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Maryland Women’s History Poster ($15, plus shipping and handling). This colorful poster was originally designed by Elizabeth A. Harty in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Maryland Women’s History Project. 

 

  

 

Chesapeake’s Bounty – Cooking With Regional Favorites written by Katie Moose, a member of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center's Development Committee, is packed full of unique recipes indigenous to Maryland ($16.95, plus shipping and handling).


 

 

WOW: Women of Wonder Spotlight

Each edition of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center's quarterly newsletter features a "Maryland Woman of Wonder" written by Carolyn B. Stegman, Maryland Women's Heritage Center Board Member and author of "Women of Achievement in Maryland History."

Click here to view current or past issues of the newsletters.

Barbara A. Mikulski

In March 2011, coinciding with Women's History Month, it was announced that Maryland's United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Maryland's Billie Holiday were selected for induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame (Seneca Falls, New York), which honors great women of today and yesterday. With this distinguished tribute, Senator Mikulski will join previously inducted Maryland women of international stature, including Rachel Carson, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Rita Colwell, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Henrietta Szold, and Helen Taussig.

As a young social worker, she was inspired by the words of John F. Kennedy: "I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, and human liberty as the source of national action." Translating those words into action, Mikulski's first political battle in the late 1960s successfully worked to save Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood, which was scheduled to be destroyed to facilitate a proposed 16-lane highway. Shortly thereafter, she decided that she would be more effective inside City Hall, so she ran for Baltimore City Council and was elected.

Mikulski came from modest roots and strong values. She grew up in historic and ethnically rich East Baltimore, where her parents ran a neighborhood grocery store. What she learned at home and in that neighborhood-values of family, faith, and community-have guided her throughout her professional life. Even as a child, Mikulski served people in her community by delivering groceries to local senior citizens who could not make it to the store. This interest in community service strengthened as she grew older, and instilled a firm dedication to citizenship and her nation.

With a vision and unfaltering self-confidence, she followed her heart and plunged headlong into politics. In 1976, she won her election to the United States House of Representatives. Ten years later, she moved to the Senate, becoming the first Democratic woman elected to both the House and the Senate, and the first Democratic woman to hold a Senate seat by being elected in her own right, instead of inheriting it from a deceased husband.

Now a leader in the Senate, Mikulski is the Dean of Women-serving as a mentor to other women Senators when they first take office. As the dean, she builds coalitions-proving that the Senate women are not solo acts, but work together to get things done. In the 1980s, she was instrumental in establishing National Women's History Month. In 2010, Mikulski became the longest serving female Senator in U.S. History.

Mikulski's experiences as a social worker and activist provided valuable lessons that she draws on as a Senator. She believes her constituents have a right to know, a right to be heard, and a right to be represented. She lessons to her constituents and makes the personal, political. In doing this, Mikulski has put her values into action to make a difference in people's lives on all fronts: education, jobs, health care, women, minorities, and veterans. She tells her fellow Democrats that their four priorities should be creating jobs, providing job training, keeping people safe, and offering all citizens a level playing field.

Mikulski is committed to a safer, stronger and smarter Maryland and nation...and she has served the people by doing more than just promising. She delivers.

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski is a member of the Honorary Board of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center.

This was written by MWHC board member Carolyn Stegman, author of "Women of Achievement in Maryland History." It includes excerpts from the book and from Senator Mikulski's official biography.

Anna Ella Carroll

On November 20, 2010, Cambridge, Maryland will host the world premiere of the film, The Lost River, which documents the significant Civil War contributions of Somerset County native Anna Ella Carroll. Carroll's recognition is long overdue.

Carroll is credited with helping to prevent Maryland's secession from the Union with her publication of Reply, a reaction to one senator's urging to secede. The War Department commissioned ten thousand copies to be printed and circulated among the states. After that, at President Lincoln's request, Carroll composed two lengthy pamphlets entitled The Relation of Revolted Citizens to the National Government (1862) and The War Powers of the Government (1861). In these Carroll outlined a theory that claims the southern states' secession was unconstitutional. She held that the general rebellion was merely the sum of numerous individual acts of rebellion and thus fell under the authority of the executive branch rather than the legislative branch of government. In short, she provided constitutional ground on which Lincoln, as head of the executive branch, could declare war on the rebellious states despite competing claims of authority from Congress.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln asked Carroll to accompany an army officer to the western theater of the war to prepare Civil War strategy. Until then, the Union had intended to send a gunboat expedition directly down the Mississippi River. But, after observing the heavy fortifications along the river, Carroll devised a new plan that changed the area of attack to the Tennessee River, a largely unfortified area, and submitted the new strategy to the War Department. Realizing the merit of Carroll's plan, War Department leaders enacted it, thereafter capturing two Confederate forts and severely disabling communication lines. The victories preceded the fall of Vicksburg, another battle influenced by Carroll's strategy.

