Religion, Love, and Democracy in Laura Bragg’s Boxes

  • William F. Pinar


Born in Massachusetts on October 9, 1881, the eldest daughter of a Protestant minister, Laura Bragg spent a year of her childhood in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the birthplace of Ida B. Wells, elementaryschool teacher, journalist and, most famously, anti-lynching activist. When Braggs lived in Holly Springs (1890), Wells had already moved to Memphis and was no longer a teacher but a journalist, soon to be mobilized into activism by the lynching of one her friends (see Pinar 2001). After briefly (the Bragg family remained in Mississippi for two years: see Allen 2002, 180) teaching mathematics at Rust University (where Ida B. Wells had studied), a black school in Holly Springs founded in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Reverend Lyman Bragg returned to New England, where Laura Bragg would study first in her father’s library – as did Jane Addams (see Knight 2005, 50) – and then at Simmons College, where she studied the liberal arts and became a librarian.