Scope and Contents
Contains annotated typescripts of Stout's book, Bridging the Class Divide (1996); videotapes of Stout speaking in various venues in the late 1980s and 1990s; articles and clippings about Stout and her involvement with the Piedmont Peace Project; typescript of an oral history taken at the Bunting Institute (1993); and partial records of the Piedmont Peace Project.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that she owns copyright, Linda Stout has retained copyright until her death in her works donated to Smith College. After Stout's death, copyright in these works will transfer to Smith College. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by Stout, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Linda Stout (b.1954) resides in Western Massachusetts but her roots are in the Deep South. She was born to tenant farmers and thirteenth-generation Quakers in North Carolina. Stout's way out of rural North Carolina was going to be a good education and college, but a life of poverty and limited choices intervened: family hardship, lack of self-confidence, and financial trouble. Stout was raised with a social conscience and in the Quaker tradition. Being employed in the mills allowed her to see racism at work and she became engaged in social change. In her early twenties, Stout and her sister moved to Charleston, where she worked for a civil rights law firm as a secretary and was exposed to articulations of injustice and a variety of strategies for social change. She was involved in a women's group organizing around ERA and abortion rights, but while she identified with the issues, Stout felt shunned in the context of this group for her class background.
The peace movement is where Stout would find a comfortable home. She organized Friends Meetings in Charleston, offered military draft counseling services, started a peace group, and was making the connections between military spending and poverty. In her effort to organize the low-income community, she met Septima Clark, a significant figure in Stout's story and civil rights history. Family crises brought Stout back to the Piedmont region in North Carolina; she is best known for the project she founded there, the Piedmont Peace Project (PPP), a low-income, multiracial organizing project that makes connections between local and national issues. The PPP has had many successful campaigns, including voter registration and mobilization, literacy, lobbying, peace work around the Gulf War, housing, water and sewer services for low-income neighborhoods. In the late 1990s, Stout left North Carolina to take the helm of the Peace Development Fund in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is now the director of a new project, Spirit of Change.