Female community leaders in Houston, Texas: a study of the education of Ima Hogg and Christia Daniels Adair



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Houston, Texas, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States, has several structures named after historically male leaders of the city?George R. Brown Convention Center, Mickey Leland Federal Building, William P. Hobby Airport, and Jesse H. Jones Hall. However, Houston women have also had a history that included positions of leadership in the community. Not only were women instrumental in creating the city?s cultural institutions such as the Houston Symphony, Alley Theater, and Houston Public Library, but female community leaders were also responsible for social and political reforms including the integration of public facilities in Houston and the campaign for women?s suffrage. These women leaders have not been recognized, and there are no public buildings in Houston that bear the names of women. This study seeks, in part, to make known the achievements of two women?one white, one black?who played an integral part in the political and cultural fabric of twentieth century Houston. The purpose of this dissertation was to analyze the relationship between educational experience and community leadership in the lives of two female community leaders in Houston, Texas, Ima Hogg and Christia Daniels Adair. Utilizing published interviews, government records, and manuscript collections, I detail the beliefs and values taught and modeled by parents and reinforced by church, school, and community, as well as the knowledge and skills developed through organizational work and self-directed study. Upon initial observation, the lives of Ima Hogg and Christia Adair seemed quite different, separated by issues of race and class. However, by examining both the formal and informal educational experiences of these two women, common patterns or themes emerged. The themes were identified as service to community, expectations of success and leadership, a belief in the value of education and lifelong learning, and the development of leadership skills. The informal educational experience, in particular, proved to be especially significant in the development of leadership skills for these women and in their eventual roles as community leaders. Using these themes, this study analyzes the education of two female community leaders as a way of understanding the relationship between women?s education and women?s achievement.