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September 24

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

Legal Basis for Marital Rape

Hatshepsut, Egypt's Woman Pharaoh


QUOTES by Judith Sargeant Murray and Edwidge Danticat.

History of Marital Rape Laws

Until 1975 every state exempted husbands from rape statutes. The legal basis for the marital rape exemption was the Hale Doctrine. Matthew Hale, a British Chief of Justice in the 17th century and famous for witch prosecutions wrote:

"But the husband cannot be guilty of rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for, by their mutual matrimonial consent, and contract, the wife has given up herself in this kind unto the husband, which she cannot retract."

            -- Hale, Matthew. History of the Pleas of the Crown, 1736. Cited in Russell, Diana, Rape in Marriage. New York: Macmillan, 1982. [Suggested to WOA by Christine Dinsmore]

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Hatshepsut - Pharaoh of Egypt.

Hatshepsut (Hatshopsitu) was the only woman to solely rule the Egyptian empires and claim the title of Pharaoh.
      Although not a lot of records remain other than the walls of her tomb and obelisks are in existence, what there are indicate Hatshepsut reigned 1503-1482 BC. She devoted most of her time to increasing peace and prosperity by opening new trade opportunities for her nation rather than the usual pharaoh habit of looting and conquering.
      She extended trade routes south along the Red Sea and as far west as Libya which sent her tribute and east to Asia and south to Nubia. It was conquest by business without war. She is also credited with an amazing administrative ability that kept the far flung enterprises working together.
      The great prosperity enabled her to order an extensive building and renovation program, especially of the monuments and tombs damaged by the earlier rulers from Asia.
      Her finest architectural monument was her tomb which she was to share jointly with her father. The joint burial in the Valley of the Kings (reserved for male pharaohs) probably never occurred because her nephew's political powers grew stronger as Hatshepsut aged. It is not known whether she died a natural death or was murdered by her nephew's agents.
      Hatshepsut whose name means "Foremost of the Noble Ladies" ruled Egypt for two decades after she claimed the Egyptian throne for herself after her husband-half-brother's death. Well, actually, she was to rule as regent or co-ruler with her nephew Tuthmosis II but he was an infant.
      Tuthmosis II got his revenge after his aunt's death by obliterating as many references to her as possible. For much of history, Hatshepsut and her sex as a woman was virtually unknown.
      Hatshepsut's first political victory was convincing the powers that surrounded the throne that she could handle the government by herself. This was no easy task and must go down in history as a major accomplishments.
      She slowly moved towards reform and changing things to a more peaceful and prosperous economy so she wouldn't upset the powers - and the people who maintained a skepticism about a woman ruling.
      As many - men and women - would do in later times, Hatshepsut consolidated her power by replacing the older and dying advisors who had served her father with men who would owe their positions to her. Therefore they would do what was necessary to keep her in power. Without her they would lose their prestige and possibly their lives.
      She adopted a Horus name, full pharaonic (male) regalia including the fake beard, and had herself crowned as pharaoh - all strictly male perogatives, also had herself depicted as a male Pharaoh by wearing the traditional masculine dress as well as the fake, symbolic beard.
      She also improved on the legends of Pharaohs as living gods one step further by claiming that her father was actually the god Amun who disguised himself as her father Tuthmosis I to conceive her with the Queen Ahmose.
      She had the following carved on her magnificent obelisk that would be hidden for so many years behind stone walls erected by her nephew:

"Those who shall see my monument in future years, and shall speak of what I have done, beware of saying, 'I know not, I know not how this has been done, fashioning a mountain of gold throughout, like something of nature'...
      "Nor shall he who hears this say it was a boast, but rather, 'How like her this is, how worthy of her father.'

      Hatshepsut lived until 1482 B.C., dying at about 50 years of age. Her nephew Tuthmosis III who had been kept from co-ruling by Hatshepsut then became the sole ruler of Egypt. He spent the remainder of his rule trying to obliterate all records of his aunt Hatshepsut and going to war.

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Gold Star Mother's day, the last Sunday of the September, is set aside to honor those women whose sons and daughters have been killed in the line of military duty.

B. 09-24-1825, Frances Ellen Watkins (Harper) - Afro-American activist. FEW helped organize the National Association of Colored Women after a lifetime devoted to the cause of abolition. Her story "The Two Offers" in the Anglo-African Magazine (1859) is considered the first story written by an African-American woman to be published in the U.S.

B. 09-24-1891, Karin Branzell, Swedish contralto with the Metropolitan Opera 1924-1944. Her early musical education was sponsored by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden who heard her sing during a church service while she was a teenager. Branzell starred in Swedish and German opera companies as well as in America.

B. 09-24-1891, Elizabeth Friedman - U.S. cryptologist. EF with her husband William served as noted cryptologists who helped decipher enemy codes from World War I through World War II.

B. 09-24-1898, Charlotte Moore Sitterly - U.S. astrophysicist. CMS was tje major compiler of standard tables of atomic energy levels by opotical spectra. She discovered the element technetium exists in nature as well as in the laboratory. Dr. Sitterly was an world-wide authority on the composition of the sun and won the prestigeous 1990 Bruce Medalist.
      From age 47 to age 90 she worked at the National Bureau of Standards and the Naval Research Laboratory. Early in her career at Princeton University she coauthored a noted book on the masses of stars. She then moved to the Mt. Wilson Observatory and did important work on the solar spectrum while earning her Ph.D. on sunspot spectrum. While at the Naval Laboratory she published definitive books on the solar spectrum and spectral line multiplets and extended the data into the ultraviolet range.

