Every March, the U.S. celebrates the often unsung accomplishments and contributions that women have made to the culture and progress of the nation. From challenging social conventions to expanding frontiers, women have played a significant role in shaping American society. And yet, National Women’s History Month is a relatively new movement, beginning in the 1970’s and spearheaded by small grassroots organizations and individuals. Finally, in 1987, Congress declared the entire month of March as a time to honor women’s achievements.
In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Law Offices of Alpert Schreyer would like to highlight a few of the extraordinary women that have helped shape the history of Maryland.
Margaret Brent – One of the earliest champions for women’s right to vote, Margaret Brent was a British noblewoman who came to Maryland in 1638 and established an estate with her sister. She would become a notable businesswoman, an attorney, and an entrepreneur. In 1648, Brent appeared before the Maryland General Assembly to petition for the right to vote, declaring that “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
Harriet Tubman – Born as a slave in Dorchester County in 1820, Harriet Tubman would become one of the most well-known abolitionists and “conductors” of the Underground Railroad. She successfully led more than 300 slaves to freedom and worked as a spy, a nurse, and a cook for the Union Army during the Civil War. Her courage and dedication to helping runaway slaves was extraordinary during a time of intense persecution and cruelty toward African-Americans.
Clara Barton – Founder of the National First Aid Society and the American Red Cross, Clara Barton brought relief and aid to soldiers and families during the Civil War. She went on to found and become the first president of the American branch of the Red Cross in 1881. Her three-story home in Glen Echo, Maryland is the first permanent headquarters of the American Red Cross.
Rose Kushner – A talented psychologist, teacher, medical writer, and investigative reporter, Rose Kushner advocated on behalf of breast cancer patients after discovering her own cancer in 1978. She single handedly changed laws and medical practices regarding breast cancer, effectively helping to eliminate radical mastectomy as the only option for women with breast cancer. She successfully introduced a new Congressional bill that authorized Medicare coverage for mammogram screenings.
Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig – An accomplished cardiologist and founder of pediatric cardiology, Taussig was the first female president of the American Heart Association. She was also the first woman to become a full professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson awarded Taussig with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her substantial contribution to U.S. health and science.
There are countless more women who have made an amazing impact on our state and country as mothers, educators, civil rights activists, CEOs, and more. Let us know who you will be honoring and celebrating for National Women’s History Month in the comments or on our Facebook page.