Tag Archives: Feminism

National Women’s Hall of Fame

National Women’s Hall of Fame

National Women's Hall of Fame
National Women’s Hall of Fame logo
Formed on February 20, 1969

Happy Anniversary

It’s never too late to learn something new. Today we will start with a matching quiz. In the left column are the names of the outstanding women who were  the National Women’s Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The right column lists accomplishments.

Can you match? I could not!

Octavia E Butler A…known for her large-scale, collaborative art installation pieces about birth, creation, and the role of women in history and culture.
Judy Chicago B… retired from professional soccer in 2004 after seventeen years, two World Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals.
Rebecca Halsted C…a multidisciplinary artist: a poet, musician, playwright, painter, and author. In her works, Harjo draws on First Nations storytelling and histories, as well as feminist, indigenous, and environmental and social justice poetic traditions.
Mia Hamm D…known for her activism and interest in education equality, women’s rights, and the temperance movement
Joy Harjo E…became the first female in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level when she was promoted to senior Commanding General for logistics in Iraq.
Emily Howland F…became the first science-fiction writer, and one of the first Black women, to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship grant.
Michelle Obama G…during her tenure at PepsiCo, the company grew its net revenue by more than eighty percent, and PepsiCo’s total shareholder return was one hundred and sixty-two percent.
Indra Nooyi H…NASA mathematician, pioneer in racial and gender equality, and contributor to one of our nation’s first triumphs in human spaceflight
Katherine Johnson I… established herself as a strong advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. She created: Let’s Move!, a program aimed at ending childhood obesity; the Reach Higher Initiative to help students navigate and better understand job opportunities

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Seneca Falls

National Women's Hall of Fame
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott

A group of men and women founded the National Women’s Hall of Fame on  February 20, 1969 in Seneca Falls, New York. where Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, two renowned leaders of the US suffragette movement, organized the first Women’s Right Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848.

National Women's Hall of Fame

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Showcasing great women

National Women's Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame’s mission is, “Showcasing great women…Inspiring all!”

According to its site: National Women’s Hall of Fame is open on the 1st floor of the historic Seneca Knitting Mill on the Seneca-Cayuga branch of the Erie Canal in Seneca Falls, New York. Our introductory exhibits are designed to show the world our vision for the future exhibits when we complete additional renovations of the Mill, celebrate Inductees, and showcase stimulating stories of past and present hard-won achievements.

Included in the introductory exhibits is a new Hall of Fame display listing our Inductees and their areas of accomplishment that visitors can browse. There is a section called “Why Here?” highlighting why all of this history happened in Seneca Falls. We tell the story of the Seneca Knitting Mill and the women who worked there. We invite visitors to delve into the history of what happens when women innovate or lead with an interactive exhibit that challenges widely-held assumptions. Visitors can “weave” themselves into the story in a participatory exhibit, and we ask visitors for their own stories of women who have inspired them. The exhibits encourage visitors to engage in creating our future and to understand the possibility of a world where women are equal partners in leadership.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Here is an informative 2-minute introduction about the Hall by a few of the women who are members, watch the following:

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Who’s who?

In 1995, renowned author Octavia E. Butler became the first science-fiction writer, and one of the first Black women, to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship grant. The author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Sower, a New York Times 1993 Notable Book of the Year, and recently a New York Times Bestseller, Butler was acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and acute social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the near future.

Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career spans over five decades. She is known for her large-scale, collaborative art installation pieces about birth, creation, and the role of women in history and culture. Her influence goes beyond the art community, as evidenced by her inclusion in hundreds of international publications. A pioneer of feminist art, in 1974 she created her most well-known work, The Dinner Party, produced with the participation of hundreds of volunteers.

During her nearly three-decade career in the U.S. military, Rebecca “Becky” Halstead achieved multiple historic milestones. In 2004 she became the first female in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level when she was promoted to senior Commanding General for logistics in Iraq. In this role she was responsible for leading over 200 multi-disciplined units, located across 55 different bases, providing supply, maintenance, transportation, and distribution services support to over 250,000 personnel serving in Iraq.

Hailed as a soccer icon, Mia Hamm retired from professional soccer in 2004 after seventeen years, two World Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals, all while serving as the face of not merely one sport, but rather an entire generation of female athletes. She is remembered as one of the best soccer players in history and one of the most important and recognizable female athletes of all time. In 1987, at just fifteen years old, Hamm was the youngest woman ever to play in a match for the U.S. Senior Squad, the beginning of an illustrious career of firsts.

