Abstract: When do we see instances of mobilization around educational content and curricula in schools? In 2021 alone, numerous salient conflicts have played out between groups struggling to establish and legitimize the dominance of their worldview in classrooms around the world, from debates over teaching Critical Race Theory and evolution in American public schools to contention over gender, race, and post-colonial studies in French universities. While there is a relatively extensive body of work in comparative politics, economics, and sociology of education on the consequences of educational curricula reforms and ideology in schools (particularly in non-democracies), we know surprisingly little about the conditions under which different actors mobilize to establish, contest, or change educational content to begin with. This paper examines this important contemporary question using a historical case study of the U.S. South in the late 19th and early 20th century, a period in which there was widespread mobilization by elite white women's networks to contest Northern narratives of the Civil War and put in racially dominant ideologies in white public schools. In particular, it asks: what led to the emergence and proliferation of these networks and their mobilization around educational content? I theorize that these powerful (upper class) actors mobilize to insert the Lost Cause ideology into curricula and schools to undermine potential cross-group (biracial) coalitions between poor, lower-class whites and freed blacks, and find compelling descriptive evidence for this argument.