Thursday, December 29, 2016

Galatas Hotel Ladies Dining Room

Greenville [Alabama] Advocate, 23 January 1895
Galatas Hotel Ladies Dining Room
Location: 37 Commerce Street, Greenville, Alabama, USA
Opened/Closed: c. 1895

The southern US was a miserable place during the 1890s--resurging racism via Jim Crow segregation, lynching, economic panics.

Yet at least wealthy white women were able to have their own ladies dining room (albeit on the second floor, which is generally considered second class real estate, but who can be picky). Right?

Actually, not really.

At least according to this advertisement, men were not admitted UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY LADIES, which means, of course, that it was not truly for ladies at all.

History has as many consistencies as elements of change. And one is that "women's space" is always provisional and that men always insist on some kind of access, though the terms of that access may change from one era to the next. And that even white upper class privilege will not help very much in making a space truly for women only.

Needless to say, poor women and women of color seldom got even this kind of token space.

You may rest assured, however, that ladies were banned pretty much 100% from any "men's space" though. Especially during that era.