ABSTRACT

AS THE REGULAR monthly meeting of Memphis, Tennessee's Board of Education drew to a close on the evening of February 10, 1873, Judge J. O. Pierce, a new member, rose to his feet. Speaking in behalf of the city's corps of female teachers, the representative from the tenth ward introduced the following resol ution:

Pierce's petition neither shocked nor surprised his fellow board members. On at least one occasion during the last six years, a past superintendent and current board member included in his annual school report a recommendation to revise and upgrade the "disproportionate compensation" paid to women employed by the board. 2 Moreover, in recent months the women teachers had grown more vocal and persistent in communicating their dissatisfaction with the discriminatory wages they received to the board and to the public. 3

Realizing that the issue could no longer be avoided, the board reluctantly

Ms Berkeley is a member of the History Department of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.