Carroll's involvement in the war was kept secret from the public and the military, fearing that Union generals and soldiers would not follow a plan devised by a woman civilian. In fact, the 1864 Francis Carpenter painting depicting Lincoln and his cabinet prominently displays an empty chair filled with notes and maps, similar to the ones Carroll often carried. Many historians now feel it was Carpenter's way of acknowledging Carroll, the unrecognized member of the cabinet.

Once the war was over, Carroll was largely ignored, until, in 1870, she officially appealed to Congress for both recognition and compensation, which she was finally granted in 1881. Carroll's story became a banner for the women's suffrage movement. To many, she remains an historical symbol of women's inequity.

Click here to find out more about the film and Carroll.

Additional information can also be found at http://www.friendsofannaellacarroll.org  - Tickets for the world premiere of the film are $12.50 each ($15 at the door) and can be purchased by contacting the Maryland Women's Heritage Center at 410-767-0675. Spread the word!

Juanita Tamayo Lott

In 1968, a coalition of minority students at San Francisco State University, known as the Third World Liberation Front, called a strike to protest the discrimination and misrepresentations of histories, cultures and knowledge of peoples of color within the university's curriculum and programs.  Participating in this historic strike were Asian Pacific Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Latin Americans, American Indians, and other Americans-immigrant and native born, men and women, students, faculty, and staff, as well as religious, business, labor, and community leaders in the Bay area.  Among those students was 20-year-old Juanita Tamayo, who within the year became a founder of the first Asian American Studies and the first (and only) College of Ethnic Studies in the United States.  Later, she would merge her missions of respect and service to diverse American people with knowledge gained as a federal senior demographer.

In 2008, she retired from the federal statistical system, with extensive work for the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences.  Her work was much more than numbers and included putting human faces on those numbers.  In the late 1970s, as deputy director of the Women's Rights Program Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, she conducted and supervised research and analysis on the intersection of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability discrimination.
Much of her work also influenced programs at the Smithsonian Institution for non-traditional audiences.  Recent programs have evolved from census data, including programs chronicling the 60s and 70s civil rights movement, the 1976 Bicentennial "Peopling of the Americas," which affirms our rich, culturally diverse heritage, and the 1990s, "Seeds of Change," outlining bio- and social diversity.  Even the 2010 Smithsonian's Folklife Festival is an outreach of statistical information about ethnic heritage.  Yes, census data is about human capital and gives us a picture of our diverse nation.

Tamayo Lott has established the importance of the concept of "cohort" or people born of a certain generation and how that has defined moments in our lives.  For instance, the Silent Generation are those born just prior to WWII and educated in high school and beyond during the 1950s.  These include such people as Martin Luther King and their work led the way to remarkable change in the United States.  Because of this, Tamayo Lott has remained active in mentoring younger generations in statistical and public service careers, including judging history and statistical contests from middle school to graduate school levels.  "I have mentored children who are every color of the rainbow---A statistician without borders."

Tamayo Lott is author of "Filipinos in Washington, D.C." (with Rita Casas), "Asians Americans: From Racial Category to Multiple Identities," and "Spotlight on Heterogeneity: The Federal Standards for Racial and Ethnic Classification."  In 2010, she co-authored Race, Ethnic and Gender Bias in Educational Statistics for the "International Encyclopedia of Education."  In 2007, she co-founded the Filipino Studies Program at the University of Maryland College Park. 

The Maryland Women's Heritage Center is proud to have Juanita Tamayo Lott serve on our Board of Directors.  Her work as a demographer has given us much to analyze and has led to major changes.  She truly knows the importance of filling out the 2010 census form!   

Dr. Bernice Sandler

"You come on too strong for a woman."

"You are just a housewife who went back to school."

This was the gender-biased rhetoric that Sandler, who had just finished her Ph.D., heard in a 1969 faculty job interview. These offensive and derogatory words set the stage for change, big change. She knew sex discrimination was immoral, but, Sandler asked herself, was it illegal?

