- Civil War scout,
- civil rights activist,
- political activist, and an
2017 International Women’s Day Quote:
“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations” – Mae Carol Jamison
In 1992, returning from a flight on the Space Orbiter Endeavor, Dr. Jamison said about women and women of color:
“More women should demand to be involved. It’s our right. This is one area were can get in on the ground floor and possibly help to direct where space exploration will go in the future.”
Mae Carol Jamison was born in 1956 and is an American:
- former NASA astronaut,
- actress in an episode of Star Trek: The next Generation and a
She has been inducted in the national Women’s Hall of Fame and in international Space Hall of Fame. Did I mention she was the first black women to venture into space?
From kindergarten forward she told teachers she wanted to be a scientist and they channeled her to nursing. She began studying dance at 8, entered high school at 12 and joined the cheerleading team and Modern Dance Club. She learned ballet, jazz, modern dance and she aspired to be a dancer. At 16, she was off to Stanford where she was head to the Black Students Union and choreographed musical theater productions.
During her senior year in college she was still struggling with medial school or doctor. So, she got a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B. A in African and African-American studies. . Her mother helped her clarifying her career path by telling her: “You can always dance if you’re a doctor, but you can’t doctor if you’re a dancer.” And yes, she has a dance studio in her home.
When asked by a 12 year old girl she told CNN:
“She asked, How did being a dancer help you be an astronaut? Because dancers have to be very disciplined. You have to practice all the time. You have to constantly rehearse and pay attention to the people around you. You have to memorize complicated structures and scenarios. You have to be pretty thick-skinned as well because you have to be able to take criticism and apply it. All of those things are valuable.”
Dr. Jamison is one of the most remarkable women I have read about recently. She spends her time giving back and encouraging other your woman to pursue their dreams. The list of her accomplishments/honors/publications is long and best viewed on her Wikipedia page.
In 2017, LEGO released the “Women of NASA” set, with minifigures of Jemison, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Nancy Grace Roman.
Other places to learn about her are:
- Mae Jemison: Dancing to Space – Freshly Feminist ›
- Mae Jemison: The Cosmic Dance – YouTube ›
- Five facts about Mae Jemison, doctor, dancer, and the first woman of … ›
Maurer, Richard (2003). The Wright Sister: Katharine Wright and her famous brothers
Dann, Patty (2020). The Wright Sister: A Novel
McCullough, David The Wright Brothers
Photo: Smithsonian Institution
Rosalie Edge (1877-1965) born Mabel Rosalie Barrow in New York City a wealthy socialite became a dedicated suffragist and after the passage of the 19th amendment, she joined other bird watchers in Central Park and found a new cause that became her life’s work. When reading about the wholesale killing of 70,000 bald eagles in the Alaskan territory, she became a conservation activist and later took on the National Audubon Society. In 1934 she ended the slaughter of hawks and eagles on a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania by buying the property and turning it into a sanctuary that still exits today https://www.hawkmountain.org/ .
She influenced the founders of the Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. In the 1960s, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary provided the author and scientist, Rachel Carson, with the migration data that enabled her to link the decline in the juvenile raptor population to DDT for her book, Silent Spring. She led national grassroots campaigns to create Olympic National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. In 1940 she lobbied Congress to purchase 8,000 acres of old growth sugar pines on the perimeter of Yosemite destined for logging.
Ms Edge was one of the first people to sound the alarm that “it was every person’s civic duty to protect nature.” In the past, conservation was only about preserving species that had quantifiable economic value. Projecting all species was a dramatic shift as little knowledge existed that quantified the value of even the smallest species in the world.
In 1948, the New Yorker described her as “the only honest, unselfish, indomitable hellcat in the history of conservation” (New Yorker, April 17, 1948).
Dr. Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was born in Providence RI above her father’s restaurant, her mother, Yin Lan Ng, role modeled what it was to be a feminist. Boggs went to college at Barnard and then received her Ph. D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. She faced discrimination in the work force not just because she was a woman but also because of her Chinese heritage. In the 1940s, she took a low-paying job at the University of Chicago’s Philosophy Library. During this time, she began the her life’s work of activism, an activist focus on the struggles in the African-American Community.
In 1953, she married James Boggs, a black auto worker and political activist and they furthered their work in Detroit. Together, they tackled labor relations, civil rights, feminism, Black Power, Asian Americans, and the environment. She was active in the Black Power movement alongside Malcolm X and later became devoted to Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance.
In 2009, she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. She is the author of many books with her husband and she died after her 100th birthday. Her autobiography, written in 1998, Living for Change and her re-released “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century” are still available and of value in today’s times. She founded food co-ops, youth groups and wrote columns for the Michigan Citizen where she wrote a weekly column until 2013. She never stopped, in 2012 she gave a lecture at the University of California Berkeley with the activist, Angela Davis.
Scholar Karín Aguilar-San Juan describes one aspect of Boggs’ activism: “Although she believes that racial and gender inequality will always demand struggle, Grace remains adamant that civil- rights- based activism will not lead to the far-reaching changes in society that a higher state of human evolution requires.” She goes on to explain that Boggs’ “political path” has been “guided by her study of global and historical change, hand- in- hand with daily participation in and observation of the struggles of people at the grassroots level.” –Frontiers Journal 2015.
Women’s History Month is a time to not only celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of women but to learn about women that have been forgotten. As a kid, I often wondered things like “who invented the baby bottle?” as I was always thinking I could invent something. What I learned was that often inventions that were created by women were made out of necessity and need and not remarked but passed on from generation to generation. The proverb “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” dates back to Plato.
My grandmother, Jessie Morgan Kirkby, taught me much about sewing, manners, life and gardening including, “plant your peas by the dark of the moon in March if you can work the ground.” If you live in Ohio or Michigan that would be March 13, 2021. For years, I thought this was something magical and I would go out and crawl around in the dark with a flash light planting my seeds. Grandma being long gone, couldn’t tell me that I could do it in the daytime. But, the science is if you plant your seeds by the dark of the moon, when they sprout, which with peas it will be about 2 weeks later, they will get more light from the spring moonlight. I learned that in a farming class I took in my 30’s.
The knowledge of our past mothers, whether biological or mentored, is given freely and often the “why” gets lost but the success remains. This month, I plan to find women that have made a difference that are often forgotten and also some that we all need to follow and bring their story to life as they are changing the world we live in for good.
If you are in the Toledo area and with spring coming, I suggest you meet some of these women in our area. The Women’s History Month committee put together 4 walking tours where you can download the story and wander our streets meet women you may not know about or you may know and didn’t know the connection to Toledo. There is no direct link, but if you scroll down at Women’s History Month, you’ll find the link to the 4 downloads.