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May 8

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from the draft of an unpublished book based on
Irene Stuber's files on women of achievement and herstory.
The full text of this episode of Women of Achievement and Herstory
will be published here in the future.


LAPD Captain Betty P. Kelepecz, "continuing the legacy."


QUOTES by Leslie Woodcock Tentler and J. M. Redman.

LAPD Captain Betty P. Kelepecz

      "I need to pave the way for other women as those before me did for me," LAPD Captain Betty P. Kelepecz said."I'm continuing the legacy."

Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams formally presented Capt. Betty P. Kelepecz with a commander's badge May 8, 1997 that made her the highest-rankingfem ale officer LAPD history.
      Kelepecz earned a law degree and become an attorney while rising through the department's ranks, is noted as an effective leader and administrator.
      Just before Kelepecz's promotion, an internal report confirmed former Det. Mark Fuhrman's allegations that a group of male officers in the West Los Angeles police station repeatedly harassed female colleagues.
      Such harassment is not unique to LAPD.
      "We didn't see it as harassment back then, we saw it as playing along, doing what you needed to do to survive," Capt. Kelepeecz said. "Some male officers would say to me, 'I don't think you belong on the job.' "
      She said that the attitudes of some of her male colleagues toward women during the early part of her career would not be tolerated in today's LAPD. She recalls enduring inappropriate and demeaning comments and even outright hostility as a young officer.
      Penny Harrington, director of the National Center for Women in Policing and a former chief of the Portland, Ore., Police Department, from which she retired after continued political harassment cost her her health said the promotion is "long overdue."
      "I'm glad they're appointing her to this rank," she said. "But most police departments throughout the United States have had women in these ranks for years. I hope they take this opportunity to promote the other women to top jobs so this is not just a token promotion."
      At the time of Kelepecz's promotion, LAPD was 17.3% female.
            [Additional information for this article from the Los Angeles Times.]

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05-08 Anniversaries B. 05-08-1662, Countess Maria Aurora Konigsmark, a typical non-existent (female) political power from the annuls of history. She was an emissary sent to Sweden for peace talks and dozens of other missions. As mistress of the King of Poland, she exerted great power at the Saxony court - as did thousands of other royal wives, mistresses, and mothers and sisters in other nations throughout history.

B. 05-08-1821, Ella E. Gibson, U.S. ordained minister and army chaplain before she became an atheist and wrote The Godly Women of the Bible, by an Ungodly Woman of the Nineteenth Century (1878).

B. 05-08-1835, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, U.S. novelist whose work is critically described today as sentimental and overblown, woman-stuff, but it sold very well in the mid 19th century. The unstated fact is that more than just women read her works. A Civil War report states that a Union general ordered all copies of her book , Macaria, in the possession of his troop was to be burned and the soldiers forbidded to read it. Heady actions for a book that only women read! Macaria was written in support of the Confederate position.

B. 05-08-1910, Mary Lou Williams, U.S. arranger, composer, and pianist known as the "Queen of Jazz."
      A child prodigy, she toured while still in elementary school. Her piano playing was outstanding.
      She wrote a number of well known jazz tunes and is considered a main contributor to the development of bebop.
      She arranged and created music for most of the big bands from Duke Ellington to the Dorseys.
      MLW converted to Catholicism after an emotional crisis while she was touring in France and went into a retreat. She composed several masses and religious music but she returned to the jazz/swing stage.
      She was artist in residence at Duke University. Her recording of the History of Jazz - lecture and music - as well as the later Embrace are outstanding.

B. 05-08-1912, Ray Lev, Russian-born, U.S. classical pianist.

B. 05-08-1943, Toni Tennille, singing half of the popular 1970s duo, Captain and Tennille.

Event: 05-08-1950: Lieutenant Commander Bernice Rosenthal Walters, becomes the first woman assigned to a naval vessel, the hospital ship Consolation.

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      "American women began to work outside the home in significant and increasing numbers after 1875. Most of it was done by the daughters of the working class.
      "Did the employment interval - generally 6-8 years between school-leaving and marriage - alter in fundamental ways, the values, behavior, and expectations of young women? Did the work experience, for example, deter early marriage among working class girls and cause them to center their adult lives less exclusively around the family than their mothers had done?"
            -- Leslie Woodcock Tentler, Wage-Earning Women, Industrial Work and Family Life in the United States, 1900-1930. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1979.

     " 'I'm trying to sort out some things for myself,' (a very strict, anti-abortion Catholic woman) said.
      " 'I...Do you think it was God's intention that those women be punished?' (Several women had been murdered because they had abortions.)
      " 'Why would He bother?'
      " 'What do you mean?'
      " 'Those who sin spend an eternity in hell, right?'
      "She nodded.
      " 'How long is eternity?' I asked.
      " 'How...one can't know that,' she replied. 'Forever.'
      " 'And the average human life span? Seventy or so years?'
      " 'About that, yes.'
      "With an eternity in which to punish us, why does God need to bother with the few years we have here? Since death is inevitable, how much of a punishment can it be? If confession and repentance are really possible, why take that away to give a punishment that is inevitable? To send the guilty to hell fifty years early? What's fifty years to eternity?"
            -- J. M. Redman in her novel Deaths of Jocasta which deals with the violence against women's clinics.

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