From around 1870 to 1920 women started and directed missionary societies within the various Protestant denominations.
Both black and white women served as missionaries, although they worked in separate societies.
The missionary societies allowed women to assume leadership roles and also to leave home and travel abroad.
Women took the Christian message to such faraway places as China and India, as well as to Native Americans and Asian immigrants in the West.
The women missionaries were convinced that their beliefs were the right ones, and this conviction often prejudiced their views of other women.
In the late 1800s Maggie Van Cott travelled throughout the country, leading “praise meetings” and “love fests,” and converting some 75,000 to her Methodist Episcopal gospel.