Pioneers of the Modern-Day Women’s Movement
We remember those who have made a significant contribution to gender equality and women’s lives and well-being. With honor and respect for their work and effort, we will not forget.
(Please let us know additions you might have to this section – Click here for the National Women’s History Online Exhibits)
Patricia Derian ( 1929 – 2016 )
Human Rights Pioneer: A Personal Appreciation by Joanne Edgar and the Women’s Media Center
Those of us who are very, very lucky have someone in our lives, at some point, who helps set us on a path to discover and fulfill our particular mission in life. For me, that person was Patricia Derian—Patt to those who knew her—who died from Alzheimer’s at the end of May.
I first met Patt in Jackson, Mississippi, when I babysat for her kids in the early 1960s. I was a naïve, idealistic college kid at Millsaps College in Jackson. Patt was a doctor’s wife and mother of three, active in the local civil rights movement that was beginning to rage around us.
Trouble and controversy scared me, but they did not faze Patt. I do not know half of the civil rights issues she took on during those years. I just know she did not stop. From her, I learned that awareness of injustice is not enough; you have to act. Continue reading (Photo: Assistant Secretary of State with President Jimmy Carter, 1977)
Doris Haire 1926 – 2014
Doris was a champion of women’s right to give birth safely, humanely, and without being exposed to unnecessary procedures that might risk their baby’s wellbeing. She was also a long-time member of the board of directors of the National Women’s Health Network.
Doris Haire was elected to the very first board of directors of the Network, in 1976. At that time, she had more than a decade of successful activism under her belt. She took up the cause of reforming childbirth practices as a young woman, and she never let go. In 1972, she authored an earth-shaking critique of U.S. childbirth practices, The Cultural Warping of Childbirth. Doris was a leader in mobilizing pressure on hospitals to change practices – she called for an end to the routine practice of separating women from familial support during labor and birth, and separating women from their babies after birth. She championed the role of professional midwives at a time when they were nearly absent in U.S. maternity care. By the time Doris took her seat on the Network board, she was a force to be reckoned with. Continue reading
Dr. Mariam K. Chamberlain 1918 – 2013
Dr. Mariam K. Chamberlain, a founding member of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the founding president of the National Council for Research on Women, was the driving force behind the cultivation and sustainability of the women’s studies field of academic research. She is the namesake of IWPR’s prestigious Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship for Women in Public Policy, which trains young women for successful careers in research. Throughout her life, Dr. Chamberlain fought discrimination, established new roles for women, and championed the economic analysis of women’s issues. She passed away on April 2, 2013, at 94, just a few wweeks shy of her 95th birthday, following complications from heart surgery. Click here to read more
Mary Thom 1944 -2013 – editor-in-chief of the Women’s Media Center
We are shaken and reeling at the sudden passing of our irreplaceable editor-in-chief, Mary Thom (June 3, 1944—April 26, 2013). Our president Julie Burton says “Mary was one of the great writers, editors, and visionaries of the women’s movement, and the heart and soul of Women’s Media Center’s feature writing. From her work in the early days of Ms. Magazine right up until this week, hers was a clear, strong voice for equality—and her editorial talents lifted so many other voices as well.” Mary, we miss you already. (A statement from WMC co-founders Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem, and Jane Fonda is available, as is news coverage from The New York Times, AP, and CNN, among others.)
Gerda Lerner – feminist historian 1920 – 2013
was a historian, author and teacher. She was a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a visiting scholar at Duke University.
Lerner was one of the founders of the field of women’s history, and was a former president of the Organization of American Historians. She played a key role in the development of women’s history curricula. She taught what is considered to be the first women’s history course in the world at the New School for Social Research in 1963. She was also involved in the development of similar programs at Long Island University (1965–1967), at Sarah Lawrence College from 1968 to 1979 (where she established the nation’s first Women’s History graduate program), at Columbia University (where she was a co-founder of the Seminar on Women), and since 1980 as Robinson Edwards Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also wrote the screenplay for her husband Carl Lerner’s film Black Like Me (1966)…
In The Creation of Patriarchy, volume one of Women and History, Lerner ventures into prehistory, attempting to trace the roots of patriarchal dominance. Lerner provides historical, archeological, literary, and artistic evidence for the idea that patriarchy is a cultural construct. The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to 1870 is the second volume of Women and History. In this book, she reviews European culture from the seventh century through the nineteenth century, showing the limitations imposed by a male-dominated culture and the sporadic attempt to resist that domination. She examines in detail the educational deprivation of women, their isolation from many of the traditions of their societies, and the expressive outlet many women have found through writing.
Jeanne Sobelson Manford – founder of PFLAG 1920 – 2013
In April 1972, Manford and her husband Jules were at home in Flushing, Queens, when they learned from a hospital’s telephone call that her son Morty, a gay activist, had been beaten while distributing flyers inside the fiftieth annual Inner Circle dinner, a political gathering in New York City. Reports stated that Morty was “kicked and stomped” while being led away by police. In response, she wrote a letter of protest to the New York Post that identified herself as the mother of a gay protester and complained of police inaction. She gave interviews to radio and television shows in several cities in the weeks that followed, sometimes accompanied by her husband or son.
On June 25, she participated with her son in the New York Pride March, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children”. At the time, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness and sodomy a crime, and California Senator Mark Leno has subsequently reflected that “[f]or her to step into the street to declare support for her mentally ill, outlaw son – that was no small act … But it was what a mother’s love does. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Manford
Pauline Friedman Phillips (Dear Abby) 1918 – 2013
also known as Abigail Van Buren, was an American advice columnist and radio show host who began the “Dear Abby” column in 1956. During her decades writing the column, it became the most widely-syndicated newspaper column in the world, syndicated in 1,400 newspapers around the world with 110 million of readers.
From 1963 to 1975, Phillips also had a daily “Dear Abby” program on CBS Radio. TV anchorwoman Diane Sawyer calls her the “pioneering queen of salty advice.”
From Ms. Magazine, She gave, more than advice to the lovelorn in her column: Phillips supported the ERA. abortion and contraception rights, gay rights and civil liberties.
1932 – 2012
Figes, an English author, wrote novels, literary criticism, studies of feminism, and vivid memoirs relating to her Berlin childhood and later experiences as a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany. She arrived in Britain in 1939 with her parents and a younger brother. Figes was the mother of the academic Orlando Figes and writer Kate Figes.In the 1960s she was associated with an informal group of experimental British writers influenced by Rayner Heppenstall that included Stefan Themerson, Ann Quin, Alan Burns and its informal leader, B.S. Johnson. Figes’ 1983 novel, Light, is an impressionistic portrait of a single day in the life of Claude Monet from sunrise to sunset. Eva Figes, a refugee from Nazi Germany who became an acclaimed novelist, memoirist and critic best known for an influential feminist treatise, “Patriarchal Attitudes,” published in 1970, died on Aug. 28 at her home in London. She was 80. Click to read more The New York Times
Barbara Byrne, Founding Member and Past President, Coordinator & Leader of the Asheville Chapter of the National Organization for Women
Barbara Byrne, peacefully passed on Thurs, Sept 27, 2012, at Solace. She has championed the rights of women and worked tirelessly to bring about greater equality for women and to protect the hard-won rights that we enjoy now. She was so proud of Asheville NOW and was very enthusiastic about us working towards building a facility for homeless women veterans. She was energetic and very supportive of New Leaf Network, the foundation that will provide support and temporary housing that our homeless veteran women need and deserve.
Barbara Byrne was a one-of-a-kind person. She actually lived what she preached and was admired tremendously. Independent to the end, Barbara was a friend to so many and will be missed greatly. R.I.P Barbara. We love you & miss you already. Debbie Metcalf President, Asheville NOW Obituary at Norwich Bulletin and The Asheville Citizen-Times
Plunging Necklines, Helen Gurley Brown, and Me
By Lori Perkins | August 14, 2012
Legendary Cosmo Editor Helen Gurley Brown died at age 90 August 13, 2012, in New York City. Book publisher Lori Perkins here remembers an icon.
I was a high school student who knew she wanted to be a journalist. I read Cosmo religiously, and loved its “My Say” column. I wrote what I thought was a hilarious piece about my worst date (which involved meeting the high school drug dealer [which I didn’t know] for a date at Laserium at the New York Planetarium and having him hand me a kilo of pot to put in my purse and later distribute to the entire basketball team in nickel bags after which he proceeded to manhandle me like an octopus and was shocked when I refused to smoke pot with him in Central Park and went home alone, but I digress). Anyway, I was a little shocked myself when I received a note informing me that they wanted to buy the piece! Click here to read the entire article at Women’s Media Center
An Appreciation 1941 – 2012
By M. G. Lord | June 29, 2012 in Women’s Media Center
Author M. G. Lord knew Nora Ephron socially, but appreciated her most through Ephron’s essays. She writes about why they’ve had only the best influence on her own writing.