A member of the Mvskoke Nation, Joy Harjo is a multidisciplinary artist: a poet, musician, playwright, painter, and author. In her works, Harjo draws on First Nations storytelling and histories, as well as feminist, indigenous, and environmental and social justice poetic traditions. Her poetry often centers around the need for remembrance of ancestral lands and culture, and the power of language and song to return us to a balance with the earth and her peoples. Harjo is the author of more than nine books of poetry, including An American Sunrise, two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, several children’s books, plays, and literary anthologies.

Known for her activism and interest in education equality, women’s rights, and the temperance movement, Emily Howland was a formidable woman. Born in 1827 to a family of the Society of Friends in Sherwood, NY, Howland’s valuing of human equality was encouraged by her father, Slocum, an Underground Railroad stationmaster. Throughout her life, Howland practiced the teachings of the Quaker community and continued to actively fight for equality.

NASA mathematician, pioneer in racial and gender equality, and contributor to one of our nation’s first triumphs in human spaceflight, Katherine Johnson is remembered as one of America’s most inspirational figures. In 1939, two years after graduating from the historically Black university West Virginia State University, Johnson was one of three Black students handpicked to integrate West Virginia University’s graduate school.

As a business executive and the former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi has consistently ranked among the world’s most powerful people. During her tenure at PepsiCo, the company grew its net revenue by more than eighty percent, and PepsiCo’s total shareholder return was one hundred and sixty-two percent. Under Nooyi’s leadership, PepsiCo expanded significantly, acquiring Tropicana Products, Inc., merging with Quaker Oats Company and PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers, and acquiring the Russian company Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, resulting in the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

Advocate, author, lawyer, and 44th First Lady of the United States—the first Black person to serve in the role—Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most influential and iconic women of the 21st century. During her time in the White House, from 2009-2017, she established herself as a strong advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. As First Lady, she created: Let’s Move!, a program aimed at ending childhood obesity; the Reach Higher Initiative to help students navigate and better understand job opportunities and get the education necessary for these jobs; Joining Forces, an initiative she co-led with Dr. Jill Biden to support military veterans, service members, and military families;

Link to more about each woman.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Women's Liberation Movement Redstockings
from Redstockings site

When people speak of “the 60s” they are typically speaking of the individuals and groups who marked that often counter-cultural decade: Martin Luther King, Jr. JFK. The Beatles. Bob Dylan. Malcolm X. Muhammad Ali.  Vietnam War. LBJ. Nixon. Black Panthers. Peace movement. Woodstock. NOW. Stonewall.

And if one had to pick one year of the 60s that was more 60-ish than any other, 1968 would be high on the list.

The Tet Offensive in January. The publication of ” Soul on Ice” by Eldridge Cleaver in February. My Lai Massacre in March. King assassination in April. Poor People’s Campaign  in May. Robert Kennedy assassination in June. American Indian Movement  founded in July. Riots during Democratic Convention in Chicago in August. Miss America protest in September. Tommie Smith and John Carlos protest at Olympics during medal ceremony in October.  Shirley Chisholm first Black woman elected to Congress in November.  And in December, Apollo 8 completed the first manned orbit of the moon.

A pretty good representation of “those” 60s.

Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Miss America

Let’s go back to that Miss America protest in September. It was organized by the New York Radical Women and during the protest women threw pots, false eyelashes, mops, and other items into a trash can. Despite the lore, they did not burn bras. The protesters also successfully unfurled a large “Women’s Liberation” banner  inside the contest hall. (One wonders what President Donald Trump would have to say about either happening today?)

Women's Liberation Movement Redstockings
1968 Miss America protest in Atlantic City (photo from Redstockings)
Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Redstockings

On January 31, 1969, Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone formed  the group Redstockings after the breakup of New York Radical Women. According to their site“Redstockings” was a name taken in 1969 …to represent the union of two traditions: the “bluestocking” label disparagingly pinned on feminists of earlier centuries–and “red” for revolution.

Women's Liberation Movement Redstockings
Redstocking stamp
Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Changes

The group has gone through several changes since its founding, but its mission remains the same. From the beginning of its 1969 manifesto:

After centuries of individual and preliminary political struggle, women are uniting to achieve their final liberation from male supremacy.  Redstockings is dedicated to building this unity and winning our freedom.  

I had never heard of Redstockings, which is likely my own indictment. Perhaps you have not either.

Perhaps we will now.

