This image is of Peggy (R), then a 19 year-old SNCC member, next to future civil rights icon, Dr. Dorothy Cotton (L), after a 1962 church burning in Georgia—the state that Peggy's great-great grandparents, William & Ellen Craft, famously escaped from slavery nearly 115 years earlier...
W E E K L Y
W O R D
SPECIAL WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH EDITION
Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely
Dr. Dorothy Cotton
Today marks the final four days of Women's History Month, but once this month of recognition ends it should also mark the continuation of learning and celebrating the milestones and achievements of women in history to the present... This first of the last four days begins with recognizing activist Clara Lemlich Shavelson, who even at as a nursing home resident helped organize some staff into a union! (To see previous Women History Month posts, click here)
WOMEN'S HISTORY THIS WEEK... | 3/28 - 3/31/21
by Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely
(click on images for further details, with a new entry added each day)
March 28, 1886: OTD famed labor organizer, feminist, suffragist & activist, Clara Lemlich Shavelson was born in Ukraine. At only 23, her groundbreaking speech helped spark the historic 1909 "Uprising of the 20,000" garment workers strike in NYC, then the largest of its kind by women.
March 30, 1840: OTD is celebrated as the possible birth date of famed Civil War/Union spy, Mary Bowser aka Mary Jane Richards, who'd been freed from enslavement after she was "inherited" by Southern socialite/Union spy legend, Elizabeth "Bet" Van Lew. Below is a rare surviving letter to Bet sent by Mary in 1870 (Bowser is Mary's 1st husband's surname, but uses"Denman" in the letter, which apparently is her 2nd husband's surname. She would eventually use a 3rd surname.)
March 29, 1931: OTD acclaimed opera singer, Gloria Davy was born. In 1958 she was the 1st Black woman to perform the title role of Aida at the Met. It was also historic in that the character of "Aida" was an enslaved Ethiopian princess, previously played by non-Black singers, until changed by Rudolf Bing with Davy.
March 31, 2021: On this last day of Women's History Month, I'd like to give special recognition to my SNCC sisters who were diverse in race, religion, age, geographic origin and SNCC assignments, but of the same accord—equality and freedom for all... Some of our experiences, from harrowed to hallowed, are captured in Hands On The Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (it's still available, and I was honored to contribute). Finally, I'd like to celebrate the women who continue our fight today—we are in good hands...
© 2021 Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely. All rights reserved.