Nora Ephron taught me the difference between wit and snark—long before snark slithered out from its dark hole and infected the national dialogue.
Nora was classy, in the way that wit is classy. Often she mocked herself in order to mock deserving targets. In a piece pegged to the 25th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, for example, she confessed that in high school, she had skipped over the book’s passages about egoism and altruism and fallen hard for its architect hero: “I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me. Or, failing that, an architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect.” Click here to read the entire article
Adrienne Cecile Rich 1929 – 2012
Rich was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She has been called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century”, and was credited with bringing “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.” Her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was selected by the senior poet W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Young Poets Award; he went on to write the introduction to the published volume. Rich famously declined the National Medal of Arts, protesting the United States House of Representatives and Speaker Gingrich’s vote to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrienne_Rich
Wangari Maathai 1940 – 2011
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai was a Kenyan environmentalist and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nob el Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. In 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangari_Maathai
Marjorie L. Meares 1960 -2011
Margie’s professional life began with a degree from Duke University, and continued with counseling adjudicated youth at Camp Woodson, working with the Air and Water Quality Divisions of NCDENR and later becoming the Executive Director of the Clean Air Community Trust in Asheville, which transformed to GO Asheville. She worked as a proponent of the Clean Smokestacks Act, was appointed to the Community Energy Advisory Council, elected to the Woodfin Water Board and was the Chairman of the Evergreen Charter School Board of Directors. As Margie’s work interests expanded to buildings and sustainability she developed one of the country’s first Eco Development Programs for realtors. As a Senior Associate with Mathis Consulting Company she worked on numerous projects to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, teaching the provisions of the energy code to NC Building Inspectors and working with the NC Building Code Council to draft the NC 2012 Energy Conservation Code. On the day of her death she received a personal letter from NC Governor Bev Perdue thanking her for her work that led to the Governor’s signing of State Bill 708 enacting the new energy conservation code for the state.
Some would say Margie’s life work was to transform people’s understanding of the importance of the environment and to help develop environmental mindfulness, but her greatest gift was in helping people understand themselves. Recently ordained as a Lay Teacher in the Buddhist tradition, she wove her true life’s work of knowing and teaching the Dharma into all she endeavored. She was a natural teacher who sought first to make a connection and win the heart; then to present the issue. She will be remembered for seeing life as an adventure, her quick yet kind wit and her playful nature.
Margie will be held in the hearts of her loving partner and dearest friend Ruth Ostrenga, her siblings, nieces and nephews, the members of Anattasati Magga Zen Sangha, and a huge and diverse community of friends.
Hazel Jane Dickens 1935 – 2011
Hazel Dickens was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. She was the eighth child of an eleven-child mining family in West Virginia. Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. Cultural blogger John Pietaro noted that “Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them and her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause.” The New York Times extolled her as “a clarion-voiced advocate for coal miners and working people and a pioneer among women in bluegrass music”.
Clara Mae Shepard Luper 1923 – 2011
Clara Luper was a civic leader, retired schoolteacher, and a pioneering leader in the American Civil rights Movement. She is best known for her leadership role in the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-in Movement, as she, her young son and daughter, and numerous young members of the NAACP Youth Council successfully conducted nonviolent sit-in protests of downtown drugstore lunch-counters which overturned their policies of segregation. The Clara Luper Corridor is a streetscape and civic beautification project from the Oklahoma Capitol area east to northeast Oklahoma City and was announced by Governor Brad Henry. Luper continued desegregating hundreds of establishments in Oklahoma, and was active on the national level during the 1960s movements. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Luper
Betty Ford 1918 – 2011
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford was First Lady of the United States from 1974 – 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford. As First Lady she was active in social policy and created precedents as a politically active presidential wife. Throughout her husband’s term in office, she maintained high approval ratings despite opposition from some conservative Republicans who objected to her more moderate and liberal positions on social issues.
Ford was noted for raising breast cancer awareness following her 1974 mastectomy and was a passionate supporter of, and activist for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Pro-choice on abortion and a leader in the Women’s Movement she gained fame as one of the most candid first ladies in history, commenting on every hot-button issue of the time, including feminism, equal pay, the ERA, sex, drugs, abortion and gun control. She also raised awareness of addiction when she announced her long-running battle with alcoholism in the 1970s. Following her White House years, she continued to lobby for the ERA and remained active in the feminist movement. She is the founder, and served as the first chairwoman of the board of directors, of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction and is a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal (co-presentation with her husband, Gerald R. Ford, 1998) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (alone, 1991). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Ford
E. M. Broner 1930 – 2011
Esther Frances Masserman Broner was best known as E.M. Broner, Ph.D., Professor Emerita as a Jewish American feminist author. She was the author of ten books, including The Women’s Haggadah; Weave of Women; The Telling: The Story of a Group of Jewish Women Who Journey to Spirituality through Community and Ceremony; and Mornings and Mourning: A Kaddish Journal. Broner had also written radio scripts for National Public radio and plays. Her musical, Higginson: An American Life, premiered June 17, 2005, by the Michigan Opera Theatre. Broner led the original Women’s Seder for 30 years and was proclaimed a Wonder Woman by the Wonder Woman Foundation for her work in feminist Jewish ritual. She was married to printmaker/painter Robert Broner. They had four children. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._M._Broner and de.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._M._Broner
Martha Louise McLean 1953 – 2011
Martha was an activist, librarian, singer-songwriter, daughter, friend, and partner. She recently published her first book of creative non-fiction, Looking for Sheville. The book is based on her life in the Asheville lesbian-feminist community in the mid 1970’s. This work was her last creative endeavor and one of her proudest accomplishments.
Martha received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Sciences from Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, N.C., and her Master of Library Science from UNC Greensboro. Her career spanned 35 years, beginning at the After School Program at Asheville YWCA and concluding at Ellison Library, Warren Wilson College, where she was a Technical Services Assistant. The library, books and learning were among her passions. But her greatest satisfaction came from helping others search for knowledge.
Martha was dedicated to women’s rights and was a key organizer of the Asheville-Buncombe Women’s Center in the 1980’s. She published the Women’s Center newsletter for several years. She also hosted listening parties to help women connect to community through meaningful music. In 1979 she helped organize the first Women Take Back the Night March in Asheville, which was co-sponsored by Women Against Violence Against Women, The Rape Crisis Center, and the A-B Women’s Center. Martha was a founding member of LETSA, a social organization for lesbians in Upper East Tennessee.
Friends of Therese Edell nominated her for MUSE’s Enduring Spirit Award for their 25th Anniversary Season
Therese Edell 1950 – 2011
Women’s music (or womyn’s music, wimmin’s music) is the music by women, for women, and about women (Garofalo 1992:242). The genre emerged as a musical expression of the second-eave feminist movement ) Peraino 2001:693) as well as the labor, civil rights and peace movements (Mosbacher 2002). The movement was started by lesbians such as Chris Williamson, Meg Christianson and Margie Adams, African-American women activists such as Bernice Johnson Reagon and her group Sweet Honey in the Rock, and peace activist Holly Near (Mosbacher 2002). Women’s music also refers to the wider industry of women’s music that goes beyond the performing artists to include studion musicians, producers, sound engineers, technicians, cover artists, distributors, p;romoters, and festival organizers who are also women.
“A Tribute to Therese Edell – one of the extraordinary Founding Mothers of the Women’s Music & Culture Movement, who passed away on March 14 at age 61 … and to her surviving beloved partner of 34 years, Teresa Boykin. Therese was not only one of the most talented artists we ‘Slippers ( Ladyslipper, a non-profit organization formed in 1976 to promote and distribute women’s music ) have been privileged to know – she was also one of the funniest, most optimistic, committed, loving and generous humans who ever graced the planet.”
In June of 1998, Therese received the Jane Schlissman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Music at National Women’s Music Festival. In 2008 Friends of Therese nominated her for MUSE’s Enduring Spirit Award for the 25th Anniversary Season of The Cincinnati Women’s Choir. Therese was able to attend the concert to receive her award. Because of her pioneering contributions to the world of women’s music and to MUSE, the Cincinnati Women’s Choir – the board of MUSE unanimously agreed that honoring Therese would be continued through a commissioning program. MUSE often commissions composers to compose pieces for MUSE. Money collected for the Therese Edell Commissioned Composer Fund will perpetuate the artistry of Therese Edell and new music for MUSE. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_music
Kate Swift 1923 – 2011
Swift was a feminist American writer and editor who, along with her lover Casey Miller, wrote influential books and articles decrying sexism in the English language and suggesting how English could be spoken and written in a non-sexist way. She was born in 1923 in Yonkers, New York, and was officially named Barbara Peabody Swift, but known as Kate Swift. In 1944 she graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Journalism. She worked as a copy runner in the NBC newsroom, and later joined the Women’s Army Corps as a writer and editor for the Army’s information and education department. She also worked as an editorial assistant at Time, a news writer for the Girl Scouts of America’s public relations department, and a writer for the Port of New Orleans.  Then in 1954 she joined the public-affairs staff of the Museum of Natural History in New York as a science writer; she was the press liaison for the Hayden Planetarium.  In 1965 she became the director of the news bureau of the school of medicine at Yale.
