Posts tagged "women's history month"

"I was a fly chick when I was young." ~ The artist Ladybird Cleveland (now Strickland) to a reporter in 2012 in a story about an exhibition of her paintings. Ms. Strickland, the mother of legendary fashion model Pat Cleveland, was photographed here by Carl Van Vechten on September 21, 1954. Photo: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Pioneering educator Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) sometime in the 1910s. Born in Orange, Virginia, Ms. Burroughs graduated with honors from the Colored High School, which would later become M Street School and then Dunbar High School. Best know as the founder of the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Ms. Burroughs was an early advocate for teaching African American History and students had to pass a course in black history in order to graduate. A member of the National Association of Colored Women among other civic and religious advocacy groups, Ms. Burroughs was appointed to a special committee on African Americans and housing by President Herbert Hoover. Also a leader in religion, she helped found the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention. 
Ms. Burroughs also had a special connection to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. A longtime friend of his parents, Ms. Burroughs wrote a letter to Dr. King’s mother, Mrs. Alberta King on February 4, 1956 during the course of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and told her how impressed she was with the “calm, sure way that Junior is standing up for right and righteousness.” Photo: The Library of Congress

Pioneering educator Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) sometime in the 1910s. Born in Orange, Virginia, Ms. Burroughs graduated with honors from the Colored High School, which would later become M Street School and then Dunbar High School. Best know as the founder of the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Ms. Burroughs was an early advocate for teaching African American History and students had to pass a course in black history in order to graduate. A member of the National Association of Colored Women among other civic and religious advocacy groups, Ms. Burroughs was appointed to a special committee on African Americans and housing by President Herbert Hoover. Also a leader in religion, she helped found the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention. 


Ms. Burroughs also had a special connection to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. A longtime friend of his parents, Ms. Burroughs wrote a letter to Dr. King’s mother, Mrs. Alberta King on February 4, 1956 during the course of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and told her how impressed she was with the “calm, sure way that Junior is standing up for right and righteousness.” Photo: The Library of Congress

Melba Roy, NASA Mathmetician, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in 1964. Ms. Roy, a 1950 graduate of Howard University, led a group of NASA mathmeticians known as “computers” who tracked the Echo satellites. The first time I shared Ms. Roy on VBG, my friend Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a former postdoc in astrophysics at NASA, helpfully explained what Ms. Roy did in the comment section. I am sharing Chanda’s comment again here: “By the way, since I am a physicist, I might as well explain a little bit about what she did: when we launch satellites into orbit, there are a lot of things to keep track of. We have to ensure that gravitational pull from other bodies, such as other satellites, the moon, etc. don’t perturb and destabilize the orbit. These are extremely hard calculations to do even today, even with a machine-computer. So, what she did was extremely intense, difficult work. The goal of the work, in addition to ensuring satellites remained in a stable orbit, was to know where everything was at all times. So they had to be able to calculate with a high level of accuracy. Anyway, that’s the story behind orbital element timetables”. Photo: NASA/Corbis.

Educator, Writer, Activist Mary Church Terrell. Born in Memphis, TN to wealthy parents who were former slaves (her father, Robert Reed Church, was the South’s first black millionaire), Ms. Church Terrell earned bachelor’s (1884) and master’s (1888) degrees from Oberlin College. She also studied in Europe for several years and was fluent in German, Spanish and French. Her language fluency came in handy in 1904 when she was invited to speak at the International Congress of Women in Berlin, Germany.  The only black woman in attendance, she delivered her speech in German, French and English.  

Ms. Church Terrell was a founder and the first president of the National Association of Colored Women (Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a vice president). Adapting the motto “Lifting As We Climb,” the organization was formed, in part, in response to an attack on the character and respectability of African American women by an influential journalist who referred to them as “thieves and prostitutes”.

Ms. Church Terrell died in 1954, at the age of 90, not long after leading the fight to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C.