Her’s Day Thursday

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One of my goals this year is to blog more consistently. I’ve been failing on that front, especially with Her’s Day Thursday posts. I wanted to blog each week about a woman from every state in the U.S. So far this year I’ve hit Alabama and Alaska. Today, I’m getting back on the BAMF blogging wagon and telling you all about a great lady from Arizona: Jane H. Rider!

Jane H. Rider was born in 1889 to a homemaker mother and mining engineer father. From an early age, Jane was very interested in her father’s work. Her parents put education as a top priority and Jane was able to attend a private high school, later attending the University of Arizona. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering—Arizona’s first female engineer.

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Her first position as a college graduate was as a bacteriologist for Arizona State Laboratories at the university she graduated from. She moved up the ladder, eventually becoming director of the lab in 1918! Her work included conducting surveys and investigations of the milk and water supplies throughout the state of Arizona. She’d collect samples by train, stagecoach, and even on horseback!

 

In a newspaper interview in 1966, Jane said this about her work: “In 1913, Arizona had the second highest infant mortality rate in the nation and a good share of the blame went to unsanitary milk,” she recalled in a newspaper interview in 1966. “Do you know what a ‘dobe hole is? When people built their adobe houses they dug the material out of the ground and left the hole. They let this fill with water to water their cattle. Then cows, on hot days, would stand in the ‘dobe hole. Then milking time came but the hossies were not washed off before they were milked, and the dirt and stagnant water got in the buckets.”

 

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Jane pushed for changes in the dairy industry, leading milk producers to pasteurize milk. She also tested foods and medicines for harmful products and worked to improve food products (and this was in the early 1900’s!).

 

Throughout her career, Jane received many awards and honors. She was accepted into the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Society of Women Engineers, Distinguished Citizen Award from the University of Arizona, and Phoenix Woman of the Year in 1970.

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Jane H. Rider was a force to be reckoned with up until her death in 1981, fighting for cleaner water, food, and sanitary working conditions. A wonderful woman with a remarkable legacy!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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On Monday, we honored a man who had a lasting impact on the world. I’m not downplaying Martin Luther King Jr.’s peaceful fight for desegregation and civil rights, however I think it is just as important to talk about the woman who stood by his side throughout his battles for equality—Coretta Scott King.

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Coretta Scott was born in Marion, Alabama in 1927. Her grandmother, a former slave, was actually the midwife at her birth. Coretta was raised with her brothers and sisters in the segregated south. Coretta’s mother, Bernice, would bus her children as well as other black children in the neighborhood to the closest school—Lincoln Normal School.

 

Coretta excelled in academics as well as in the school (and church’s) choir and band in which she played the trumpet. She graduated valedictorian of her senior class in 1945 and attended Antioch College. At the time, Antioch was a historically all-white school and, in an effort to diversify, the college gave full scholarships to African-American students. Coretta’s sister was the first black student to attend Antioch just two years prior.

 

Because of her singing and musical prowess, Coretta was awarded a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. While at the Conservatory, Coretta was introduced to a young man—Martin Luther King Jr. At first, Coretta was not too keen on Martin; but, as she got to know him, Coretta fell for the future pastor and civil rights activist.

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The pair married in 1953. In 1954, after earning her degree in voice and violin from the New England Conservatory of Music, Coretta and her husband moved to Montgomery, Alabama where Martin became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

 

Coretta gave up her dreams of a professional singing career and shifted her focus to the civil rights fight and assisting her husband in planning peaceful protests.

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In 1958, Coretta headlined a concert at a high school, singing songs about the fight to change legislation regarding segregation as well as break down the walls of racism. Coretta worked side by side with her husband until his untimely death in 1968. After Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Coretta continued his work and his mission as long as she lived.

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Coretta Scott King endured her home being bombed, her husband being arrested several times, and numerous attempts by the FBI and other governmental offices to discredit herself, her husband, and their marriage, and she did it with grace and peace. Thank you, Coretta, for your lovely legacy and inspiring life story.

Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl

 

Happy Thursday, fabulous females!

Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to stress less and learn about legendary ladies? I’ve got what you’re looking for! I’ve found some printable coloring sheets starring some fantastic femmes from history!

 

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, First African-American Woman in Space

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Marie Curie, Scientist

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Women’s Suffrage

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Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist

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Joan of Arc, Warrior (and Catholic Saint) 

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Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt

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Pocahontas, Princess and Diplomat

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Have you seen any coloring books featuring great women in history? Share in the comments below!

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl

 

This week, I’ve found some awesome books and toys that will help your little lady become a strong woman!

 

For Your Teen (and you)! 