In 1970 she and Casey Miller formed a professional editing partnership, and they were soon hired to copy-edit a sex education manual for junior high school students. Although the author intended to promote mutual respect between women and men in his manual, Casey Miller and Kate Swift came to realize that sexist language usage was preventing this point from getting made. Swift said, “We suddenly realized what was keeping his message — his good message — from getting across, and it hit us like a bombshell. It was the pronouns! They were overwhelmingly masculine gendered. We turned in the manuscript with our suggestions such as putting singular sexist pronouns into plural gender-free ones, avoiding pronouns wherever possible, and changing word order so that girls or women sometimes preceded rather than always followed boys or men. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Swift
Paulette Poujol-Oriol 1926 – 2011
Paulette Poujol Oriol left a significant corpus of literary work. She penned many plays. Her literary works include Le Creuset [The Crucible] (her first novel, which won the Henri Deschamps award in 1980) and La Fleur rouge [The Red Flower] for which she received RFI-Le Monde’s Award for Best Novel. Poujol Oriol published numerous articles, most of which were dedicated to literature. Her work describes Haitian society, its defects, its habits and customs, its prejudices, as well Haiti’s misfortunes. She combined Creole and French in some of her works, as exemplified by La Fleur rouge.
A director and actress, Paulette Poujol Oriol staged many plays and founded the Teatro Piccolo. She taught drama, especially to children, up to the last days of her life. She headed the theatre section of the National School for the Arts from 1983 to 1991.
Poujol Oriol was one of the foremost figures of the Haitian women’s movement. She was active for more than fifty years in several associations, including the Women’s League of Social Action, which she directed since 1997. http://repeatingislands.com/2011/03/14/paulette-poujol-oriol-passes-away/
Geraldine Anne Ferraro 1935 – 2011
Geraldine Ferraro was an American attorney, a Democratic party politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female Vice Presedential candidate representing a major American political party. Ferraro grew up in New York City and became a teacher and lawyer. She joined the Queens County district Attorney’s Office in 1974 where she headed the new Special Victims Bureau that dealt with sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. She was elected to Congress in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. In 1984, former Vice President and presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so she became the only Italian American to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldine_Ferraro
Eileen Nearne – Wartime Spy 1921 – 2010
LONDON — After she died earlier this month (September), a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was called a pauper’s grave. After World War II, Eileen Nearne, here in a photo from that era, faded into obscurity. But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away. nytimes.com/2010/09/22/world/europe/22nearne.html?_r=2&hpw
Jill Johnston 1929 – 2010
Born as Jill Crowe in London, England in 1929, the only child of Olive Marjorie Crowe an American nurse, and Cyril F. Johnston a British bellfounder and clockmaker. Jill Johnston (was) a longtime cultural critic for The Village Voice whose daring, experimental prose style mirrored the avant-garde art she covered and whose book Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution spearheaded the lesbian separatist movement of the early 1970s, died in Hartford on Saturday. She was 81and lived in Sharon, Conn. The cause was a stroke, her spouse, Ingrid Nyeboe, said. Ms. Johnston started out as a dance critic, but in the pages of The Voice, which hired her in 1959, she embraced the avant-garde as a whole, including happenings and multimedia events. New York Times Obituary texts.pattricejones.info/archives/6
Abbey Lincoln 1930 – 2010
Anna Marie Wooldridge, better known as Abbey Lincoln, the legendary jazz singer who believed in singing as a political act, as an actress, artist and composer. Lincoln created music ranging from avant-garde civil-rights-era recordings to the equally powerful but more introspective work of her later years. Her 1960 collaboration with jazz drummer Max Roach, We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, put her voice smack in the middle of the soundtrack of the civil-rights movement. Village Voice jazz critic Nat Hentoff supervised the recording of the Freedom Now Suite and watched Lincoln transform from a sultry nightclub singer into a more sophisticated artist. Hentoff says Lincoln was a sometimes self-deprecating woman with a ready, sardonic wit, and says her death is a huge loss to a jazz community that doesn’t have musicians like her anymore. npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129203432
Mary Brown “Brownie” Williams Ledbetter 1932–2010
Mary Brown “Brownie” Williams Ledbetter, a fierce champion women’s rights and civil rights, was a lifelong political activist who worked in many controversial and crucial campaigns in Arkansas, as well as nationally and internationally. A catalyst in many local grassroots organizations, she exhibited a dedication to fair education and equality across racial, religious, and cultural lines. In 1983, Ledbetter founded the Arkansas Fairness Council, a coalition of grassroots organizations, and served as president and lobbyist for fifteen years. Other organizations on Ledbetter’s résumé include the Arkansas Women’s Political Caucus (founding member), the ERA/Arkansas Coalition (organizing member, 1973–1978), Arkansas Career Resources, Inc. (founder and executive director from 1985 to 1990), the Southern Coalition for Educational Equity (state director from 1982 to 1985), the Arkansas State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the State Federation of Business and Professional Women (legislative director), and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (co-founder with Bella Abzug).
Ledbetter served as the first Political Action Chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1973. Her work with the Democratic Party also includes a place on the State Democratic Central Committee from 1968 to 1974 and the position of Affirmative Action Committee Coordinator for the State Democratic Party in 1973–1974. She also organized the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Arkansas. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4172
Liz Carpenter 1920 – 2010
Born in a small Central Texas town to a family of modest means, Elizabeth “Liz” Carpenter used her wry wit, keen intelligence and pioneering spirit to make her mark on many fronts. She was a trend-setting journalist, author, feminist, humorist, speaker, political adviser and party-giver par excellence. As executive assistant to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, she scored a first for women. But the career she loved most was as staff director and press secretary to her friend, Lady Bird Johnson, when Mrs. Johnson was first lady, 1963-69.
Carpenter was the first newspaperwoman to be named press secretary to a first lady and the first person to serve simultaneously as the first lady’s staff director and press spokesperson. She also contributed to President Johnson’s speeches, usually adding humor with the aid of others in the White House Humor Group which she established in another first. http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/carpenter/biography/
Dorothy Irene Height
1912 – 2010
Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department and, at the age of twenty-five, she began a career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She also served as National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority from 1946 to 1957. She remained active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority thoughtout her life. While there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs. In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized “Wednesdays in Mississippi”, which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Height
Doris ‘Granny D.’ Haddock
1910 – 2010
Doris “Granny D’’ Haddock was a New Hampshire woman whose passionate commitment to campaign finance reforms resulted in a walk across the country at age 89, followed by an unsuccessful campaign for the US Senate, has died at the age of 100, of chronic respiratory illness. She had become interested in campaign finance reform after the defeat of the McCain – Feingold bill to remove unregulated soft money from campaigns in 1995. However, she and her husband had previously campaigned against nuclear testing in Alaska in 1960. Her Senate race began when she filed on the last possible date in 2004 after the front-running Democratic nominee dropped out after his campaign manager was accused of financial fraud. www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIA_lfWZpDg
Juanita W. Goggins
1935 – 2010
Juanita Goggins was a native of Pendleton and the daughter of a sharecropper. She graduated from S.C. State University, and then moved to York County in 1957, where she taught home economics in the segregated York school district. Following a court case relating to changes in South Carolina’s house districts, in 1974, Goggins became the first African-American woman to be elected to the South Carolina state legislature, where she served three terms before retiring from public life in 1978 with health problems. She was the first black woman from South Carolina to be represented at the Democratic National Convention, in 1972, and the first black woman appointed to the United States Civil Rights Commission. She is quoted as saying: “I am going to Columbia to be a legislator, not just a black spot in the House chambers,” she told The Associated Press at the time. Many of her papers from throughout her career are archived at both Winthrop University and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/15/rip-juanita-w-goggins/
Miep Gies 1909 – 2010
Born Hermine Santrouschitz in Vienna, Miep Gies was transported to Leiden in December 1920 to escape the food shortages prevailing in Austria after World War I. In 1922, she moved with her foster family to Amsterdam. In 1933, she met Otto Frank when she applied for the post of temporary secretary in his spice company. She became a close friend of the Frank family, as did Jan Gies, whom she married in 1941 after she refused to join a Nazi women’s association and was threatened with deportation back to Austria. Her knowledge of Dutch and German helped the Frank family assimilate into Dutch society, and she and her husband became regular guests at the Franks’ home. Miep Gies helped hide Edith and Otto Frank, their daughters Margot and Anne, Hermann and Augustan van Pels, their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer in a secret upstairs room that was not used in the spice company’s office building on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht from July 1942 to August 4, 1944. In theory, Miep and the other helpers could have been shot if they had been caught hiding Jews. Before the hiding place was emptied by the authorities, Miep retrieved Anne Frank’s diaries and saved them in her desk drawer for Anne’s return. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miep_Gies
Elise M. Boulding 1920 – 2010
Boulding was a Quaker sociologist and author credited as a major contributor to creating the academic discipline of Peace and Conflict Studies. Her holistic, multidimensional approach to peace research sets her apart as an important scholar and activist in multiple fields. Her written works span several decades and range from discussion of family as a foundation for peace, to Quaker spirituality to reinventing the international “global culture”. Particularly of note is her emphasis on women and family in the peace process… Elise became strongly convinced by living through the WWII years that violence was not the answer to the world’s problems and that if even her peaceful homeland was at risk, violence was truly a systemic world concern. In her youth, she became active in anti-war activities and converted to a historic peace church, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She is considered to be one of the most influential peace researchers and activists of the 20th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elise_Boulding
Joann Evansgardner 1925 -2010
Jo Ann Evansgardner, an activist from Hazelwood who recruited and mentored some of the nation’s most prominent feminists while waging a tireless battle against discrimination, died Feb. 16. She was 84.
