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Beate Sirota Gordon: Gave Japanese Women Equal Rights

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Laura Beaujon)

Read about the woman who was instrumental in shaping women’s (and basic human) rights in Japan–even as an outsider/expatriate, and at age 22.

Beate Sirota Gordon grew up in Tokyo, the daughter of a Ukrainian expatriate teacher. She observed the period in Japan when wives walked behind their husbands. When she became the only woman (at age 22) assigned to work on the post-World War II Japanese Constitution on General MacArthur’s committee, she saw an opportunity to make a difference. Read More …

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Minnijean Brown Trickey, Environmental and Civil Rights Activist

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

In 1957, Minnijean Brown Trickey was one of nine African-American students who broke the color barrier at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Read an interview with Trickey about her experiences as a member of the ‘Little Rock Nine,’ and her work as a social activist today.

Minnijean Brown Trickey was only fifteen years old when she gained her place in American history. On September 25, 1957, she and eight other African-American students faced down an angry mob to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This trial by fire was just Minnijean’s first step on the path of social and political activism; she’s gone on to fight for minority rights and environmental justice both here and in Canada. Read More …

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Carol Kaye: You’ve Heard Her Bass, but not Her Name

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Carol Kaye in-studio, 1969

The number, and breadth of the songs and hits that session bassist Carol Kaye worked on is almost inconceivable. Kaye was at the center of both the pop and movie soundtrack world of Los Angeles for more than a decade; yet she’s still virtually unknown.

Even though you probably haven’t heard her name before, there’s a very good chance you have heard the work of veteran bassist and guitarist Carol Kaye. In the 1960s, this studio musician performed on numerous recordings, including many famous pop hits: the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”; the Righteous Brothers’ “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Soul and Inspiration”; Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe”; Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”; and “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” by Simon and Garfunkel. Read More …

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Frances ‘Sissy’ Farenthold, Tenacious Texas Politician

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Farenthold in 1975

The original title for this 1975 video, containing an interview conducted by Studs Terkel, is “Texas Maverick”. Farenthold, a Texas lawyer and legislator, was the first woman to be seriously floated as a VP candidate in 1972. Though she didn’t win, she’s had an admirable career and has been an outspoken critic of government on the local and national level.

In this post:
* Video, from the mid-70s WNET series “Assignment America”: a biographical profile and interview of the first woman seriously considered for VP of a major party in the United States. Farenthold garnered 13% of the delegates’ vote for VP at the 1972 Democratic Convention, where she was bested by Terry Eagleton, who became George McGovern’s running mate. Includes an interview conducted by the late Studs Terkel. 30 minutes. (Originally aired: 1975)

* Interview with Farenthold, who is now 82, from Feb. 2009, below the video.

Read More …

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Frances Payne Bolton: 14-term Representative, Nursing advocate

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Frances Payne Bolton

Though born into wealth, Mrs. Bolton was a pioneer in Nursing Advocacy, kept 14 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1940-68), and was the first woman Representative to the U.N. Read more about her life and work.

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PBS’ Favorite Unsung Heroines

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

March is Women’s History Month–but we’d like to shine a light on women of immense accomplishment, fortitude and inspiration, though not an equal amount of recognition. From Bill Moyers, Maria Hinojosa, Judy Woodruff, Lidia Bastianich, Martin Savidge, Tom Stewart and Paula Zahn, their personal unsung heroines.

Bill Moyers from Moyers Journal, on Grace Lee Boggs

“One of America’s unsung heroines is 92-year-old community activist Grace Lee Boggs, who has spent a lifetime working for change from the bottom up. Boggs says: ‘These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.’”
Read more about Grace Lee Boggs, and watch her interview on Moyers Journal.

Read More …

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7 Unsung Heroines from Now on PBS’ ‘Your America’ Project

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Meet the local heroes profiled in the Now on PBS book Your America and watch video of their inspiring stories. 7 of the 12 are women, engaged in everything from ending domestic abuse, forcing chemical companies to stop dumping, and whistleblowing on Halliburton. See all stories

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Judith Ginsburg: in the Jewish Resistance During WWII

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

One of the fortunate few who survived the Holocaust, young Judith Ginsburg served with a Jewish resistance group that successfully fought the Nazis. Learn how she endured though horrific times.

Today 84-year-old Judith Ginsburg lives in Florida, not far from two of her four children. Originally from the city of Lida, which is now in present-day Belarus, Ginsburg is appreciative for what America has done for her. She admits that while she and her late husband were never rich, they have lived a good and normal life. Yet as a Holocaust survivor Ginsburg is haunted by what had happened to her over 60 years ago, a time when her family and thousands of other Jews perished. Read More …

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thirteen.org’s ‘Unsung Heroines’

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Margaret Knight's paper bag folding machine patent

We consider an ‘unsung heroine’ a woman whose work/life has been under-recognized. Unfortunately, that still means most women! But here are our picks for groundbreaking inventors, artists, scientists, and more, who go beyond the “first woman to…” role. (picture at right: Margaret Knight’s paper bag folding machine patent.)

Who is your Unsung Heroine? Here are some of ours: Read More …

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Jane Jacobs: Without Her, NYC Would Have Been Vastly Different

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Some of our heroines are recognized for their work–but sometimes more locally than nationally. Though she was instrumental in saving the character of the Village in Manhattan, elsewhere Jacobs’ work and her ideas are still slow to be implemented, if only because they often go against the schemes of capital in favor of a smaller-scale, community approach.

So, in Jacobs’ case, she’s a sung heroine, but one whose tune is still too faint (IMO!). And it’s still a tragedy that NY Planner Robert Moses ended up destroying the character of many neighborhoods throughout the 5 boroughs–Jacobs voice was only loud enough to save one. Read More …

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