South Carolina Humanities believes that the humanities are a vital tool for navigating periods of distress or uncertainty. As the public health crisis concerning COVID-19 continues to unfold, we plan to deliver weekly emails with public humanities projects that are accessible for those of us practicing social distancing. March is Women's History Month so this week we are offering digital humanities resources that profile the female experience.

This week, the Vice Chair of the SC Humanities Board of Directors Jo Angela Edwins joins us in celebrating Women's History Month. We picked her brain to find out what she recommends reading for Women's History Month, and we asked her to profile a South Carolina woman that inspires her.
Book Drop with Jo Angela Edwins
Sula by Toni Morrison
My book recommendation for Women’s History Month is Toni Morrison’s novel Sula , published in 1973. Morrison is best known for her tour-de-force Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved , another novel well worth reading during Women’s History Month, but Sula highlights the complexities inherent in a variety of women’s relationships—mothers and their children of all ages, women and their husbands or lovers, but most importantly women and their women friends. In the mix of it all is the experience of African Americans in an America still struggling with race decades after the Civil War (the novel takes place from 1919 to 1965). For much of the novel the two main characters—Nel Wright and Sula Peace—hold each other up as best friends, until a fateful moment challenges that relationship. I first read Sula in college in 1989, and it changed my view of women and of the world. Every time I reread it to teach it (as I am doing now for my American Women Writers class), it reminds me how important a novel it is for women in America. 
Superlative South Carolinians with Jo Angela Edwins
The Grimké Sisters
My favorite South Carolina female historical figure is actually two, sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké. Raised in Charleston and surrounded in their youth by people who supported slavery, they became outspoken advocates of abolition and women’s suffrage. Their writings proved instrumental in progressing the United States towards recognizing the ethical hypocrisy involved in claiming to believe in human dignity and equality but mistreating large swaths of Americans based on their race and gender.
Photos: The Library of Congress
Learn more about the Grimkés:
Special thanks to Jo Angela for her participation!