Women & Herstory
March 12, 2019
“How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers name.”- Alice Walker
March is Women’s History month and it was difficult to choose just one woman to highlight so I have chosen four. I have chosen women who are not often celebrated or taught in our history books. For me, it is always challenge separate Womanhood from Motherhood, so in this edition of News and Notes the theme is the connection between these two nouns. Upon deeper reflection, whether you are a biological or spiritual Mother, a Grandmother, Godmother, or Grand Aunt all women have one common thread and that is the ability to create life, to nurture and protect, as well as, to become trailblazers and visionary leaders, teachers, lawyers, inventors, writers and scientists. That is a powerful role to have in the world we live in.
“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see-or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.” --Alice Walker
Born to sharecropper parents in Eatonton, Georgia, in 1944, Alice Walker grew up to become a highly acclaimed novelist, essayist and poet. She is best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and soon was adapted for the big screen by Steven Spielberg. Walker is also known for her work as an activist. Alice Walker’s career as a writer took flight with the publication of her third novel, The Color Purple, in 1982. Set in the early 1900’s the novel explores the female African - American experience through the life and struggles of its narrator Celie, who suffers terrible abuse at the hands of her father, and later, from her husband. On a personal note, I watched this movie with my mother Lucila, at the old theater The UA Valentine on Fordham Road in the Bronx in 1983. We both cried throughout the movie and never really discussed why we were so deeply moved by the emotions that were evoked by the powerful stories of a painful past, that although left unspoken, were understood.
Olga D. Gonzalez Sanabria
González Sanabria was born in Puerto Rico. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Puerto Rico and her Master of Science from the University of Toledo, both in chemical engineering. She is a patentee in her field and has authored/co – authored over 30 technical reports and presentations for journals and conferences. In 2006, she received the Presidential Rank Award, in 2004, she received the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award and in 2003 she was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. She has also received numerous prestigious awards including the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership (2002), Women of Color in Technology Career Achievement Award (2000), NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1993), and R&D 100 Award (1988).
Ida B. Wells
Ida Bell Wells (July 16, 1862 to March 25, 1931), better known as Ida B. Wells, was an African-American journalist, abolitionist and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She went on to found and become integral in groups striving for African-American justice. Ms. Wells was truly one of a kind courageous woman born of a slave who sought to change the circumstances of her family and her people.
Mary Smith Peake
Mary Smith Peake was a teacher and humanitarian, best known for starting a school for the children of former slaves starting in the fall of 1861 under what became known as the Emancipation Oak tree in present-day Hampton, Virginia near Fort Monroe. The 1st Black teacher hired by the American Missionary Association, she was associated with its later founding of Hampton University in 1868. The historic Emancipation Oak (planted in 1831) is located on the campus of Hampton University in what is now the City of Hampton. It is designated a National Historic Landmark by the Department of Interior and one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society.
February Celebrations & Highlights
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