Cheylon K. Woods


Cheylon Woods is the Head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center, Archivist and Associate Professor in the Edith Garland Dupre Library, and an Institute of Museum and Library Studies National Fellow. Woods received her bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Louisiana Tech, a master’s degree in Heritage Resources at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from LSU and throughout her career has worked extensively with the preservation of Black and rural Southern life.



9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 3
Book Talk
Through Mama’s Eyes: Unique Perspectives in Southern Matriarchy
with Kiwana McClung and Cheylon K. Woods

10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


Through Mama’s Eyes: Unique Perspectives in Southern Matriarchy

Through Mama’s Eyes: Unique Perspectives in Southern Matriarchy looks at the concept of Southern matriarchy and how it has influenced American society. In 2016, the Ernest J. Gaines Center hosted a public program that explored the way women use physical space in literature. That program created many discussions of how the term matriarch is understood and applied, especially in the southern regions of the United States. Southern matriarchy is something that has been idolized and parodied in popular formats, such as movies and film, and the purpose of this book is to explore all of the faceted interpretations of southern matriarchy and its impact on our society.

This book contains 17 interdisciplinary essays that each look at the way standard tropes of southern matriarchy are interpreted and challenged through literature, history, and the sciences. Like the program that inspired the book, each essay can be used as an invitation to engage in deeper conversations and research about southern matriarchy and its perceptions as a whole.

This book is a compilation of curiosity and intrigue surrounding a societal structure that has influenced so many aspects of so many cultures across America―the Southern Matriarch.


Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.

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