She was also aware of the law against discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin, but why not sex? One day, alone in a library, reading a report by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, she found a footnote buried in the back of the report. It stated that on October 13, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson had amended the Civil Rights Act to include discrimination in employment based on sex. YES, it was illegal!

Most universities did not have policies eliminating gender discrimination, yet most had federal contracts, thus putting them in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act. Sandler filed sex discrimination complaints against 250 institutions, including the University of Maryland, where this well-qualified "too strong for a woman" had been denied a job.

In 1970, under the auspices of the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL), Sandler's action soon became a national campaign to end discrimination in education. She spearheaded Congressional hearings that documented discrimination in employment and educational opportunities. This culminated in the 1972 epic passage of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in public education.

How significant was this? Monumental!

Virtually millions of girls and women in our educational system-from kindergarten to professional schools-have had their lives changed. To note just a few of the enormous consequences of Title IX:

1.) The enrollment of women in law, veterinary, medical schools and doctoral programs has risen dramatically from token, single-digit percents in 1969 to now over 50%.

2.) Women athletes are afforded the same scholarship opportunities as men and the status of women's athletics has catapulted well beyond "intramural" status.

3.) It ended almost all discriminatory policies in the hiring of women in academia. Women have been afforded equal opportunities for university promotions; they now are department chairs, deans of schools, and yes, university presidents.

4.) Title IX ended the most overt practices and policies that hindered women and girls from entering science and from engaging in a scientific career.

5.) Title IX has impacted significantly on educational equity, not just at the college level, but for students in public schools. Areas of progress include girls' expanding participation in science, mathematics, law enforcement, and technology courses, and assuring equity in guidance and counseling services.

No wonder Sandler is considered the "Godmother of Title IX." She helped to assure our daughters and their daughters a level playing field. The college campus and public school education have changed irrevocably, as have job opportunities for women.

Written by MWHC Board Member Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book, "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Winter 2010).

Information for this article came from Bernice Sandler, "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," and a nomination by Jill Moss Greenberg, Executive Director of the MWHC, inducting Bernice Sandler to the 2010 Maryland Women's Hall of Fame.

Carmen Delgado Votaw

 

Carmen Delgado Votaw grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico where her parents, both teachers, and a mentor inspired her to a life of service and activism. Since, her fervent interest in protecting and procuring freedom for women and minorities has taken her to far reaches of the globe and elevated her to international prominence.

In the 1970s, as the women's movement was gathering new momentum, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the International Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, and in the same era, she co-chaired his National Advisory Committee for Women.

Votaw was also president of the InterAmerican Commission of Women and was instrumental in increasing the number of countries that signed the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Later, she authored the book, Puerto Rican Women, biographies of women who made a difference, which will be available at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center. In the United States, she was director of government relations for the Girl Scouts of the United States and director of public policy for the United Way of America.

Votaw's vision projects a strong connection between women's rights and economic development.

"Even small efforts, whether here or in developing countries, can be empowering. Throughout my life, I have used the bumblebee as a metaphor for what I do. I take what I learn from one world to the next...wherever you are, whatever your position, you can apply it to the next situation. And there is always work to do. The time to reminisce is a time of commitment to further action. And that action needs to be focused on a vision and that vision emanates from our dreams of equality, development, and peace. History is circular: much is based on what we did yesterday and our future will be affected by our notion of empowerment today."

Votaw stresses the importance of remaining vigilant concerning our commitment to the advancement of women and minorities, including concentrating efforts on young women who may not know the full history.

"They may have rights now but they (we) could lose them, therefore we must imbue younger generations to continue defending those rights. Furthermore, people need to notice and grieve for all human rights injustices still being perpetrated that prevent people from reaching their full potential. These must be a continuing call to action for all of us."

For her leadership in education, Votaw was a 1996 recipient of the National Hispanic Heritage Award, presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

Written by MWHC Board Member Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book, "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Fall 2009). Excerpts from this book, as well as an interview with Carmen Delgado Votaw, contributed to this article.

Shoshana S. Cardin

 

SHOSHANA SHOUBIN CARDIN once said,

"I don't think everyone needs to assume the weight of the world's problems, but if we break the world's problems down to those within our province, everyone can assume some responsibility to reduce the level of hostility, anger, and pain, and increase the level of understanding..."

Shoshana Cardin has improved this very imperfect world through vision, strength and gemilut hasadim-acts of loving-kindness. Her continuous efforts at the local, state, national and international levels have made an enduring difference for people of widely varied perspectives, economic levels, and nationalities.

