I when she stated unequivocally (in A Handbook
of Information as to Education in Texas, I9z8-1922) that "Texas children must
learn the tongue which we speak." She had stated in i921, supporting an
amendment requiring private schools to enforce the English-only rule that ap-
plied to public schools, that "No school which educates future Texas citizens has
a right to object to such requirements, and the future safety of our democratic
institutions demands that they be made."
I also felt that the stated reasons for Blanton's opposition to "Farmer Jim" Fer-
guson-his conflict with the University of Texas and his opposition to prohibi-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995, periodical, 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/m1/390/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.