“She was a tremendous influence on the women’s movement nationwide because of her activities in the 1970s and because of recruiting so many people who went on and dedicated their lives to it,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington, D.C. Ms. Smeal, a Pittsburgh native, was one of many women Ms. Evansgardner enlisted. Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10059/1039208-122.stm#ixzz1NJBaZ7f6
1928 – 2010
The leading feminist philosopher and theorist died January 3. Here, her friend and former student explains the extraordinary reach of Mary Daly’s fierce intelligence and strong will. In the seventies some of Mary Daly’s graduate students began calling her Doctors Daly because she had three doctorates, one from Notre Dame, and two, in theology and in philosophy, from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. At the uber-catholic and overwhelmingly male Fribourg, she was treated like a pariah. In the library she would put her things down on a table, and the male seminarians sitting there would move en masse to another table. No one sat next to her in the classroom. But she stayed, standing up to that misogynist treatment to get the training she wanted. Those who loved her knew the steel in Daly that enabled her to withstand anything in order to hone her towering intelligence to a fine edge, which would soon dissect the patriarchal infrastructure that had blighted women’s (and children’s, men’s and the biosphere’s) lives for millennia. womensmediacenter.com/blog/2010/01/mary-daly-1928-to-2010/
Susan Hill 1949 – 2010
Susan Hill gained national prominence as a champion for women’s rights. She was President of the National Women’s Health Organization, a group of abortion clinics in Raleigh and other smaller cities throughout the Southeast.
Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Hill graduated from Charles E. Jordan High School in 1966, then received a degree in social work from Meredith College in 1970. She went on to be a social worker in Florida, then open the first abortion clinic in the state of Florida. She was a founding member of both the National Abortion Federation and the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.
A longtime owner of women’s health clinics, Hill served as plaintiff in over 30 federal and state lawsuits concerning abortion rights, and was a key plaintiff in the NOW v. Scheidler case that charged abortion opponents with using violence, intimidation and extortion to put women’s clinics out of business. 4 cases she was involved in went to the Supreme Court and she won them all.
In 2007 Susan Hill received the Nancy Susan Reynolds award — also known as “North Carolina’s Nobel Prize” and the state’s highest honor for public advocacy in the face of personal risk. She also won the North Carolina Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger Award and was a 2009 recipient of NOW’s Woman of Courage award. Read more: http://www.bluenc.com/susan-hill-has-died#ixzz1NJ7jtcQk
1936 – 2009
Mary Allin Travers was an American singer-songwriter and member of the folk, pop group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel “Paul” Stookey. Peter, Paul and Mary was one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s. Unlike most folk musicians who were a part of the early 1960s Greenwich Village music scene, Travers actually grew up in that New York neighborhood. Her parents were journalists and active organizers for The Newspaper Guild, a trade union.In 1938, the family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. She attended the Little Red School House there, but left in the eleventh grade to pursue her singing career. While in high school, she joined The Song Swappers, which sang backup for Pete Seeger when Folkways Records reissued a union song collection, Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded a total of four albums for Folkways in 1955, all with Seeger. Travers regarded her singing as a hobby and was shy about it, but was encouraged by fellow musicians.Travers also was in the cast of the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President. The group Peter, Paul and Mary was formed in 1961, and they were an immediate success. The group’s first album, Peter, Paul and Mary came out in 1962 and immediately scored hits with their versions of “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree”. The former won them Grammys for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group. (photo credit: Kevin Mazur) Follow Me en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Travers_(singer)
1935 – 2009
Mercedes Sosa was an Argentine singer who was popular throughout Latin America and internationally. With her roots in Argentine folk, Sosa gave voice to songs written by both Brazilians and Cubans. She was best known as the “voice of the voiceless ones”. Sosa performed in venues such as the Lincoln Center in New York City, Theatre Mogador in Paris and the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City as well as Carnegie Hall. Her career spanned four decades and she has been the recipient of several Grammy awards and nominations, including three nominations which will be decided posthumously. She served as an ambassador for UNICEF. Sosa was born in northwestern Argentina of mestizo, French and Quechua Amerindian ancestry. She recorded her first album, La Voz de la Zafra, in 1959. Sosa and her first husband, Manuel Óscar Matus were key players in the mid-60s nuevo cancionero movement in Argentina). Her second record was Canciones con Fundamento, a collection of Argentine folk songs. In 1967, Sosa toured the U S and Europe with great success. In later years, she performed and recorded extensively, broadening her repertoire to include material from throughout Latin America. Helen Popper of Reuters announced her death by saying she “fought South America’s dictators with her voice and became a giant of contemporary Latin American music”. Gracias A La Vida en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_Sosa
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
1921 – 2009
Eunice Mary Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the fifth of nine children of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.She was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton, London, England; and Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York and Stanford University . She worked for the Special War Problems Division of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Justice Department as executive secretary for a project dealing with juvenile delinquency, as a social worker at the Federal Industrial Institution for Women, the House of the Good Shepherd women’s shelter, Chicago and the Chicago Juvenile Court. On May 23, 1953, she married Sargent Shriver in a Roman Catholic ceremony at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, New York. Sargent Shriver was U.S. Ambassador to France 1968 – 1970 and was the 1972 Democratic U.S. Vice Presidential candidate. Eunice Shriver is likely best known as the Founder of The Special Olympics, now The Special Olympics World Games, an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The first games were held in Chicago, 1968. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_Kennedy_Shriver
1929 – 2009
Marilyn French was an American author. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Hofstra University where she received a master’s degree in English in 1964. She married Robert M. French Jr. in 1950; the couple divorced in 1967. She later attended Harvard University, earning a Ph.D in 1972. In her work, French asserted that women’s oppression is an intrinsic part of the male-dominated global culture. Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals (1985) is a historical examination of the effects of patriarchy on the world. French’s 1977 novel, The Women’s Room, follows the lives of Mira and her friends in 1950s and 1960s America, including Val, a militant radical feminist. The novel portrays the details of the lives of women at this time and also the feminist movement of this era in the United States. At one point in the book the character Val says “all men are rapists”. This quote has often been incorrectly attributed to Marilyn French herself. French’s first book was a thesis on James Joyce. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_French
Elizabeth Chittick 1908-2009
Chittick was an American feminist who served as president of the National Women’s Party. She was chairman and president of the Party and a leader in the women’s movement for the Equal Rights Amendment. A Republican, Chittick participated in politics helping to convince the 1976 Republican National Convention to reaffirm their support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In 1977, after the death of suffragist and Equal Rights Amendment author Alice Paul, the founder of the National Woman’s Party, Chittick organized and led the Alice Paul Memorial March up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The march drew an approximate 5,000 marchers including former suffragists. During her leadership of the NWP Chittick authored “Answers to Questions About the Equal Rights Amendment” and appeared on television and radio to support the amendment. In 1978 Chittick became the first woman to address the Oklahoma House of Representatives, a state that had not ratified the ERA. In 1975, Chittick was a delegate to the International Women’s Year conference in Mexico and, in 1985, the U.S. representative to the Commission on the Status of Women at the World Woman’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Chittick also efforts to save the Sewall-Belmont House, which had been the headquarters of the National Woman’s Party since the 1910s, through the movements for women’s suffrage and later legal equality. Sewall-Belmont was subsequently placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is used as an educational facility for women’s equal rights and a gathering place for social events. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and former president of the National Organization for Women, credited Chittick with virually single-handedly saving the landmark. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Chittick
Beatrice “Bea” Arthur
1922 – 2009
Beatrice “Bea” Arthur was an American actress, comedian, and singer. In a career spanning seven decades, Arthur achieved success as the title character Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcom Maude, and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls; she won Emmys for both roles. Also a stage actress, she won the Tony Award for her performance as Vera Charles in the original cast of Mame. In 1971, Arthur was invited by Norman Lear to guest-star on his sitcom All in the Family, as Maude Findlay, the cousin of Edith Bunker. An outspoken liberal feminist, she was the antithesis to the bigoted, conservative Archie Bunker, who decried Maude as a “New Deal fanatic. The show simply titled Maude. debuting in 1972, garnered Arthur an Emmy Award in 1977. It would also earn a place for her in the history of the women’s liberation movement. The groundbreaking series didn’t shirk from addressing serious sociopolitical topics of the era that were fairly taboo for a sitcom, from the Vietnam War, the Nixon Administration and Maude’s bid for a Congressional seat to divorce, menopause, drug use, alcoholism, nervous breakdown, spousal abuse and abortion. (Photo by Alan Light) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Arthur