In 1991, the philosophy by which this Maryland activist has lived carried her through imposing Kremlin walls to a personal meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, premier of the USSR. While face to face with the leader of a nation that had caused much Jewish suffering, she urged him to comply fully with international standards for freedom of emigration. Then she raised the subject of anti-Semitism, asking the leader to take a stronger stand against it. One hour after the meeting, Gorbachev issued a public radio address condemning anti-Semitism, the first such statement ever made by a Russian leader. His remarks made headlines around the world.

"Whether I work for the United Way, the March of Dimes, the Maryland Commission for Women (MCW), or the Council of Jewish Federations, I believe that each of us has the chance to make the world a better place," says Cardin.

During International Women's Year, 1975, Cardin chaired the MCW. Her administrative acumen led to seminars attended by thousands of women who identified numerous barriers preventing women participants from achieving their full potential. Maryland women created the Maryland Women's Agenda, which grouped recommendations into areas such as childcare, credit, education, employment, health issues, and aging women.

As leader of the MCW, Cardin recognized the need to assist abused women and was instrumental in the founding of the House of Ruth, which became a model for other shelters and safe houses around the state. She also co-authored the first comprehensive guide to women's credit rights, Women: Where Credit is Due, disseminated in Maryland and throughout the nation. At that time, women were unable to obtain credit in their own name. Because of this, women had no credit histories and were generally unable to purchase items, from cars to homes, or secure credit cards-even if they were fully employed and credit-worthy. Cardin became a leader in the fight for credit rights for all women, eventually testifying before Congress and playing a key role in the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Cardin has garnered some three dozen humanitarian and woman of the year awards, and holds a collection of honorary degrees from institutions around the world. She has gone to dinners at the White House and held discussions with Presidents, Secretaries of State, Ambassadors, and Prime Ministers. Yet, she considers The Shoshana S. Cardin School, an independent Jewish high school in Baltimore County, as "the reward of a lifetime." In founding this school, her mission was "to build and sustain a community where Jewish and secular cultures not only coexist but are interwoven aspects of an organic whole. Students learn of our past and become active members of our present in order to be leaders of our future."

Never has Shoshana Cardin feared speaking out and taking a stand. "To remain silent would be wrong." Today, she still speaks out for all women and the Maryland Women's Heritage Center is especially proud to have her serve on its board of directors.

Written by Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book,"Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Summer 2009).

Information for this article came from Cardin's autobiography,
Shoshana: Memoirs of Shoshana Shoubin Cardin, published in 2008 by the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and Women of Achievement in Maryland History (2002).

Lucille Clifton

 

On the front of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center brochure are the words of Lucille Clifton, our state's poet laureate from 1979-1985.We have used her words to describe the unsung heroines of our history and many have been touched by them.

As requested, I share the complete poem, "the lost women," along with some of Clifton's other incomparable work.

Lucille Clifton, born in 1936, is one of the most treasured voices of her generation, one that offers undeniable insight on the human condition.Her poems, like African American spirituals, are brief but powerful.Her work explores the dimensions of her sexual identity, and her role as daughter, mother, lover, and woman.Lucille Clifton gives unique voice to feminism, loss, and pain.

the lost women

i need to know their names
those women i would have walked with
jauntily the way men go in groups
swinging their arms, and the ones
those sweating women whom i would have joined
after a hard game to chew the fat
what would we have called each other laughing
joking into our beer? where are my gangs, my teams, my mislaid sisters?
all the women who could have known me,
where in the world are their names?

lumpectomy eve

all night i dream of lips
that nursed and nursed
and the lonely nipple

lost in loss and the need
to feed that turns at last
on itself that will kill

its body for its hunger's sake
all night i hear the whispering
the soft

loves calls you to this knife
for love for love

all night it is the one breast
comforting the other

Lucille Clifton truly is a Maryland treasure. She doesn't need a lengthy narrative biography--one only has to read her work to understand.

Written by MWHC Board Member Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book, "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Spring 2009).

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld


Photo: Dr. Ellen Silbergeld (Credit: Johns Hopkins University)

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld is an international authority on lead and mercury poisoning. Her work contributed to the removal of lead from gasoline in 1990, an environmental milestone. She has also documented the health risks of many chemical by-products of industrial processing.

"Science is exciting and it is all about questioning," she says. "If somebody tells me something, I don't take it as proven fact. Be skeptical."

For decades, Silbergeld's investigations have questioned established practices and backed up those queries with solid science. Imbued with a sense of social responsibility as a child, she was taught to speak truth to power, take a stand, and do things for social justice.

