Barbara Jordan


Tomorrow – Feb. 21 – is the birthday of Barbara Jordan, who was born in 1936 and died on Jan. 17, 1991.  An eminent orator, lawyer, politician, civil rights leader, Barbara Jordan left a powerful legacy of indomitable forthrightness.  Below are some of her quotes:Barbara Jordan statue

We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.

There is no executive order; there is no law that can require the American people to form a national community. This we must do as individuals and if we do it as individuals, there is no President of the United States who can veto that decision.

The majority of the American people still believe that every single individual in this country is entitled to just as much respect, just as much dignity, as every other individual.

A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good.

Life is too large to hang out a sign: “For Men Only.”



Posted in Uncategorized, Women's History | Leave a comment

Susan B. Anthony

susanbanthony-2 SBA 86 bday pic

On the 15th of February, I will wish Happy Birthday to Susan B. Anthony who was born on that date in 1820, almost two hundred years ago.

With her erect posture, dark-brown hair, steely eyes, a bump on the bridge of her thin, arched nose, and a fearless personality, Susan B. Anthony was a formidable fighter for equality and justice. As a lecturer against slavery, she was encountered hostile crowds (once a maraudering mob burned an effigy of her). As a co-leader, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, of the movement for women’s rights, she was ridiculed, reviled, scorned and snubbed. In the early days, she later recalled, it felt like “the whole world was against” them. Mobs of hissing, hooting, bellowing hostile spectators would disrupt women’s rights conventions. Politician, preachers, reporters, and a vociferous assortment of foes hurled slurs, and false claims.

Very few people were wishing Susan B. Anthony a Happy Birthday on February 15th.

But over the years people started changing their minds about Susan B. Anthony. For her fiftieth birthday, hundreds of admirers attended a festive celebration, despite a torrential rainstorm, and honored her with gifts, speeches and poems. Even more people attended her seventieth birthday party. Gifts were piled high. Seventy pink carnations were presented to her. Toasts were made. Telegrams, cablegrams, and letters were read. A huge crowd celebrated her on her eightieth birthday. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote a witty poem with lines describing their speaking tours: “From sleigh, ox-carts, and mayhap coaches./Besieged with beetles, bugs, and roaches:/All this for the emancipation/Of the brave women of our Nation.” Eighty children, one by one, laid a single red rose on her lap.

Susan B. Anthony’s last birthday celebration, her eighty-sixth, was held in 1906. Addressing the gathering, she declared that in the on-going fight for women’s right to vote—“failure is impossible.”

Those now iconic words—“Failure is impossible”—were the last ones spoken by the esteemed Susan B. Anthony in public. She died at her home in Rochester, New York on March 13, 1906. Today Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, February 15, is an official state holiday in California, Florida, Wisconsin, New York, and in West Virginia, where it is celebrated on Election Day in even years. Efforts to make it a national holiday have failed in the U.S. Congress, but many people support the idea, including me. How about you?

Happy Birthday, Susan B. Anthony!

Posted in Women's History | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leontyne Price

230px-Leontyne_Price_(color)_by_Jack_MitchellToday – Feb. 10th – is the 90th birthday of the great American soprano Leontyne Price.  I heard her sing many years ago at the Metropolitan Opera House.  I just listened to her singing Schubert’s “Ave Maria” (first video in this link).  Her voice soothed my mind, troubled by the endless political chaos.!/story/singular-voices-leontyne-price/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=treatment&utm_campaign=carousel&utm_content=item0

Posted in women's stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“She Persisted!”

SojournerTruthPic SojournerTruthFlorence PCSojTruth09CropShort“Nevertheless, she persisted!” Sojourner Truth is one among millions of our foremothers who “persisted,” just as millions of women, and men of good will, are persisting today and will continue to persist! I love that word – persist!

Posted in Women's History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Warren Reads Coretta Scott Kings Letter

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima_Poinsette_Clark Wise words by Septima Poinsette Clark: “I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.” Martin Luther King, Jr. called Septima Clark “The Mother of the Movement.” I photographed the historic marker several years ago during a research trip to Charleston, South Carolina. It reads: Septima P Clark/Expressway/By Legislative Act/in 1978/Named in Her Honor/Community Leader/Educator/Civil Rights Leader/Dedicated 1978SeptimaClark

Posted in Women's History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Courageous Voices

FannieLouHamer-02 copy

Nobody’s free until everybody’s free. Fannie Lou Hamer, (Oct. 6, 1917-March 14, 1977) Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Anti-Poverty Activist, Singer; Statue located in Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Park, Ruleville, Mississippi


MaryMcLeodBethuneStatueBelieve in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world. Mary McLeod Bethune,  (July 10, 1875-May 18, 1955); Educator, Friend and Conscience of Eleanor Roosevelt, Advisor to U.S. Presidents: Statue is located in Lincoln Park, East Capitol Stree1 & 13th N.E.


Posted in Women's History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“When it comes to justice . . .”

“When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.’ And I did.”

b8ac4308-fc8e-3ac3-8c31-c3721094dc5bIn March of 1955, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. She was manhandled off the bus, locked in an adult jail, and fined. A year later, she became one of the five women to file a suit “Browder v. Gayle,” challenging segregation of public transportation as unconstitutional. Called a “star witness” by a lawyer at the trial before three federal judges, Colvin said afterwards, “I was exhausted but proud – I felt I had done my best.” Four months later, the judges ruled that bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional, a decision that was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Hearing the court’s decision gave Claudette Colvin a feeling of “joy for my people and pride for what I had done.”  She was empowered by a teacher who taught about citizens’ rights under the U.S. Constitutions. (I wrote about Claudette Colvin in my book “Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in America”)

Posted in Women's History | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Take Action

Paul Ryan’s office is conducting a phone poll, hoping to hear overwhelming opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Here’s how you can participate to make him know that there is OVERWHELMING SUPPORT for the Affordable Care Act.  I just called Paul Ryan’s office.  It’s a prompt asking for your opinion on the Affordable Care Act. It took me 20 seconds to do. You can leave a voice mail too if you’d like.
Call 202-225-3500 … they answered my call immediately; others have had a wait a few seconds.
There’s a menu of several choices: Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You’ll hear a recording about the bill to repeal it. HANG ON for about 15-25 seconds while they do their propaganda!!!
Then Press 1 to support continuing the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Posted in Musings | Leave a comment

We’re all immigrants

-1Knowing that Linda can still recite the words of Emma Lazarus’s poem with its iconic words “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ . . .”, this morning I asked her when she learned it: “There was a musical version I learned in school. We had a wonderful music teacher in 7th grade,” she said. The image is a political cartoon by Abigail Gray Swartz, the illustrator of “The New Yorker” 2/6/17 cover. A bronze plaque inscribed with the text of Lazarus’ poem is mounted on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  The lines from Lazarus’s poem on Swartz’s image read: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shores./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, /I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Posted in Musings | Tagged , | Leave a comment