Postdoctoral Fellow in African American Studies
Shennette Garrett-Scott received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in American History from the University of Texas at Austin. Her general area of study is race, gender, and entrepreneurship from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. She looks at black women in business, particularly in the financial fields (e.g. insurance, banking, real estate, and finance). Her dissertation is entitled “Daughters of Ruth: Enterprising Black Women in Insurance in the New South, 1890s to 1930s.”
She endeavors to complicate both the narrative of black southern labor history and histories of capitalism, particularly in the New South, through a focus on black women’s informal and formal entrepreneurial activities.
While at Case, Shennette will edit her dissertation chapter on Minnie Geddings Cox (1869-1933) and the Mississippi Life Insurance Company (1908-1922) into an article-length manuscript for publication. Cox is most famously known as the post mistress at the center of the “Indianola Affair” from 1902-1903, when Teddy Roosevelt closed Indianola’s post office and inadvertently opened up a national political debate on racial issues. Cox fades from historical mention after the affair. However, she and her husband Wayne organized the Delta Penny Savings Bank in 1904 and Mississippi Life in 1908; she played an even more formidable role in the two pioneering institutions after her husband’s death in 1916. A significant goal of the revision is to draw out the role of local and state politics in Sunflower County and in the Mississippi Delta before the 1930s and their effect on Cox and other members of the state’s black business class. Shennette will also further nuance the ways gender inscribed Cox’s image and leadership role as head of one of the largest black-owned insurance companies in the country; Cox subverted the decidedly masculinist image of “legitimate” leadership among the Negro Captains of Industry. Shennette is also excited about the decidedly non-academic elements of the story: the backstabbing, betrayal, and conspiracy that led to the eventual demise of Mississippi Life in the early 1920s.
Shennette Garrett-Scott, Ph. D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, African American Studies
Department of History
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7107
View CV (PDF Format)
“‘The Hope of the South’: The New Century Cotton Mill of Dallas, Texas, and the Business of Race in the New South, 1902–1907”
“A Historiography of African American Business,” Business and Economic History Online 7 (2009): 1-33.