Alison Liebhafsky Des Forges
1942 – 2009
An American historian and human rights activist specialized in the African Great Lakes region, particularly the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. At the time of her death, she was a senior advisor for the African continent at Human Rights Watch. She earned her B.A. in history from Radcliffe College in 1964, and her M.A. and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from Yale University in 1966 and 1972. Her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation both addressed the impact of European colonialism on Rwanda. She specialized in the African Great Lakes region and studied the Rwandan Genocide and was also an authority on human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi. Des Forges left academia in 1994 in response to the Rwandan Genocide to work full time on human rights. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1999, and became the senior advisor at Human Rights Watch for the African continent. In April 1994, she was one of the first outsiders to claim that a full-blown genocide was under way in Rwanda, and afterwards led a team of researchers to establish the facts. She died on February 12, 2009, in an air crash, en route from Newark to Buffalo. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_L._Des_Forges
Constance E. Cook
1919 – 2009
An American Republican Party politician who served in the New York State Assembly, she co-authored a bill signed into law that legalized abortion in New York three years before the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1973 that legalized the practice nationwide. She attended Cornell University, receiving her undergraduate degree in 1941, before being awarded a law degree from Cornell Law School in 1943. She was appointed to serve as Cornell’s vice president for land grant affairs, making her the first female vice president in Cornell history. She served in the New York State Assembly rom 1963-1974 and was an advocate for the expansion of the State University of New York. In 1976, she extended her support to the Rev. Betty Bone Schiess who had been ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church by a reformist bishop, but had been one of 11 women who were not granted a license by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. Cook took the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC/EEO) who issued a decision favoring Schiess. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America passed a resolution in July 1976 that “no one shall be denied access” to ordination in the church based on gender. In November 1976, Ned Cole, the Bishop who had blocked Schiess’ ordination, indicated that he would have her ordained in ceremonies to be held in January 1977. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Cook#Death
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
1950 – 2009
An American theorist in the fields of gender studies, queer theory (queer studies), and critical theory. Influenced by Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, feminism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, her works reflect an abiding interest in a wide range of issues and topics, including queer performativity and performance; experimental critical writing; the works of Marcel Proust; non-Lacanian psychoanalysis; infibulation; artists’ books; Buddhism and pedagogy; the affective theories of Silvan Tomkins and Melanie Klein; and material culture, especially textiles and texture. Eve Kosofsky received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her Ph.D from Yale University. She taught writing and literature at Hamilton College, Boston University, and Amherst College. She held a visiting lectureship at UC Berkeley and taught at the School of Criticism and Theory when it was located at Dartmouth College. She was also the Newman Ivey White Professor of English at Duke University. Sedgwick published several books considered groundbreaking in the field of Queer Theory, including Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985), Epistemology of the Closet (1990), and Tendencies (1993). Additionally, Sedgwick coedited several volumes (see below) and published a book of poetry Fat Art, Thin Art (1994) as well as A Dialogue on Love (1999), and a revised version of her doctoral thesis The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (1986). Her last book Touching Feeling touches upon her continuing interest in affect, pedagogy, infibulation, and performativity. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Kosofsky_Sedgewick
1930 – 2008
Odetta Felious Holmes, born in Birmingham, Alabama, was an African-American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”. Her musical repertoire consists largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential musically and ideologically to many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. She grew up in Los Angeles, California, and studied music nights at Los Angeles City College while employed as a domestic worker. She had operatic training from the age of 13. Her mother hoped she would follow Marian Anderson, but Odetta doubted a large black girl would ever perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Her first professional experience was in musical theater in 1944 alongside Elsa Lanchester; she later joined the national touring company of the musical Finian’s Rainbow in 1949 where she “fell in with an enthusiastic group of young balladeers in San Francisco” and after 1950 concentrated on folk singing. She made her name by performing around the United States. In 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr. anointed her “The Queen of American folk music”. Many Americans remember her performance at the 1963 civil rights movement’s march to Washington where she sang “O Freedom”. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odetta
1932 – 2008
Born in Johannesburg, her mother was a Swazi sangoma and her father, who died when she was six, was a Xhosa. Her professional career began in the 1950s with the Manhattan Brothers and her own group, The Skylarks, singing a blend of jazz and traditional melodies of South Africa. Makeba then travelled to London where she met Harry Belafonte, who assisted her in gaining entry to and fame in the United States. She released many of her most famous hits there including “Pata Pata”. The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid. She discovered that her South African passport was revoked when she tried to return there in 1960 for her mother’s funeral. Her marriage to Trinidadian civil rights activist and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael in 1968 caused controversy in the United States, and her record deals and tours were cancelled. Nelson Mandela persuaded her to return to South Africa in 1990. In January 2000, her album, Homeland was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best World Music” category. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Otto Hahn Peace Medal by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin, “for outstanding services to peace and international understanding”. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miriam_Makeba
Clay Schuette Felker 1925 -2008
Felker was an American magazine editor and journalist who founded New York Magazine in 1968.He was known for bringing large numbers of journalists into the profession The New York Times wrote in 1995, “Few journalists have left a more enduring imprint on late 20th-century journalism — an imprint that was unabashedly mimicked even as it was being mocked.
Felker gave Gloria Steinem what she later called her first “serious assignment,” regarding contraception; he didn’t like her first draft and had her re-write the article. Her resulting 1962 articleabout the way in which women are forced to choose between a career and marriage preceded Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique by one year. She joined the founding staff of Felker’s New York and became politically active in the feminist movement. Felker funded the first issue of Ms. Magazine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Felker
1940 – 2008
Irish journalist, TV producer, book reviewer, teacher and author. She became internationally well-known for her two volumes of memoir, Are You Somebody? and Almost There, a novel, My Dream of You, and a history with commentary, The Story of Chicago May. The first three were all featured on the New York Times Best Seller list. Her posthumous novel Best Love Rosie was published in French by Sabine Wespieser, Editeur in September 2008. O’Faolain was born in Dublin, the second eldest of nine children. Her father was a well-known Irish journalist, writing the Dubliners Diary social column under the pen name Terry O’Sullivan for the Dublin Evening Press. She was educated at University College Dublin, the University of Hull, and Oxford University. She taught for a time at Morley College, and had worked as television producer for the BBC and Radio Telefís Éireann. O’Faolain was engaged at least once, but she never married. In Are You Somebody?, she speaks candidly about her fifteen-year relationship with the journalist Nell McCafferty, who published her own memoir, Nell. From 2002 until her death, O’Faolain lived much of the time with Brooklyn-based attorney John Low-Beer and his daughter Anna. They were registered as domestic partners in 2003. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuala_O%27Faolain
1921 – 2008
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were an American lesbian couple known as feminist and gay-rights activists. Martin and Lyon met in 1950, became lovers in 1952, and moved in together on Valentines Day 1953 in an apartment on Castro Street in San Francisco. They had been together for three years when they founded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in 1955, that became the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States. They published The Ladder until 1963 and then became the first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women (NOW). Both women worked to form the Council of Religion and Homosexuality (CRH) in northern California to persuade ministers to accept homosexuals into churches, and use their influence to decriminalize homosexuality in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became politically active in San Francisco’s first gay political organization, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, influenced Dianne Feinstein to sponsor a citywide bill to outlaw employment discrimination for gays and lesbians. Both served in the White House Conference on Aging in 1995. They were married on June 16, 2008 in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court’s decision legalized same-sex marriage in California. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Martin
Rosetta Reitz 1924 – 2008
Reitz was an American feminist and jazz historian who searched for and established a record label producing 18 albums of the music of the early women of jazz and the blues.She attended the University of Buffalo for one year and the University of Wisconsin – Madison for two years. After leaving college, she moved to Manhattan and worked at the Gothan Book Mart, later opening the Four Seasons, a bookstore in Greenwich Village… Throughout her varied career she worked as a stockbroker, owner of a greeting card business, a college professor and a food columnist for The Village Voice and authored a book about mushrooms Mushroom Cookery.
