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May 19

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from the draft of an unpublished book based on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.


Lorraine Hansberry, playwright


QUOTES by Lady Nancy Astor and Crystal Eastman.

Lorraine Hansberry, playwright

Lorraine Hansberry (b. 05-19-1920) was the first black playwright to have a play on Broadway.Her parents had fought against restricted housing in Chicago and won a Supreme Court victory (Hansberry v. Lee - 1940; the NAACP's most celebrated housing suit) but they moved to Mexico before the judgment.
      The family had integrated a white neighborhood and while the father went to Washington (and incidentally out of harm's way), her mother kept the family in the Chicago home that was attacked by angry whites.
      LH studied painting in Chicago and Mexico before moving to New York City in 1950. She participated in, and wrote for a number of progressive movements. In 1959, the landmark A Raisin in the Sun - produced, directed, and performed by blacks - became the first Broadway play ever mounted by a black woman on Broadway.
      She tragically died of cancer at age 34. Her mother worked as a hairdresser, cashier, and schoolteacher. Her husband wrote a book and a play based on her unpublished writings and drawings. It is entitled To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.

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B. 05-19-1660, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, confidante of England's Queen Anne from childhood. Even though Sarah's husband was disgraced, SC remained a friend of Queen Anne until, as HIStorians say, her dominant personality and political intrigue forced her removal from court in 1711. Their relationship is rumored to have been lesbian.

B. 05-19-1800, Sarah Miriam Peale, U.S. portrait painter whose sisters Anna and Margaretta were also well known painters. Sarah was by far the most successful and noted celebrities sat for her. Her paintings are in many museums.

DIED 05-19-1848, Milly Francis (B. 1802?) Creek Indian woman voted a U.S. congressional medal and a pension of $96 - neither of which she received because she had died of chronic starvation and tuberculosis. The award was made 31 years after she saved a white soldier's life. The American Indian wars changed MF's life from a prosperous farmer's daughter in Alabama to a half-starved refugee in Florida and then a victim of the Trail of Tears when Native Americans from Florida were moved under the most deplorable conditions to Oklahoma.

B. 05-19-1861, Dame Nellie Melba, Australian-born coloratura soprano. So great was her popularity that Melba toast and peach Melba were named for her.

B. 05-19-1879, Viscountess Nancy Witcher Astor (of Hever Castle). U.S.-born who married a Brit, she was the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons. She fought for women having greater participation in public affairs and for improved education.

Event 05-19-1906: for the first time in history, the British Prime Minister received a delegation on behalf of woman's suffrage. The first speaker was Emily Davis. She had been one of the two women who in 1866 had handed John Stuart Mills the first petition for woman suffrage ever presented to the British Parliament.
      The Prime Minister said he personally favored suffrage for women but his cabinet did not and therefor he could do nothing. The campaign for women's vote in England culminated 12 years later when women 30 and over were granted suffrage.

B. 05-19-1932, Alma Cogan, very popular British singer, the first woman to have her own TV show in England 1959-61.

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      "In passing, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance, he laid the blame on a woman."
            -- Lady Nancy Astor, 1923.

      "Two business women can 'make a home' together without either one being over-burdened or over-bored. It is because they both know how and both feel responsible.
      "But it is the rare man who can marry one of them and continue the home-making partnership. Yet if there are not children, there is nothing essentially different in the combination.
      "Two self-supporting adults decide to make a home together: If both are women, it is a pleasant partnership more often than work; if one is a man, it is almost never a partnership the woman simply adds running the home to her regular outside job.
      "Unless she is very strong, it is too much for her, she gets tired and bitter over it, and finally perhaps gives up her outside work and condemns herself to the tiresome half-jobs of housekeeping for two."
            -- The very heterosexual Crystal Eastman of several husbands and several male lovers.

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