From the Eyes of a Six Year Old

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Today’s post is from another guest blogger who I met fairly recently as I reached out in my through my blogging. Please welcome Judy from JayJaysFavorites. I hope that you will click on the link and explore her blog. She is a talented photographer and posts some beautiful photo’s. My personal comments are found at the end of the post. I invite you to join in the discussion.

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The book: “The Story of Ruby Bridges”

  Ruby Bridges was born in Mississippi in 1954, the same year the US made the decision ordering the integration of public schools.

       In 1959, she attended an all-black kindergarten in New Orleans.  In 1960, when Ruby was six, the New Orleans’ public schools were forced to integrate black children into white schools. Ruby took a test and found she was assigned to all-white William Frantz Public School for first grade. Ruby’s mother was for it, but her father was against her going to an all-white elementary school.  Her father felt they were asking for trouble; he thought things would never change and blacks and whites would never be treated as equals.  Her mother convinced her father that, despite the possible risks, they had to send Ruby to William Frantz P.S., not just for their children, but for all black children.

    On November 14, 1960, Ruby and her mother walked into William Frantz school, surrounded by Federal Marshals for protection. Out of six black children assigned to white schools, Ruby would be going to William Frantz alone.

    People shouted, yelled and shook their fists at Ruby and her mother as they walked into school. They carried signs that said: “Keep this school white”.  When Ruby and her mother sat in the principal’s office, Ruby could see them through the window, pointing at her, screaming and pulling their children out of the school.  In all the furor that day, Ruby never got to her classroom. 

The second day, a lovely young white woman met her at the door.  It was Mrs. Henry, her teacher.  They sat side by side working together on lessons every day.  No other children attended William Frantz then, but the line-up of noisy, rude protesters remained almost until the very end of the school year.

    Ruby prayed on her way to school: “Please be with me God, and be with these people too. Forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” 

   Ruby Loved Mrs. Henry, because she made learning fun.  The people outside screaming at her were white.  Mrs. Henry was white, but she was so different from them.  She was one of the most loving people Ruby had known.  Ruby said the greatest lesson she learned that year with Mrs. Henry was the lesson Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught everyone: “Never judge people by the color of their skin.  God makes each of us unique in ways that go much deeper.”

Ruby finished first grade.  When second grade started, the school was filled with children again.  Ruby was surprised to see a few black children in her second grade class.  The years went by.  Ruby graduated from an integrated high school, then became a travel agent, after studying travel and tourism in business school. She became married and has four children.        

When her youngest brother died in 1993, Ruby helped take care of his daughters, who went to William Frantz Public School. She started volunteering there three days a week, working as a liaison between parents and the school.  When the book “The Story of Ruby Bridges” came out, she was reunited with Mrs. Henry.  Ruby gives speeches on racism and education across the country, and Mrs. Henry often accompanies her.  Ruby says, “School can be a place to bring people together~kids of all races and backgrounds.”

 

Ruby Bridges was a brave and delightful young child, who was wise beyond her years. Ruby walked through horrific chanting and name-calling to get the education she deserved. No child should have to do that. But Ruby is a survivor, a peacemaker and a child who brought other children back to learn together. Today we celebrate the life of Ruby Bridges, and the accomplishments she achieved for education for ALL children.

Over this past month I have read many great stories about women who have helped to shape both our personal and world’s history. The journey has been informative and enlightening. One thing that all of these amazing women have in common is a courageous spirit. I am sure that for some they were shaking on the inside as they stepped out of what the “norm” was to help transform our world. I for one applaud and thank each of them for their willingness and desire to see things differently. I also want to thank each one of you that wrote a guest post for the occasion.

Please visit my Celebrating Women’s History page for a complete list of bloggers and posts that were honored in March.

I welcome and invite your comments, after-all that is what makes the blogging world so fun.

~Paige

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Be My Guest- Women’s History Celebration

Today’s blog is written by Colline over at A Potpourri of Thoughts and Experiences. I hope you visit there to read some of her other posts.

