Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl


Last Thursday was International Women’s Day and I totally dropped the ball and didn’t blog! Ack! But, to be fair, Huff the Hubs was having major surgery done so I was a teensy bit preoccupied.

There were some great tweets, stories, and announcements on IWD, but I think my favorite was news from Mattel! They are expanding the Barbie line of “Sheroes”–female heroes to help inspire a new generation of young girls! I’ve mentioned the Misty Copeland doll before, but now the doll maker is adding to their fabulous female collection of dolls with over five new ladies!

The new women featured include:

Katherine Johnson

This remarkable woman–who entered high school at the age of TEN–was hired by NASA to basically be a human computer! She was one of the women portrayed in the film Hidden Figures and is definitely a role model!



Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin, now 18 years old, has carried on her father’s legacy and passion for wildlife and conservation, devoting her life to keeping animals off the extinction list! She has also added author and actress to her repertoire, writing several children’s books and starring in films with her favorite co-stars–animals!



Gabby Douglas

Olympic athlete Gabby Douglas charmed the world with her amazing gymnastics abilities and bright smile during the 2012 London Olympics. She is a boundary breaker and an amazing athlete, earning her the title of Sheroe!



To see the rest of the BAMFs on the list, click here!


Her’s Day Thursday

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Today’s Her’s Day Thursday star is one I’m sure hardly any of us have heard of but NEED to know about! Her name is: Alberta Schneck Adams.



Alberta was born in Nome, Alaska to parents Albert and Mary. Albert was a veteran of World War I and was white, while Mary was of Inupiat heritage. During this time in Alaska, indigenous peoples faced harsh racism, much like the segregation of African Americans in the south. There were separate schools, eateries, and movie theaters for those of native tribal heritage. This did NOT sit well with Alberta, especially when she found herself on the enforcing side of this antiquated way of thinking.


In 1944, Alberta worked as an usher at the Alaska Dream Theater in Nome. Her job was to make sure the only people who sat in the “whites only” section were indeed white. As you can imagine, this made her very uncomfortable. After all, Alberta was of Inupiat descent! She lodged a complaint to her manager and was quickly fired. Soon after her dismissal, Alberta returned to the movie theater with a white date. The two sat in the “whites only” section. When the manager demanded she and her date move to the non-white section, they stayed where they were. When the two refused to move, the manger called the police. Alberta was arrested and taken to jail to spend the night. When word of the incident reached the local Inupiat community, they rallied in support of Alberta and protested until she was released.


After she was released, she wrote an article for the local paper, The Nome Nuggetstating:  “I only truthfully know that I am one of God’s children regardless of race, color or creed.” Alberta would not be stopped. She wrote a letter to the governor at the time, Ernest Gruening, and told him all about the incident. She knew she would gain his support for her cause because, just a year earlier, he had written a bill of his own that would end segregation in Alaska. Sadly, that bill had not made it through legislature. Renewed with fervor after Alberta’s stance, the governor reintroduced the bill–Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Act–and it was signed into law on February 16, 1945!

Thank you, Alberta, for showing us that we CAN make a difference!

Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl


One of my favorite shows to binge-watch here lately is Drunk History. Yes, its funny to see these inebriated comedians tell historical stories, but the reason I like it is it makes me research these stories to find out more about the people who are highlighted. The other night, I watched an episode about the Pinkerton Detective Agency. One of the detectives was a woman named Kate Warne.

Kate Warne

Kate Warne was born in 1833. Little is known about her life prior to working with the Pinkerton Agency. In 1856, Kate was left a widow at the age of 23 and saw an ad in a local Chicago newspaper for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. When she showed up at the agency and asked to speak to Allen Pinkerton, he believed she was looking for clerical work. However, Kate explained that she would best suited as a detective. After all, men tended to flap their gums and brag about things they probably ought not to brag about when a pretty woman is around. Intrigued, Pinkerton brought Kate on as a detective. He even chose her over his own brother!