Reitz was one of the second wave of feminism’s earliest theory writers as author of the 1971 The Village Voice article “The Liberation of the Yiddishe Mama” and was a member of New York Radical Feminists and co-founder of the Older Women’s Liberation (OWL).She then wrote 1977 book Menopause: A Positive Approach, which was one of the first such books to have focused on menopause from the perspective of women, rather than with a medical approach.While writing the book, she listened to her music recordings which told of the strength of women, not their role as victims. Reitz noted that all the books she had read treated menopause as a dysfunction. She spent three years and spoke to 1,000 women in writing the book. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Reitz
Irena Sendler (Sendlerowa, also Krzyzanowska)
1910 – 2008
Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker. During World War II she was an activist in the Polish Underground and the Zegota Polish anti-Holocaust resistance in Warsaw. She helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto by providing them with false documents and sheltering them in individual and group children’s homes outside the Ghetto. During the World War II German occupation of Poland, Sendler lived in Warsaw while working for urban Social Welfare Departments. As early as 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, she began helping Jews by offering them food and shelter. Irena and her helpers created over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families, prior to joining the organized resistance of Zegota and the children’s division. In December 1942, the newly created Children’s Section of the Zegota (Council for Aid to Jews), nominated her (under her cover name Jolanta) to head its children’s department. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto, to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the ghetto. During the visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself. She organized the smuggling of Jewish children from the Ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys. In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Zegota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was left in the woods, unconscious and with broken arms and legs. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendlerowa
1935 – 2008
Barbara Seaman was an American author, activist, and journalist, and a principal founder of the women’s health feminism movement. Seaman was sensitized at an early age to women’s health issues when her aunt Sally died of endometrial cancer in 1959, aged 49. Her aunt’s oncologist attributed her death to Premarin, which her gynecologist had prescribed for the relief of menopausal symptoms. When the birth control pill came on the market in 1960, Barbara was writing columns for women’s magazines such as Brides and the Ladies’ Home Journal. She launched her career as a women’s health journalist and brought a new kind of health reporting to the field, writing articles that centered more on the patient and less on the medical fads of the day. Seamen was first to reveal that women lacked the information they needed to make informed decisions on child-bearing, breast-feeding, and oral contraceptives. She even went so far as to alert women to the dangers of the Pill, whose primary ingredient was estrogen (also the active ingredient in Premarin, which had contributed to the death of her aunt). Prolific output and the popularity of her published articles won Seaman membership with the prestigious Society of Magazine Writers. Through this organization she met Betty Friedan, who asked her to cover events such as the founding of NOW (1966), the founding of NARAL (1969), and other similarly important feminist developments. She was also befriended by Gloria Steinem and became a contributing editor at Ms. Magazine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Seaman
Julia May Carson
1938 – 2007
Julia May Porter Carson was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Indiana’s 7th congressional district from 1997 until her death in 2007 (numbered as the 10th District from 1997 to 2003). Carson was the first woman and first African American to represent the 7th District. She was also the second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana, after Katie Hall. Carson was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Velma V. Porter. She moved to Indianapolis while still a girl and worked in various positions to support her family. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in 1955 in Indianapolis. She then attended Martin University in Indianapolis and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. In 1965, while working as a secretary at UAW Local 550, she was hired away by newly elected congressman Andy Jacobs to do casework in his Indianapolis office. When his own electoral prospects looked dim in 1972, he encouraged Carson to run for the Indiana House of Representatives, which she did; she was elected in 1972, serving as a member for four years. In 1976, she successfully ran for the Indiana Senate, where she served for 14 years. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_May_Carson
1929 – 2007
With her brilliant runs and trills, Sills became one of the most beloved and respected sopranos in the 20th century. A famous coloratura soprano singing in opera roles worldwide, she became the general manager of the New York City Opera after retiring from performing. She became the first woman, the first performing artist and the first former head of an arts company to become chair of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and then, of the Metropolitan Opera. Sills used her celebrity to further her charity work for the prevention and treatment of birth defects. Her daughter was born profoundly deaf and her son born with severe birth defects. Barnard College awarded Sills its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction. She will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and is a recipient of the highly prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Sills
1933 – 2007
Dr. Adamsky was a leader in the second wave of the women’s movement and an activist for feminist causes and university women’s studies programs. She also founded the Women’s Studies Program at Indiana-Purdue University. She was a founding member of the National Women’s Studies Association and the Association for Women in Psychology. Passionate in her determination for women’s equality , she opened students’ eyes to different ways to look at society and earned the love of countless students over the years. Always treating people with respect, with no regard for status, class or position, Cathryn worked indefatigably to make the world a better place for women and children. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1919 – 2007
Joy Rosenheim Simonson was in her sixties when she began her career as a feminist activist. “She was one of the women who have broken down every barrier there was for women of my generation.” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, which gave Joy it’s Foremothers Award in 2005. Joy was executive director of the National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs until the Reagan Administration took over in 1982. She was fired and her replacement was a substitute schoolteacher who quickly proposed to abolish the council. Women’s groups protested, and in a speech on the House floor, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) denounced the “purge” of Ms. Simonson. In 1967, she organized the DC Commission for Women. In 1970, she helped set up what is now the National Association of Commissions for Women and served three terms as president. She was a three-term president of the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues and a member of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, which protested the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club which sponsors the Masters golf tournament. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1944 – 2007
Ivins was born in Monterey, California and raised in Houston Texas. She studied at Smith College and Columbia University’s school or journalism as well as the Institute of Political Science, Paris. Throughout her career she was know for her spunk, humor and liberal perspective. She was a watchdog and commentator about the decisions and behavior of public figures, contending the Texas legislature to be corrput, incompetent and funny. Her home-spun stories were amusing and always to the point.She was a member of the Texas Democracy Foundation Board and, as an independent journalist, her column appeared in close to 400 newspapers nationally. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Ivins
1920 – 2007
Dr. Schetlin won the prestigious S.U.N.Y. State-Wide Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 1985. Schetlin worked in higher education for 42 years, writing numerous articles for professional journals while at the same time being generous in her support of political causes, especially abortion rights for women and equal rights for minorities. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1932 – 2007
Lorraine was one of the greatest and most innovative heroes of the Second Wave health movement. She was a pioneer in the abortion movement and inventor of the Del’Em menstrual extractor. Lorraine went on to co-found with Carol Downer the Gyn Self-Help Clinics and Feminist Women’s Health Centers in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and helped influence the Supreme Court’s decision to approve abortion. She was a California State professor, a citizen activist and an author of several women’s health books. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
Jane Matilda Bolin
1908 – 2007
Judge Jane Bolin was sworn in to the bench in 1939 as the first black female judge and the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School. Fiorello LaGuardia, mayor of New York appointed Bolin as judge of the Domestic Relations Court where she served for forty years as an activist in children’s’ rights and education. She was born in Poughkeepsie, New York to a white Englishwoman, Matilda Emery and Gaius Bolin, the first African-American to graduate from Williams College in Massachusetts. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Bolin
1923 – 2007
The acclaimed writer, poet, feminist, and peace activist Grace Paley died on Wednesday in her home in Vermont at the age of 84 after a long struggle with breast cancer. As a writer, Paley is best known for her short stories examining the ordinary lives of women. Her Collected Stories, published in 1994, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and in 1993, she received the Rea Award, referred to as the Pulitzer Prize for short story writers. Paley also published several volumes of poems, and served as a poet laureate of Vermont and the first official New York State Writer. Paley was known as much for her political activism on behalf of peace and women’s rights as her literary accomplishments. In 2003, she contributed an essay called “Why Peace is (More Than Ever) a Feminist Issue” to the anthology Sisterhood Is Forever. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/grace_paley
1931 – 2007
Rule met Helen Sontoff in the early 1950’s and fell in love with her. They began living together in 1956 and lived together until Sontoff’s death in 2000. Rule published Desert of the Heart in 1964 after 22 rejections from publishers. The novel featured two women who fall in love with each other and caused Rule to receive a flood of letters from “very unhappy, even desperate” women who felt they were alone and miserable. She was sought out by Canadian media and she later wrote, “I became, for the media, the only lesbian in Canada. A role I gradually and very reluctantly accepted and used to educate people as I could.” In 1976, she moved to Galiano Island and remained there until the end of her life. In 1985, Rule’s novel was made into a movie by Donna Deitch, released as Desert Hearts becoming a lesbian classic. The Globe and Mail said of it, “the film is one of the first and most highly regarded works in which a lesbian relationship is depicted favourably.” Rule surprised some in the gay community by declaring herself against gay marriage, writing, “To be forced back into the heterosexual cage of coupledom is not a step forward but a step back into state-imposed definitions of relationship. With all that we have learned, we should be helping our heterosexual brothers and sisters out of their state-defined prisons, not volunteering to join them there.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Rule
