Associate Professor of History John Paul Hill delivered the culminating address at Transylvania University’s celebration of Women’s History Month on Thursday, March 31, in Lexington, Kentucky. The focus of Professor Hill’s talk was Martha Layne Collins, who served as governor of Kentucky from 1983 to 1987.
Collins was one of Kentucky’s most important twentieth-century politicians. She rose through the ranks of the Democratic Party and defied the odds to become governor. Her political ascendancy illuminates the difficulties that women, especially those in the conservative South, faced in their attempts to gain personal freedom and political power in the 1970s, 1980s, and onward.
Professor Hill based his talk on a chapter he contributed to a book entitled Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times. Published in 2015, the book is part of a University of Georgia Press series on famous southern women.
“I grew up in Kentucky and received my B.A. in history from Transylvania, so it was a distinct honor to be asked to contribute to the book and deliver the address on Collins,” Hill stated. “Interest in women’s history has grown appreciably in the last twenty years, but there are still many women’s history topics that need to be explored.”
Hill, who joined the Warner faculty in 2012, formerly served as assistant professor of history at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. He has also written articles and reviews for several journals and encyclopedias.