"Whether confronting the government or the private sector, I believe in 'persistent annoyance' when it comes to safeguarding the public's health."

Silbergeld was a graduate student when, in 1971, legislation passed prohibiting manufacturers from adding lead to interior paint. Yet there had been long delays in banning lead in paint and millions of children continued to be exposed (mainly through peeling paint in older homes), in part because societal responsibility for removing lead paint languished under a prevailing, archaic attitude that blamed neglectful mothering. In questioning this viewpoint, Silbergeld did a simple, yet profound experiment: she picked a piece of leaded paint off a window sill and ate it. To her amazement, it tasted sweet and appealing. The 'bad mother' myth was diminished, but Silbergeld says "that the failure to abate lead paint hazards in housing has not been overcome even to this day."

Her latest work focuses on the widespread use of antibiotics in farm animals and poultry raised for public consumption. Silbergeld, now at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, has linked the increase in drug-resistant infections to these food sources.

"Nobody was doing anything about this," she said, "yet it is a major public health issue. For example, people are coming into hospitals already carrying resistant bacteria or resistance genes from food or other community sources. Therefore, to say that all infections are generated in the hospital is like saying pregnancies begin in the hospital because that is where most babies are delivered."

When the FDA claimed that antibiotic use in agriculture was rigidly controlled, Silbergeld questioned this and went to a feed store to find out for herself. After she inquired about purchasing antibiotics, a clerk merely asked her, "What do you want, Tetracycline or Penicillin? And how much do you want, 5 lb. or 40 lb. bags?" So much for rigid regulation.

Maryland's Ellen Silbergeld is not afraid to confront those responsible for public health threats and backs up her hypotheses with science. She has linked various environmental and occupational exposures to health risks in human populations, and as an advocate and role model, she has improved and saved countless lives.

Written by Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Winter 2009).

Information for this article was gathered from "Lead's Nemesis," Johns Hopkins Magazine (Hendricks, April 2000) and an interview with Ellen Silbergeld (December 18, 2008).

Maryland's Unsung Heroines

 

Throughout history, Maryland women have accomplished outstanding achievements in their communities, state, nation, and around the globe.

However, many of these women have remained obscure, their stories of service unrecognized and unpraised. These are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, neighbors, and friends. Legions of women have labored tirelessly, yet their names are unrecorded and their labors forgotten.

These are Maryland's unsung heroines.

The unsung heroine has always been strong, individually and collectively. Her many faces include the indigenous woman teaching pride to her children, Rosie the Riveter working in our factories, and the contemporary woman sustaining her religious and community organizations. She is many colors, shapes, sizes, cultures and philosophies. She is young and she is old, sophisticated and homespun.

She is the mountain woman and the farm woman and the woman inhabiting the tidewaters of Chesapeake Bay. She scrubbed the steps of Baltimore and fed the poor family down the block. She tended the stove at every church supper and she chaired the committees of a thousand worthy causes.

She has been athlete, domestic worker, scientist, artist, elected official and adventurer. She has been nurturing and creative, sensitive and strong. She has been the anonymous poet, economist, architect and military strategist. She preserved and transmitted our diverse heritages. She has fought to improve her community in battles that ranged from better sanitation to building schools. She has been in the forefront of every single struggle for human dignity and civil rights. She has typed the letters, sewn the banners, and marched the streets.

Her volunteer work has kept our hospitals running, her employment has kept our families afloat.

The unsung heroine historically has sustained, and continues to sustain, her family and community. She has reached and grown, despite the obstacles, and has challenged each new generation. Although her acts in and of themselves may not seem profound, they are essential building blocks of Maryland's future. Whether volunteering in the community, leading an organization, campaigning for a political candidate, or creating a work of art, the unsung heroine forges a positive path for all who follow and carry on.

Lucille Clifton, Maryland's Poet Laureate from 1979-1985, once wrote:

i need to know their names
those women I would have walked with
all those women who could have known me
where in the world are their names


Unfortunately, we might never know their names. However, one mission of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center is to acknowledge the vast contributions of these women and honor them. In essence, today's Maryland women, and all of our state's legendary women, have been able to reach for the stars because they climbed on the shoulders of our unsung heroines.

Written by MWHC Board Member Carolyn B. Stegman, author of the book, "Women of Achievement in Maryland History," as published in the Maryland Women's Heritage Center Newsletter (Fall 2008).



 

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