1932 – 2007
Barbara Gittings was an unusual lesbian activist: she pre-dated feminism. An early leader of the New York Chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, she edited its publication The Ladder, and moved it to a more militant stance. Throughout decades as an activist, she worked along side gay men to achieve equality. During her time with the American Library Association’s Gay Task Force, she worked successfully to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders of American Psychiatric Association. dykestowatchoutfor.com/barbara-gittings-1932-2007
1938 – 2007
An integral part of the backbone of the women’s movement’s Second Wave Jude was a leader of NOW from the time she joined in 1967. She served on the National NOW board from 1971-1977, was coordinator of the Hollywood NOW chapter in 1976, and later was president of Los Angeles NOW. The co-editor of NOW’s national newsletter/newspaper for 15 years, Jude then founded the Feminist Majority with Eleanor Smeal, Toni Carabillo, Peg Yorkin, and Katherine Spillar, and worked there until her death. She and Carabillo met in 1963 and were partners until Toni’s death. Jude co-authored The Feminization of Power and The Feminist Chronicles, a detailed history of the modern women’s movement. She co-founded the Women’s Heritage Corporation, a publishing company that produced the Women’s Heritage Calendar and Almanac and a series of paperbacks on such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone. A graphic designer, she formed Women’s Graphic Communications, which produces and distributes books, newspapers, political buttons, and pins and designed many of the symbols and logos of the women’s movement. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1912 – 2007
Labor activist and author Tillie Olsen was born to Jewish Russian immigrants seven years after the Russian revolution. She wrote from her own experience about the lives of working-class women and was a great influence on young women writers. In 1934 she organized the packinghouse workers’ union. She and her life partner, Jack Olsen, raised four daughters and lived in San Francisco’s Mission District. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillie_Olsen
Tee A. Corinne
1943 – 2006
Native Floridean and former North Carolina resident Tee Corinne forever changed the lesbian and women’s communities through her forthright visual presentation of sexuality. Originally creating a sensation through her release of the Cunt Coloring Book (1975), she went on to create timeless photographs through the use of solarization and mandala presentation. Shortly thereafter, she found her voice in print as well, writing both fiction and nonfiction. She was a driving force in the presentation of women of all races, and disabled as well as able-bodied. In her later years, when her lover was diagnosed with cancer, she strove to find a way to incorporate cancer into her visual images. Her papers and photographs were bequeathed to the University of Oregon, which holds copyright on all images, including this one, used with permission. libweb.uoregon.edu/speccoll/mss/tee.html
1944 – 2006
Arlene Raven, an art historian, critic, and educator helped transform feminist outrage into the Woman’s Building, an iconoclastic Los Angeles institution that was a magnet for women seeking to produce art on their own terms. She founded the Woman’s Building in 1973 with artist Judy Chicago and graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville. The three women also launched the Feminist Studio Workshop, a training program that sought to merge consciousness-raising with practical art education. For most of its existence, the Woman’s Building was a source of often outlandish creativity, where painters, poets, performance artists, and others turned out work on subjects as mundane as waitressing and as disturbing as rape. Ms. Raven also co-founded and edited Chrysalis, an avant-garde feminist journal that attracted writers including Adrienne Rich, Mary Daly, and Susan Griffin. “She was one of the very earliest women . . . to begin to write women back into art history,” said Terry Wolverton, a Los Angeles writer and former director of the Woman’s Building. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1933 – 2006
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards, Governor of Texas 1991-1995
During her governorship, Richards appointed the first black University of Texas regent, the first disabled person on the human services board, the first teacher to lead the State Board of Education, the first crime victim on the state Criminal Justice Board, and the first black and female Texas Rangers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Richards
Mary Condon Gereau
1916 – 2006
Mary Condon Gereau served as president of the Equal Rights Ratification Council. She was also vice president of the National Woman’s Party from 1984 to 1991 and president of the Woman’s Party Corporation from 1990 to 1996. She was elected Montana’s Superintendent of Public Education in the 1950s, then worked for 15 years in the National Education Association’s legislative division in Washington. She was Assistant Executive Director of the White House Conference on Education in 1960, president of the Burro Club, an organization of Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill founded by then staff member of the House of Representatives, Lyndon Johnson, from 1983 to 1986. Her rich background included time spent with the Red Cross in India and Sri Lanka in the 1940.s. In Washington, D.C. this granddaughter of Irish immigrants was well known. The phrase among the national education community was, “Go see Mary.” When Congress was considering the Equal Rights Amendment, Mrs. Gereau served as the president of the Equal Rights Ratification Council. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
Richard A. Graham
1920 – 2006
Richard Graham was an original member of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and help found the National Organization for Women because of what he saw as the commission’s intransigence on sex-discrimination issues. At the time a Republican, Mr. Graham was one of the inaugural group of five commissioners appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965. Born out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the commission was created to address issues of discrimination in the workplace. He quickly came to feel that while the commission was willing to tackle issues of race discrimination, it concerned itself far less with those of sex discrimination, despite the inclusion in the Civil Rights Act of Title VII, which specifically prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex. In news accounts of the NOW’s founding in 1966, Mr. Graham was said to have quietly told several of the organization’s founders, among them Betty Friedan, that to truly advance the cause of gender equality, American women would need a political lobby on a par with the N.A.A.C.P. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1933 – 2006
A feminist activist, involved since the late 60’s in the women’s movement, Alida worked in sculpture, film, video and multimedia and used her art in feminist demonstrations. Her best known works include the “Earth-Mother Goddess” and “Women Bound and Unbound” a multimedia performance presented at the National Women’s Conference in Houston. One of the founding members of Women/Artist/Filmmakers, Inc. Alida was an Assistant professor at Montclair State University for 26 years, teaching film and video as an art form, and film history. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1919 – 2006
Lawrence Lader,a writer who so successfully marshaled his literary and political efforts in support of abortion rights, was called the father of the feminist movement by Betty Friedan. Mr. Lader was a major voice in the abortion debate for four decades, becoming a lightning rod for its critics as well as a beacon for its proponents. He wrote influential books and articles on the subject, organized ministers to refer women wanting abortions to doctors as well as referring 2,000 himself, helped found what was long known as the National Abortion Rights Action League and helped win New York State’s repeal of abortion restrictions in 1970. He unsuccessfully sued the Internal Revenue Service to end the Roman Catholic Church’s tax exemptions on the ground that its opposition to abortion had veered into the political arena. He successfully challenged some restrictions on the drug RU-486, known as the morning-after pill, and arranged to manufacture a version of it in the United States. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
Octavia E. Butler
1947 – 2006
Octavia Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. Butler was born and raised in Pasadena, California. She was raised by her grandmother and her mother, who worked as a maid to support the family. Butler grew up in a struggling, racially mixed neighborhood. She was paralytically shy and a daydreamer who was later diagnosed as dyslexic. She began writing at the age of 10 “to escape loneliness and boredom”; she was 12 when she began a lifelong interest in science fiction. (photo by Nikolas Coukouma)
1950 – 2006
Wendy’s parents had come to America from central Europe as children in the 1920s. Her maternal grandfather Simon Schleifer was a Yiddish playwright who settled at Patterson, New Jersey. As a child, Wendy demonstrated her enthusiasm for show business straight away, attending dance lessons Saturday mornings before going to the matinee on Broadway. She went on to Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, attended summer school in playwriting at Smith College, and then enrolled at Yale’s School of Drama. She graduated with a Master’s degree, for which the thesis was a one-act version of what became her first play, Uncommon Women and Others. It opened off-Broadway in 1977 at the Marymount Manhattan Theatre. An account of the choices presented by feminism to a group of women at an elite women’s college in the early 1970s, it starred Glenn Close and when filmed for television the following year, Meryl Streep. The play is still regularly revived in regional theatre in America, and won several awards. Wendy was then commissioned by the Phoenix Theatre to write Isn’t It Romantic, about a friendship between two women, which became a box-office hit. Her greatest success came with The Heidi Chronicles which, after workshops in Seattle the previous year, opened in New York on December 11 1988, before transferring. It starred Joan Allen as an art history professor, and cuts from the growth of the women’s movement in the 1960s to late 20th-century themes such as Aids, single parenthood and yuppies. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
Judith Lightfoot Cormack
1937 – 2006
Judith Gumpert [Lightfoot] Cormack’s involvement in the Women’s Movement began in 1969 when she joined the newly-formed Atlanta branch of National Organization for Women (NOW). Through her activities with NOW, Cormack became a significant figure in the Women’s Movement both in Georgia and nationally. She was a founding member of the Georgia Women’s Political Caucus (1971), a member of the 1972 Georgia Commission on the Status of Women, and served as a member, southern regional director, and chair of the board during NOW’s split in the 1970s. In 1978 Cormack returned to Australia where she has lived for over twenty years. www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1948 – 2006
An Irish author, journalist and critic for newspapers, magazines and many international broadcast media, Clare was born in Dublin, and began her career as a journalist at the (now defunct) Irish Press. In 1974 she won the Journalist of the Year award when working in the city for the Evening Press. Later in her career she edited the glossy magazine Image, before largely giving up journalism to focus on a career as an author. Her novels are Holy Pictures (1983), Last Resorts (1984), Black Baby (1988), Home Rule (1992), Beloved Stranger (1999), Room for a Single Lady (1997) (which won the Spirit of Light Award and was optioned for a film) and Emma Brown (2003). The latter work is a continuation of an 20-page fragment written by Charlotte Brontë before her death.