 

Here's to Good Women

The place: a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in the United States

The date: December 1, 1955

The person: Rosa Parks, an African-American woman.

The action: refusal to give up her place for a white woman.

The result: she was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person.

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The event described above seems foreign to the modern reader. And yet it was not too long ago that women of colour did not have the rights that women today enjoy. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, a defender of civil rights for African-American women, is known for her refusal to give up her right to choose where to sit. Her defiant action has came to be a symbol in the movement against racial segregation in the United States. Even though at the time of her action she was active in the civil rights movement, she stood up for herself on that day because she was tired of giving into the demands made on her to cede her rights to her white counterparts. She paid the price for her action: with her arrest and conviction by a local court. She also lost her job as a seamstress at a local store.

Her defiant action caused a spark in the civil rights movement that ignited the Montgomery bus boycott. In boycotting the Montgomery public transit system, the users were protesting against the segregation of races in the buses. As most bus riders were from the black population, the protest crippled the Montgomery public transit system financially as they lost most of their ridership. The year long bus boycott began on December 1, 1955 and ended December 20, 1956 with a federal ruling in the case of Browder v. Gayle; a ruling which led to a United States Supreme Court decision declaring the Alabama and Montgomery laws of segregated buses to be unconstitutional. From that time on, riders were not segregated when using the bus system.

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Parks’ action on the bus that day in December 1955 was not the only action she made in her life against racial segregation. She was a firm believer that people of colour should be able to advance in society. When she was arrested, she was the secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. When she moved to Michigan after the incident in Montgomery, she became secretary and receptionist to the African American US representative, John Conyers. She worked with him between the years 1965 to 1988. Her collaboration with civil rights leaders during her life, led her to helping Martin Luther King Jnr become the leader of the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks was a woman who stood up for what she believed – and she worked towards achieving a vision that she firmly believed in. Undaunted by the obstacles she faced from living in a society that did not acknowledge her as an equal, she continued working for a dream that she shared with other members of the civil rights movement. Women, no matter what race, can see her as an example of a woman who never gives up on her dream, a woman who had the strength of her convictions to stand up for what she believed was right.

What do you see Rosa Parks as an example of? Would you stand up for what you believe in as she did?

When I invited Colline to write a guest blog I did not know who she would select as the featured woman. When I learned it would be Rosa Parks I was delighted. I personally find Rosa’s story inspiring. She was a woman not afraid to take a risk. I read a story about Rosa in the not so long ago past where the author made the statement that Rosa’s action on that bus that day was like her placing her shoulder against a boulder and giving it a huge push. As Colline pointed out in a comment on my recent post Fear vs. Hope risk looks different for each one of us. We need to be willing and ready to step out and take that risk when the trumpet sounds for the action you take may forever go into the history books.

 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Be My Guest

My Guest Blog this week in honor of Women’s History Month has been penned by Nancy over at Living the Seasons. I hope that you enjoy the post. Please take a few minutes to visit her blog…I always enjoy what I find there.
Paige

Cookies and Beanies

 

Women's empowerment

March 12,2012 is the 100th anniversary for the founding of Girl Scouts. I find this to be of great significance as we honor and celebrate women world-wide this month with the message exclaiming women’s education and empowerment. The founder of Girl Scouts, a name familiar to those among us that wore the beanies as younger girls, is Juliette Gordon Low.

Ms. Low, known as Daisy to her friends, came from Savannah GA. Not unlike Ms. Hepburn whom I wrote about last week, she came from a family of financial means. She went to boarding and finishing schools before traveling abroad and marrying. The marriage was relatively short-lived however leaving Daisy wondering what she was to do with her life. It was shortly after that she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and became interested in the new youth movement.

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Ms. Low returned home to the U.S. and less than a year later birthed the Girl Scout movement. Her vision was grand when she shared her idea with a family member. “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member.

