Celebrating Women in History & Today: October

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Deepak Chopra Quote

We may not realize it but, every month of the year marks an opportunity to recognize important women in history and the present.

  • October 3, 1904 – Mary McLeod Bethune opens her first school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida

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  • October 4, 1976 – Barbara Walters becomes the first woman co-anchor of the evening news (at ABC)
  • October 4, 1993 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the U.S. Supreme Court as its second woman Justice
  • October 8, 1993 – Toni Morrison becomes the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • October 10, 1983 – Dr. Barbara McClintock receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her discovery in genetics about mobile genetic elements

  • October 11, 1984 – Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan is the first U.S. woman astronaut to “walk” in space during Challenger flight
  • October 15, 1948 – Dr. Frances L. Willoughby is the first woman doctor in the regular U.S. Navy
  • October 16, 1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the U.S.’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York
  • October 23, 1910 – Blanche Stuart Scott is the first American woman pilot to make a public flight

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  • October 24, 1956 – Reverend Margaret Towner is the first woman ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church
  • October 28, 1958 – Mary Roebling is the first woman director of a stock exchange (American Stock Exchange)

And…some important birthdays to remember this month:

  • October 1, 1935 – Dame Julie Andrews, versatile film and stage actress, won an academy award for “Mary Poppins” (1964)
  • October 2 Alisa Armstrong, SIHB member since February, 2016
  • October 2 Stephanie Lewson, SIHB member since July, 2017
  • October 3, 1897 (1982) – Ruth Bronson, Bureau of Indian Affairs official who got loans for Indian students, National Congress of American Indians forced authorities to honor treaties (1944), wrote Indians are People, Too
  • October 4, 1908 (1995) – Eleanor Flexner, influential author and historian, wrote Century of Struggle: The Women’s Rights Movement in the United States (1950)
  • October 5 Maria Olmedo, SIHB member since November, 2016
  • October 5, 1959 – Maya Lin, artist and architect of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. (1980-82) and other public sculptures, author of Boundaries (2000)
  • October 6, 1914 (1997) – Mary Louise Smith, Republican Party committeewoman and chair (1974-77), supporter of ERA and pro-choice

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  • October 6, 1917 (1977) – Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights leader and voting rights crusader, helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)
  • October 7, 1913 (2005) – Elizabeth Janeway, social analyst of 20th century women’s equality drive, wrote Man’s World, Women’s Place (1971) and Powers of the Weak (1980)
  • October 7, 1920 (1994) – Kathryn Clarenback, founding member of the National Organization for Women, executive director of the National Committee on the Observance of International Women’s Year (1977)
  • October 9, 1823 (1893) – Mary Shadd Cary, first black woman editor in North America, “Provincial Freeman” (1853) in Windsor, Canada, helped black freed slaves know their rights
  • October 9, 1884 (1982) – Helene Deutsch, psychoanalyst, wrote 2-volume The Psychology of Women (1944-45) with emphasis on motherhood

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  • October 11, 1884 (1962) – Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights advocate, feminist, author, world diplomat, former First Lady (1933-45)
  •  October 12, 1908 (1997) – Ann Petry, reporter for African-American newspapers in 1930s, wrote The Street, first African-American novel to sell more than a million copies (1946)
  • October 13, 1897 (1979) – Edith Sampson, lawyer, first black American to be appointed as a United Nations delegate, first to be elected U.S. circuit judge
  • October 16, 1895 (1989) – Marguerite Rawalt, lawyer, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (1954-56), supporter of the ERA and entire feminist agenda, particularly including the word “sex” in Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • October 17, 1943 – Vilma Socorro Martinez, lawyer, first female U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (2009), civil rights crusader, one of first women on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

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  • October 22, 1834 (1915) – Abigail Scott Duniway, early western author and Pacific Northwest suffrage leader, (1871-1915), succeeded in winning woman suffrage in Oregon (1912), wrote Path Breaking (1914)
  • October 23 Gerry De Boer, SIHB member since July, 2016
  • October 24, 1830 (1917) – Belva Lockwood, attorney, first woman admitted to practice law before Supreme Court (1879), ran for U.S. President in 1884 and 1888
  • October 25, 1912 (1996) – Minnie Pearl, Southern vaudeville circuit performer, joined “The Grand Ole Opry” in 1940 and stayed for 50 years
  • October 26, 1911 (1972) – Mahalia Jackson, internationally acclaimed gospel singer, sang at the 1963 March on Washington
  • October 26, 1947 – Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2009-13), Senator from New York (2001-09), former First Lady (1993-2001)
  • October 27, 1940 – Maxine Hong Kingston, award-winning author of The Woman Warrior, an autobiography about the Chinese-American female experience
  • 932) – Anna Dickinson, orator, early champion of the rights of women and blacks, supported interracial marriage, attacked the double standard of morality
  • October 31, 1860 (1927) – Juliette Low, founder and first president of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
  • October 31, 1906 (1996) – Louise Talma, composer, first American woman to receive the Sibelius Medal, taught music theory and musicianship at Hunter College for 51 years
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Welcome October!

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For more information about women and important events in women’s history, go to http://www.nwhp.org/events/october/

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