Her short stories are collected in A Nail on the Head (1983), Concerning Virgins (1990) and That Bad Woman (1995). The film Making Waves, based on her short story Some Ladies on a Tour, was nominated for an Oscar in 1988. Her non-fiction includes The Agony and the Ego (1994), and The Literary Companion to Cats (1994). Her work has been translated as far afield as Russia and Hong Kong. In later life, she lived in County Wicklow with her husband Alan Wilkes. She died after a lengthy struggle with ovarian cancer, aged 58. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clare_Boylan
June Bundy Csida
Author, feminist leader, and former Hollywood publicist. In the early ’70s, when discussing rape was still taboo and few victims reported the crime, feminist Csida and her husband wrote Rape: How to Avoid It & What to Do If You Can’t. June Bundy Csida was a member of Los Angeles NOW since 1970 when she coordinated a search for surviving pre-World War I suffragists to participate in NOW’s historic Women’s Strike for Equality celebration on August 26. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the day women won the right to vote. Ms. Csida is also the author of: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The 19th Century Renaissance Woman www.vfa.us/Forget_Them_Not.htm#Passing%20Sisters
1921 – 2006
Betty Friedan, author of the book The Feminine Mystique that helped initiate the contemporary women’s movement. Her book clearly described the lesser status of women and talked about the lives of women in industrial society as well as women who were full-time homemakers. She courageously started an organization, the national Organization for women and launched an entire movement at the same time. en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Betty_Friedan
Coretta Scott King
1927 – 2006
Coretta King was known as an important activist in her own right. She became and international advocate for human rights and founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She was a long-time advocate for peace and human rights. The American Library Association gives the Coretta Scott King award to African American writers and illustrators for outstanding educational contributions to children’s literature. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coretta_King
1912 – 2005
Mary Alexander “Molly” Yard was an American feminist.Through service as an assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt and later work as a U.S. administrator, social activist, and feminist who served as National Organization for Women (NOW)’s eighth president from 1987 to 1991, connected first-wave with second-wave feminism. Yard was born in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, the daughter of Methodist missionaries. She graduated in 1933 from Swarthmore College, a coeducational college that was also the alma mater of Alice Paul. Yard led a successful drive to eliminate the sorority system after a Jewish student was denied admission. She became active in Democratic Party politics and in the late 1940s.She headed the Western Pennsylvania presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and George McGovern in 1972 and headed the unsuccessful campaign to get NAACP President Byrd Brown the Democratic nomination to Congress. She helped found Americans for Democratic Action, America’s oldest independent liberal lobbying organization. As NOW’s political director from 1985 to 1987, she was instrumental in the successful 1986 campaign to defeat pro-life referendums in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Oregon.In 1991, Yard was honored in Paris by the French Alliance of Women for Democratization for her work on reproductive rights. She received the Feminist Majority Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Yard
1913 – 2005
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”. Parks was the dignified African American seamstress who refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man.She was arrested and tried for civil disobedience. Her action launched Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern civil rights movement and inspired generations of activists. Parks’s act of defiance created the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Rosa_parks
Photo: Barbara Savage Cheresh
Molly Malone Cook
1925 – 2005
Molly Malone Cook , born January 5, 1925, was a great Bohemian American, photographer, gallerist, literary agent and bookseller. She set up the first photographic gallery on the East Coast, was sometime assistant to the writer Norman Mailer, and lived with Mary Oliver, perhaps America’s best-loved living poet. Even in the last decade of her life Cook remained a fearless spirit of immaculate taste and fierce opinions, stocky of build, with a shock of white hair. “She could be acerbic, but underneath it, she was the warmest woman I’ve ever met,” as her friend the publisher Helene Atwan observed. Cook lived with Oliver in the Bohemian enclave of Provincetown, at the end of Cape Cod’s outstretched arm.; a place historically home to artists, writers and, latterly, tourists and gays.
Shirley A. Chisholm
1924 – 2005
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, born November 30, 1924 was an American politician, educator and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York’s 12th District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to Congress. On January 23, 1972, she became the first major party African-American candidate for President of the United States. She won 152 delegates. Other women who ran for President of the United States in 1972 include Linda Jenness and Evelyn Reed. Mrs. Chisholm was an outspoken, steely educator-turned-politician who shattered racial and gender barriers as she became a national symbol of liberal politics in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Her slogan was “unbought and unbossed”. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/shirley_chisholm
1946 – 2005
Andrea Dworkin, a radical feminist whose early activism included working tirelessly against the Vietnam War. She was a strong voice against pornography that she described as a tool by which society controls, objectifies, and subjugates women. With Catharine MacKinnon, she helped draft a Minnesota ordinance that allowed victims of rape and other sexual crimes to sue pornographers for damage, under the logic that the culture created by pornography supported sexual violence against women. en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Andrea_Dworkin
1936 – 2002
One of the most widely published African-American writers. she provided a constant challenge to oppression. Poet, essayist, journalist, dramatist, academic, teacher, cultural and political activist. Among African-American writers, she was undoubtedly one of the most widely published, the author of well over two dozen books of non-fiction, poetry, fiction, drama and children’s writing. She emerged onto the political and literary scene in the late 1960s, when the movements demanding attention were for civil rights and women’s liberation, and anti-war. Her battles were for freedom, whether that involved planning a new architecture for Harlem with her mentor Buckminster Fuller, or speaking out on the Palestinian cause. She spoke out against, or did something about, oppression wherever it was to be found. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/JuneJordan
Kay Louise Gardner
1941 – 2002
Kay was a musician, composer, author, and musical producer involved in using music for creative and healing purposes. Her compositions include works for chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra, choir, flute, voice and piano. She was very active in promoting the work of contemporary female musicians and composers. Born in Freeport, New York, Gardner wrote and performed her first piano composition at the age of four. Gardner is considered a founder of the women’s recording industry, and founded her own independent record label, Ladyslipper Records. Gardner produced 17 albums and composed works for piano, orchestra, and choir. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Gardner
Nonsexist-language pioneer Kate Swift, 87, died early Saturday morning after a brief encounter with abdominal cancer. Her generous legacy to the world includes her revolutionary influence on our language as well as her productive activism (she helped effect Connecticut’s marriage equality act, protect prochoice legislation, promote progressive candidates, protest the war on Iraq, and conserve the environment). She also leaves numerous admirers who all somehow numbered themselves among her closest and best friends.
Barbara Peabody Swift, always known as Kate, was born in 1923 to parents who were newspaper and magazine journalists, and she obtained her own journalism degree from the University of North Carolina in 1944. Thereafter, she worked as a newswriter, science writer for the Museum of Natural History, editor for the Army’s information and education department, public relations officer for the Girl Scouts of America, press liaison for the Hayden Planetarium, and, in 1965, director of the news bureau of the school of medicine at Yale. Rosalie Maggio and Women’s Media Center
Nonsexist-language pioneer Kate Swift, 87, died early Saturday morning after a brief encounter with abdominal cancer. Her generous legacy to the world includes her revolutionary influence on our language as well as her productive activism (she helped effect Connecticut’s marriage equality act, protect prochoice legislation, promote progressive candidates, protest the war on Iraq, and conserve the environment). She also leaves numerous admirers who all somehow numbered themselves among her closest and best friends.
Barbara Peabody Swift, always known as Kate, was born in 1923 to parents who were newspaper and magazine journalists, and she obtained her own journalism degree from the University of North Carolina in 1944. Thereafter, she worked as a newswriter, science writer for the Museum of Natural History, editor for the Army’s information and education department, public relations officer for the Girl Scouts of America, press liaison for the Hayden Planetarium, and, in 1965, director of the news bureau of the school of medicine at Yale. Women’s Media Center article
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