Kate Warne

Soon after being hired on, Kate was assigned to look into embezzlement happening at the Adams Express Company. She was able to befriend the wife of the prime suspect, finding out condemning evidence about the couple, and ultimately bringing about justice to the tune of $50,000!

Not long after, The Pinkerton Agency was hired to protect president-elect Abraham Lincoln on his tour from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. When a plot was uncovered that a rogue group was planning to assassinate the next president, Kate set her own plan into action. She and Pinkerton convinced Lincoln to cut his tour short and he put his life in their hands. Kate decided that they would disguise Lincoln as her “invalid brother” and smuggle him onto a train. During the long, overnight train ride it is said that Kate did not sleep at all. Because of her tenacity and determination to keep the President safe, she inspired the Pinkerton Agency’s slogan: “We never sleep”.


Kate Warne continued her spy and detective work throughout the Civil War and after through the Pinkerton Agency. In 1868, Kate died suddenly of pneumonia with her dear friend Allen Pinkerton by her bedside. Years later, when Pinkerton passed away, he was buried next to her at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.

Thank you, Kate, for your bad-a legacy!


Her’s Day Thursday

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The other night, I was watching PBS (a nightly ritual before I go to bed…sheesh, how old am I?!) and a local program came on, highlighting influential women in history that were from Oklahoma. One of them was Kate Barnard.

kate barnard

Catherine Ann “Kate” Barnard was born in Geneva, Nebraska in 1875. After her mother passed away when she was little, her father sent her to live with relatives and he joined the Land Run in Oklahoma. After staking his claim, Kate journeyed to Oklahoma to live with her father. In 1895, she attended a Catholic school and earned a teaching certificate, teaching until 1902.

When she quit teaching, Kate took a business course and became a secretary for the territorial legislature. She was chosen to represent Oklahoma at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. It was there that she met Jane Addams and other social reformers. This was the first time Kate had been exposed to city life, and experienced first-hand the slums and terrible living conditions the poor had to endure. When she returned to Oklahoma, she was determined to help bring about social change.


She threw herself into aid and charity work, participating in Farm Labor meetings and even being elected the Charities and Corrections Commissioner. Through her appointment, she enacted essential education laws, helped create programs to support poor widows, and a state ban on child labor. Kate also advocated for safe working conditions and the eradication of “blacklisting” union members. She was also a voice for abused Native American children. Through her incredible speeches, she was able to convince politicians that there was a deep need to increase federal protection for members of the Five Tribes. Her most notable achievement has been noted as uncovering the abuse of Oklahoma prisoners being held in Kansas. Kate discovered the prisoners were being subjected to torture and forced labor in coal mines. Because of her findings, it forced the governor to return the prisoners to Oklahoma and resulted in the building of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlister.


Kate’s political career ended during her second term in office. She fought so diligently for the needs of Native Americans who were being cheated out of their land. Because of her devotion to righting this wrong, she made many enemies, including William H. Murray who convinced the state legislature to defund her office. In her book, A Chief and Her People, Wilma Mankiller quoted Kate: “I have been compelled to see orphans robbed, starved, and burned for money. I have named the men and accused them and furnished the records and affidavits to convict them, but with no result. I decided long ago that Oklahoma had no citizen who cared whether or not an orphan is robbed or starved or killed – because his dead claim is easier to handle than if he were alive.”

Kate died in 1930, due to many lingering health problems and was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

Thank you, Kate, for your amazing work for Oklahoma!






Her’s Day Thursday

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Last week, I noticed that Google had a new doodle on its homepage honoring Mary Pickford:

Mary Pickford

Intrigued, I clicked on it to learn more about the lady in the drawing. I learned a lot about this awesome lady and want to share it with you!

Mary Pickford (given name: Gladys Louise Smith) was born Toronto, Canada on April 8, 1892, the oldest of three children, to John and Charlotte Smith. When Mary was about seven years old, her father passed away. In order to make ends meet, Mary’s mother began taking in boarders for income. One of her first boarders was a theatrical stage manager. He immediately saw something in little Mary and was able to have her cast in two plays.