B. 09-24-1902, Cheryl Crawford - U.S. theatre producer. CC resigned the Theatre Guild management in 1937 to become an independent producer on Broadway, unusual for a woman in those days. CC joined sister-lesbians Eva LeGallience (legendary actor) and Margaret Webster (legendary director) to form the much honored, but financially disastrous American Repertory Theatre, Inc.
      CC produced a number of flops before getting together the creative minds which produced the astoundingly successful Touch of Venus starring Mary Martin. She went on to produce such shows as Porgy and Bess (1942), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Yentl (1975), and won the Tony for outstanding play for her production of The Rose Tattoo.
      One of the greats of American theater that made Broadway what it is today, she helped to found the Actors Studio in 1947 and was also involved with the American Preparatory Theatre and ANTA. Her autobiography is One Naked Individual (1977).

B. 09-24-1923, Sheila MacRae - U.S. pop singer.

B. 09-24-1923, Beryl Edith Beaurepaire - Australian activist and feminist. BED was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire 1981 and made an Officer of the Order of British Empire 1975.

B. 09-24-1931, Cardiss Collins - U.S. Congressional Representative from Illinois. 1973-1997. She was the longest serving black woman in the history of the Congress. In 1979 CC was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, the first woman to head it.
      Although she was elected to succeed her late husband in the Congress, she was no novice in politics. She was active in party politics in Chicago and served as Democratic committeewoman.
      According to her official Congressional biography, CC "served on the Committee on Government Operations, eventually becoming the ranking Democrat. She also served as chair of the Subcommittee on Manpower and Housing and later as chair of the Subcommittee on Government Activities and Transportation where she was at the forefront of congressional efforts to increase airport security and air safety. Collins served on the Committee on International Relations (later Foreign Affairs) from 1975 to 1980, moving in 1981 to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. She also served on the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. She was the first black and the first woman to serve as a Democratic whip-at-large."

B. 09-24-1932, Svetlan Beriosova - Lithuanian-born classical ballerina. SB starred at the Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo and the Metropolitan Ballet. She joined the Sadler's Wells (now Royal) Ballet) where she became prima ballerina in 1955. Her interpretation of Giselle is said to rank with the greatest of all times. She toured extensively in the U.S. SB came from a family of classical dancers on both maternal and paternal sides.

B. 09-24-1934, Clara R. Apodaca, First Lady New Mexico 1975-79, director office cultural affairs State of New Mexico 1984-88, and senior advisor and assistant secretary, Department of the Treasury, 1993-.

B. 09-24-1942, Linda McCartney - UK musician, photographer, wife of Beattle Paul McCartney. Much maligned and blamed for breaking up the Beattles when she married "the good looking Beattle." She had been married before, had a child, was American, and was Jewish. However, the marriage lasted as one of the great love stories of modern time until her death from breast cancer, April, 1998 when Paul said the couple had only been apart only the nine days when Paul was held in jail for marijuana possession in Japan.
      LM was a crusading vegetarian and her "Ready Meals" came to dominate the meatless frozenfood market. Her motto, "Never eat anything with a face."
      "Vegetarianism isn't a business for me, it's a mission," LM once explained. It was also a highly profitable business as she up selling more sausages than Paul did records. By 1995 her frozen-food business was worth £34 million.
      As a photographer, a serendipity invitation to a Rolling Stones party gave her career the big break. The exclusive pictures boosted her to jobs that had her photographing such stars as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison - and the Beattles. She and Paul married 1967. Although not a professional musician, Paul insisted that she join his new band, Wings, as a keyboard player. Again she made good.
      Her animated short Seaside Woman (she sang the soundtrack) won first prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. She published several photographic books that were well received and had a number of exhibitions. For the British media, despite her success as a businesswoman and photographer, she never shook off the stigma of being the hard-nosed American who split up the Beatles and ousted the elegant English actress Jane Asher from Paul's affections. Her death in Arizona was rumored to be an assisted suicide.

Event 09-24-1990: Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris was elected Episcopal Bishop in Massachusetts. Her mother Beatrice was a church organist.

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      "... is it reasonable, that a candidate for immortality... should at present be so degraded, as to be allowed no other ideas, than those which are suggested by the mechanisms of a pudding, or the sewing of the seams of a garment?"
            -- Judith Sargeant Murray of Massachusetts in a 1779 essay

      "According to Tante Atie, each finger had a purpose. It was the way she had been taught to prepare herself to become a woman. Mothering. Boiling. Loving. Baking. Nursing. Frying. Healing. Washing. Ironing. Scrubbing. It wasn't her fault, she said. Her ten fingers had been named for her even before she was born. Sometimes, she even wished she had six fingers on each hand so she could have two left for herself."
            -- Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory. New York: Soho Press, Inc. (p. 151). ED's first novel is the exploration of three Haitian women, struggling with lives given them by their birth in a underpoverished, third world country where women are still often treated as less than human.

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