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Today we read statistics such as, more than 50 million American women enjoyed Girl Scouting during their childhood—and that number continues to grow as Girl Scouts of the USA continues to inspire, challenge, and empower girls everywhere. As well as, today, there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts—2.3 million girl members and 880,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.

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I would say the vision “stuck”. Ms. Low’s vision has become her legacy. And we can’t forget to mention the cookies. Who among us hasn’t eaten a Thin Mint or enjoyed a frozen Samoa? In fact I saw packages of Girl Scout cookies in the office today.

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As for me…I was a scout as a younger girl making it to the ranks of Cadette before “outgrowing” Girl Scouts(or just being too cool to go any more). I remember walking for miles, back when you could still sell door to door, pulling my wagon full of cookies. As an adult I led a group of 22 energetic young girls for 3 years. It was fun to work with them, get them motivated and take them camping(whew, that was quite the experience!) And cookies?! Well you have never seen cookies until you are the cookie MOM for the troop. Gosh I never thought I would see my front porch again the cookies were stacked so high. I won’t even tell you some of the pain that came from handling the money collected. All in all my experiences were nothing but positive.

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I pay tribute to Juliette Low for being such a visionary. Working to create an organization that daily helps to empower and educate girls and women.

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If you would like to read more about Juliette Low or explore the history of Girl Scouts please visit the website. All of my facts and images have been taken from there.

Women’s History Month Celebration

Here's to Good Women

Not surprisingly my first post to honor and celebrate Women’s History Month has led me on an adventure. I say this because I thoroughly enjoy research and history. When I was taking classes toward my degree(on hiatus presently) I would often read something intriguing and pursuit it further. I was usually amazed by the learning journey.

The women I choose to write about this month will be in some way connected to my home state of Connecticut. Today I will celebrate the life of Katharine Martha Hepburn.

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Ms. Hepburn, known to her friends as Kit, was born 1878 in NY. She was an heiress to the Corning Glass fortune and was raised in a family that encouraged their daughters to fight for equality. She went onto graduate from college with a degree in political science and history and a Master’s in art history, pretty impressive for the era, she married Thomas Hepburn and moved to Connecticut.

Author’s note: Thomas was a physician at Hartford Hospital and became the CT’s first urologist. This is the same hospital that I work at today.

The Hepburn’s moved the the neighborhood known as Mark Twain’s Nook Farm. This neighborhood dates back from Constitutional times and has been called home to many familiar names i.e. Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Gillette to name a few. Do take a few moments to explore the link.

Author’s note: my cousin is the current day curator for the Mark Twain House.

The Hepburn’s raised their children in their home on Hawthorne Street. Most famous of these children being Katharine Hepburn the actress. It was initially her life that I was researching however I decided to write about the woman behind the woman.

Ms. Hepburn was an activist for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. She was the co-founder for the Hartford Equal Franchise League whose membership grew to 20,000. She would eventually become president of the CT Women’s Suffrage Association and would carry a picket on the march in Washington during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. In the 1920’s she founded the Connecticut Birth Control League which was the early beginnings of Planned Parenthood.

As you might imagine the newspapers would often have something to write about Ms. Hepburn’s activities. Her husband, Dr. Hepburn was said to scan through the papers to see what controversial activities his wife was involved in that day. If no news was reported he would sigh* dodged the bullet that day was his thought no doubt.

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Ms. Hepburn died in 1951. She is buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford(another link worthy of exploring). Katharine was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994.

 Author’s note: I have lived in CT all of my life yet I have never explored the Mark Twain Nook Farm Neighborhood or Cedar Hill Cemetery. I see an outing with my Canon coming…stay tuned…

Hope you enjoyed learning about this fascinating woman. I will be posting at least one blog a week of my own writing and will be featuring several guest bloggers to explore some of their favorite women. If you would like to write your own post please do share the link on my site. IN the meantime remember,

         “Well-behaved women rarely make history”

                                            ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich