February - Reclaiming our 'Her-story'

A number of remarkable women are cause for celebration in the month of February! Here are a few notables and their extraordinary accomplishments...

Feb 3, 1965 – Sculptor Geraldine McCullough wins the Widener Gold Medal Award for her copper and steel structure, Phoenix.

Feb 4, 1913 – Activist and Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley) is born. While not the first to defy bus segregation, Parks resistance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Feb 8, 1986 – Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

Feb 12, 1948 – First Lt. Nancy C. Leftneant is the first African American accepted in the regular Army Nursing Corps.

Feb 16, 1923 – Legendary singer Bessie Smith makes her first recording, "Down Hearted Blues." Signed with Columbia Records, Smith's recording went on to sell 800,000 copies.

Feb 24, 1864 – Rebecca Lee becomes the first African American woman to receive her M.D. degree. Dr. Lee-Crumpler practiced in Boston, focusing on medical care for women, children, and working for the Freedmen's Bureau to provide medical care to freed slaves. She was subjected to "intense" racism and sexism throughout her practice. Rebecca published "A Book of Medical Discourses" one of the first books to focus on medical care for women and children.

Feb 29th, 1940 – Hattie McDaniels became the first African American to win an Oscar for her supporting role as Mammy in Selznick's classic, "Gone With the Wind." Receiving her award in a segregated 'No Blacks Allowed' hotel (the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in The Ambassador Hotel) in 1940 (thanks to Selznick calling in a favor with the owner), Hattie was a pioneer in civil rights and entertainment. The daughter of two slaves, McDaniel broke through with her Oscar, but sadly, white Hollywood could never get past it's own blindness, perpetually casting her as the "sassy Mammy." McDaniel portrayed 74 domestic roles in cinema.

Explore more about these remarkable, accomplished and celebrated women, to balance your view of our collective past!

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