In 1980, a small group of women in Santa Rosa, California, set out on a mission.
Noticing that only a minuscule percent of textbook content was devoted to the achievements and accomplishments of women in the U.S., activists Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan set out not to rewrite history but to ensure it became more inclusive.
The National Women’s History Alliance, formerly the National Women’s History Project, successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as Women’s History Month and has since worked to recognize and celebrate the roles women have played in the building and strengthening of the nation. Through the years, the group has received numerous educational awards and honors for its efforts. In 1997, it launched an award-winning website to serve as a clearinghouse for multicultural women’s history information. The women’s history highlights for the month of July on the website include:
- July 2, 1979:The Susan B. Anthony dollar was released.
- July 2, 1937:Amelia Earhart’s plane was lost in the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
- July 2, 1964:President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act; Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment.
- July 4, 1876:Suffragists crashed the Centennial Celebration in Independence Hall to present the vice president with the “Declaration of the Rights of Women” written by Matilda Joselyn Gage.
- July 6, 1957:Althea Gibson was the first African American woman player to win a Wimbledon title in women’s tennis singles.
- July 7, 1981:President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman Supreme Court Justice.
- July 12, 1984:Representative Geraldine Ferraro, D-New York, was chosen as the first female to run for vice president of the United States on the Democratic Party ticket with Walter Mondale, D-Minnesota.
- July 14, 1917:Sixteen women from the National Women’s Party were arrested while picketing the White House demanding universal women’s suffrage; they were charged with obstructing traffic.
- July 19-20, 1848:The Seneca Falls Convention, the country’s first women’s rights convention, was held in Seneca Falls, New York.
- July 20, 1942: The first class of Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) began at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
- July 29, 1974:“Philadelphia Eleven” deacons Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Schiess, Katrina Swanson and Nancy Wittig were ordained as the first women Episcopal priests.
For more information on the National Women’s History Alliance, visit nwhp.org.
Tags: women's history