References: Redstockings site 

And…

Women’s Liberation Movement Redstockings

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Lucy Burns Force Fed
Lucy Burns

Lucy Burns Suffragist

On November 21, 1913 the court fined suffragist Lucy Burns $1 for chalking the sidewalk in front of the White House (NYT article). The name Lucy Burns was not one that was a familiar name to me until I dug deeper into why the 1960s were what they were.

She was born on July 28, 1879 to an Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn, New York. While studying in Europe, Burns became involved in the British suffragist movement.

Lucy Burns Force Fed

London

Alice Paul

In London, on November 11, 1909, police arrested Alice Paul, a fellow American, for throwing stones through a window at the Guildhall while the Lord Mayor’s banquet was in progress. Inside the hall, Burns found Winston Churchill, waved a tiny banner in his face, and asked him, “How can you dine here while women are starving in prison?”

Four years later, in April 1913, back in the United States Alice Paul and Lucy Burns founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage . In 1916, Burns helped organize the National Woman’s Party.  She advocated the cause of “votes for women,” she organized, lobbied, wrote, edited, traveled, marched, spoke, rallied and picketed.

1917 was a pivotal year in the suffragist movement. Women continued to demonstrate in front of the White House trying to get President Wilson to change his view on the right of women to vote.

On June 20, 1917, targeting the Russian envoys visiting President Wilson, Burns and Dora Lewis held a large banner in front of the White House that stated: “To the Russian envoys: We the women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million American women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement…Tell our government it must liberate its people before it can claim free Russia as an ally.”

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Continued protests/Repeated arrests

An angry crowd destroyed the banner, but despite the crowds’ attacks, Burns arrived two days later with Katharine Morey carrying a similar banner; police arrested them for obstructing traffic.

Occoqual Workhouse torture revealed

 

Burns wrote that going to prison for picketing would be “the last whack of a hammer…” (she served more time in jail than any other suffragists in America). Authorities arrested her in June 1917 and sentenced her to 3 days; arrested again in September, 1917, Sentenced to 60 days. Again in October 1917, she declared their status as political prisoners and Burns and 13 other suffragists, initiated a hunger strike at Occoquan Workhouse to protest the unjust treatment of Alice Paul. Her strike lasted almost three weeks.

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Force Fed

On November 21, 1917, officials began force-feeding the hunger strikers. Unable to pry open Burns’s mouth, officials insert glass tube up her nostril, causing significant bleeding and pain.

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Responding to increasing public pressure and the likely overturning of prisoners’ convictions on appeal, on November 27 and 28, government authorities ordered unconditional release of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and 20 other suffrage prisoners.

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Jail for Freedom pin

And on December 6 – 9, 1917, at the Conference of National Women’s Party officers and National Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., the suffrage prisoners were each presented with a special commemorative “Jailed for Freedom” pin.

Lucy Burns Force Fed

Exhausted

From the Sewall Belmont site: In 1920, exhausted from constant campaigning, Lucy declared at a meeting that she would fight no more and said, “…we have done all this for women, and we have sacrificed everything we possessed for them.” She was not present when Paul unfurled the victory banner at headquarters.

Burns spent the rest of her life in Brooklyn, caring for her family and working with the Catholic Church. One of the bravest and most militant members of the National Woman’s Party, Lucy Burns’ articulate speeches, supreme leadership and brilliant strategizing greatly contributed to the achievement of woman suffrage.

Lucy Burns Institute

And the Lucy Burns Institute is  located in Middleton, Wisconsin. It was founded in December 2006 and sponsors Ballotpedia:the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Our goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. We are firmly committed to neutrality in our content.It continues her struggle.”

From the Institute’s site: The Institute is named in honor of Lucy Burns, a suffragette who helped to organize the National Woman’s Party in 1916. In her work to advocate the cause of “votes for women,” she organized, lobbied, wrote, edited, traveled, marched, spoke, rallied and picketed. When she was eventually arrested for her activities, she led a hunger strike in prison and was ultimately force-fed. She knew that being able to participate in a democracy by voting was an essential way to express our human dignity. For this goal, she was willing to fight and suffer.

Lucy Burns Museum

In 2018, the Workhouse Arts Center completed renovation of a 10,000 square foot barracks building on campus to house the Lucy Burns Museum. The museum is open and in an installation of professional history exhibits telling the story of the 91 years of prison history and the story of the suffragists who were imprisoned here in 1917 for picketing the White House for women’s right to vote.

The clip below is a piece of a speech that Emma Watson gave at the UN in 2014. The past is prologue.
Lucy Burns Force Fed