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Soon, acting became a family business. Mary, her mother, and her siblings traveled around taking parts wherever they could get them. Mary was growing frustrated. She decided that if she did not land a big role soon, she was going to quit acting for good. Not long after this declaration, Mary earned a role in the Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. It was in this play that Mary met Cecil B. deMille, another actor (and future famed director). After the play’s run was over, Mary was out of work again. She screen tested for a film, but was not chosen. However the director, D.W. Griffith, was taken with her and encouraged her to try out for more films. Because of this push, she was eventually cast in 51 films in 1909 alone!

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Her career soared and she went on to form the independent film production company United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks. Mary went on to be a producer as well as win an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929.

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Mary broke down barriers in an industry which still, to this day, is very much male-oriented. But kudos to Mary–aka, “The Girl With the Curls”–and the other women who are determined to follow their dreams and get more women on screen!






Her’s Day Thursday

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about an amazing lady in history, so I thought I’d fix that today! Our wonderful woman was a daredevil who pushed boundaries and didn’t let racism or sexism get in her way! Today’s BAMF is Bessie Coleman!

Pioneer Aviator Bessie Coleman


Bessie Coleman was born on January 26, 1892–the tenth of thirteen children–in Atlanta, TX. When Bessie was a young child, she would walk to school everyday (four miles!). Her school was a small, one-room, segregated schoolhouse. Bessie excelled in reading and math. When she was older, she saved up her money and enrolled at Langston University in Langston, OK. Sadly, she was only able to finish one year because she ran out of money.

When she was 23, Bessie moved to Chicago and lived with three of her brothers. She made ends meet by working as a manicurist. Knowing she was meant for more, Bessie took a second job to pay for flying lessons. Because American flight schools didn’t allow blacks or women, she was encouraged by a friend to study abroad. So, with her friend helping her financially, she left the U.S. for France.

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On June 15, 1921, Bessie became the first African American woman to earn her pilots license! When she came back to America, she was a media sensation. Bessie was an extrordinary pilot and knew how to keep an audience’s attention. She was an amazing daredevil, performing such tricks as figure eights, loops, and near-ground dips which kept air show crowds in awe.

Because of her popularity, Bessie was offered a role in the movie Shadow and Sunshine. She was excited to be a part of a major motion picture and hoped it would break barriers for women and people of color. However, she soon found out that her character was going to be portrayed in tattered clothes, carrying a pack over her shoulder. She walked off the movie set, refusing to perpetuate the derogatory image that Hollywood seemed so keen on to portray blacks in America.

Bessie knew where her destiny lie, in the clouds. She’s quoted as saying, “The air is the only place free from prejudices. I knew we had no aviators, neither men nor women, and I knew the Race needed to be represented along this most important line, so I thought it my duty to risk my life to learn aviation. . .”

Bessie Coleman

Sadly, Bessie’s avionic dreams came to a halt on April 30, 1926. On her way to an air show, Bessie was in her Curtiss JN-4 aircraft with her co-pilot. Her plane had been worked on by a mechanic earlier in the day who said that he had to make three forced landings because of faulty maintenance from the previous owner. Undeterred, Bessie wanted to take her plane to the show. She did not have her seatbelt on while in the plane, as she needed to look over the co-pilot’s shoulder for his readings. As she did this, the plane took a sudden nose dive, spinning. Bessie was thrown from her aircraft and fell 2,000 feet to her death. Later, a wrench had been found inside the engine, accidentally left by the mechanic. She was just 34.

Her life was short, but her legacy is huge. Bessie broke down barriers of race and gender. Bessie Coleman, you are an inspiration to us all!




Her’s Day Thursday


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During the Oscars this past Sunday, GE debuted an awesome new commercial. Didn’t see it? No worries! I’ve got it right here:



(Also, the irony that this commercial was played during an awards show honoring celebrities was not lost on me)

I wish great women like Millie Dresselhaus were held to the same esteem as celebrities. And Millie deserves it! She was the first female professor at MIT (she taught physics and electrical engineering) and has won several awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science (among more than a dozen others)!

You can learn more about Millie here!