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This book covers an array of issues that teenage girls deal with today: body image, friends and bullies, divorce, and anxiety. According to the synopsis on Amazon, the author’s goal is to show young girls that they are stronger than they think and CAN overcome obstacles in their lives: Parents, schoolwork, boyfriends, college . . .it’s enough to make any teenage girl wish she could just snap her fingers and make it all go away. But with the click of her heels, she’ll soon discover that the means to dealing with stress were always within her power. Dealing with the Stuff That Makes Life Tough helps teenage girls find the wisdom within to overcome stress in their lives.

 

 

For Your Nature-Lover

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This activity pack comes with an activity journal full of outdoor and science activities! There’s even space for your little botanist to adopt a tree and track its progress for an entire year!

 

For Your Super Hero 

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It did my heart good to see so many little girls dressed up as super heroes this Halloween! I can’t even tell you how many little Wonder Women  I saw out trick-or-treating because I lost count! Give your little hero a pal to snuggle with and someone to tag along on her amazing adventures! Get it here!

 

For Your Activist in Training

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This board book is full of amazing women throughout history and modern time that have influenced change for the better! This Little Trailblazer features Rosa Parks, Maria Tallchief, Malala Yousafzai, and Florence Nightingale (among others)! A definite must-read for your little revolutionary!

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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Have you ever wondered what it could be like to be a “Bond Girl”? Well, two women knew what it was like to BE Bond—centuries before the British sex-pot spy was ever created!

 

During the American Revolution, a spy operation called the Culper Spy Ring functioned from 1778 to 1780 from NYC (which, at the time, was occupied completely by the British) all the way through Connecticut and west to none other than General George Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh, NY.

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The key spies operating the Culper Ring were Benjamin Tallmadge (Washington’s Intelligence Chief), Abraham Woodhull, Robert Townsend, John Jay, Caleb Brewster, and two women: Anna Strong and one known only as “Agent 355”.

 

Anna Strong would receive and distribute encoded messages to fellow members of the Culper Ring by hanging a black petticoat on her wash line when a message was ready. She would also include different colors of handkerchiefs to signal where and when the messages would be delivered. Go, Anna!

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There is much speculation, however, to the identity of Agent 355 but there is no denying her involvement or importance in the Culper Ring.

 

Agent 355, it is believed, was a member of higher society being born into a wealthy, British-supporting family. She lived in New York City and had easy access to members of British society as well as British officers.

 

Whenever she could, Agent 355 listened in on conversations between the officers—in that time, men held the belief that women were to have the same political views as their husbands (or, if unmarried, fathers) so they took no special precaution to censure their conversations. Because of this and her “beguiling charm”, Agent 355 was able to pass on sensitive information through the Culper Ring to General Washington. She is even credited with assisting in the outing of Benedict Arnold as a traitor!

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Agent 355–a woman on a mission!

 

Both of these ladies have been featured on the AMC series, Turn. Ever watched it? For more information on these awesome ladies, click here!

 

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Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl

 

The other night, I was watching PBS (big shocker; that’s my nightly ritual. Yes, I’m basically an 80-year-old in a 32 year old’s body) and there was a special about a woman named Lydia Mendoza.

Lydia or, “La Alondra de la Frontera,” (The Lark of the Border) was born in Houston, Texas in May 1916. Her parents were very musical–her mother and grandmother actually taught her how to play guitar when she was a toddler! When Lydia was just four years old, she built her own guitar out of wood, nails, and rubber bands. Lydia and her sister performed with her parents in a family band named La Cuarteto Carta Blanca on the streets of Houston. One day, Lydia’s father found an ad in a local Spanish newspaper, looking for musical acts. The family performed and won the chance to travel to San Antonio to record for the Okeh record label.

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Not long after, Lydia and her family moved to Michigan as migrant workers. They quickly built up a large fan base within their migrant community, with Lydia shining bright. The Mendoza family eventually moved back to San Antonio and resumed performing. In the early 1930’s, Manuel Cortez (a pioneer in Mexican-American broadcasting) saw Lydia perform and was immediately taken by her talent. He signed her and she recorded her first single, Mal Hombre. It was an instant success! Lydia toured the country with her family in tow.

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Lydia accomplished great success in her career which spanned over 60 years, 50 records, and more than 200 songs. Her soulful style, 12-stringed guitar, and ability to write deep, meaningful songs has made her a pioneer and a legend within the Spanish-speaking music community. Lydia continued to perform–even playing at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration–and tour until she suffered a stroke in 1998. She has received numerous awards and acknowledgements: the National Heritage Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance International. And, in 2013, Lydia was honored with a commemorative stamp from the United Postal Service.

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Gracias, Lydia, for your beautiful voice and amazing legacy!