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October 5

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


Maya Lin Designer From T\the Heart

Notes That Illuminate the Times

Black Women Medical Pioneers

Birth Control Was Practiced - Always


QUOTES by Marianne Williamson, U.S. Supreme Court, Leslie McIntyre, and Ursula LeGuin.


Maya Lin Designer From the Heart

      Tiny, Maya Ling Lin is a woman of amazing reserve, self control, and dignity - as well as an architectural genius.
      Ml was still an architectural student at Yale University when her professor asked all of his students to submit designs for the competition to choose a fitting memorial to Americans killed in Viet Nam.
      She visited the proposed site for the monument and later said of it,
"you couldn't desecrate that land." In one direction is the Lincoln Memorial and in the Washington Memorial.
      Her simple design of a wall fading into the distance of a small valley was chosen the best of 1,420 entries by a committee of Nam veterans. However, it was soon condemned as a
"degrading ditch, a wall of shame" and even worse... "We can't have our memorial built by a gook."
      Multi-millionare H. Ross Perot flew veterans to Washington by the planeload to protest Lin's design. He almost get enough support to erect a traditional statue of heroic men with an American flag situated in the center of the wall.
      A compromise was reached and Frederick Hart's statue - which had finished third in the competition Lin won - was erected at the entrance to the area where the wall was built, but the wall itself was not changed.
      The dedication was a 48-hour vigil during which the names of the 58,000 dead and missing men soldiers listed on the wall were read. Not only was the wall dedicated without once mentioning Maya Ying Lin's name, but she was not even invited to attend!
      Even the cover of dedication program had Hart's statue pictured, not the wall. . .and yet within a few months the wall had become and remains one of the most honored and moving memorials in our nation's history.
      To come to that wall is like seeing the waves of black granite headstones reaching on and on... then seeing your living self reflected on the shiny black stone over the names of our dead incised in it has the viewer become one with the memorial - an experience that brings tears in just remembering.
      A rededication was held a number of years after the first dedication in what some called the veteran's and national apology to the designer. This time Maya Lin was invited and she spoke without rancor and with dignity - continuing her amazing dignity. She has never once referred to the design controversy nor the attacks of her ethnic background with bitterness.
      Lin also designed the 1989 Civil Rights Memorial in Birmingham, Alabama, where viewers' tears become part of the monument... The fingers of viewers trace the important dates and personages of the Black Civil Rights movement through a light coating of moving water.
      She then designed Yale University's Woman's Table that is literally a large table of green granite incised on the surface with a spiraling design of the years being counted off from the university's founding in 1701 through 1991(the year of the monument's dedication).
      Next to each year is the number of women enrolled at Yale for that year. The stark march of 268 zeroes calls attention to the 268 years there was no room at Yale's educational table for women. It is a devastating revelation of men's disdain for women's rights. The table is set at a 69-degree angle to its base to commemorate the date of 1969 when the first women were admitted to Yale.
      MLL's next major project was the memorial in Seneca Falls, New York, where viewers step down into the memorial as a symbolic honoring of the women who birthed the women's movement in America.
      Water rolls gently, like tears of gratitude, over the names of the brave women who defied social and legal convention to sign the Sentiment of Rights at their convention in the 1848 - the beginning of women's battle for full human rights. In 1994 MLL's translucent clock, Eclipsed Time was installed in the ceiling of Penn Station in New York City. It has been described as looking much like a flying saucer with the 4.3-m (14-ft)-wide elliptical frosted glass clock illuminated from above. A metal disk, moves slowly across the glowing oval, casting an ever-changing shadow on the numerals below with 12:00 being a total eclipse.
      ML also designs great modern houses as well as having designed the interior of a Black cultural museum in New York.
      One of her most unusual non-architectural projects was a free-form design of glass pellets in shades of blue that were poured into ???? design on the wrap-around balcony of an art institute. It was stunning! One of her major artistic direction has been in the way glass breaks...
      Maya Ying Lin's mother was a literature professor and her father a ceramist and dean of fine arts at Ohio University at Athens. Her aunt also studied architecture at Yale.
      Maya Lin who was born 10-05-1959 in the small city of Athens, Ohio. The author of Women of Achievement and Herstory has been fortunate enough to have seen three of ML's creations. Go out of your way to see them! There is an amazing movement and depth to her work that causes one to look inward. Emotion is pulled from you, not forced on you.
      A fascinating documentary of MLL's life won honors and is available from several documentary film rental companies.

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Notes That Illuminate the Times

      In 1976 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to ordain women, and recognized those already "illegally" ordained. Jacqueline Means becomes the first woman officially ordained an Episcopal priest in 1977.

LEST WE FORGET: It took until the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 to guarantee non- discrimination in employment on the basis of pregnancy. It prevents women employed by companies covered by the act from losing seniority and other benefits (e.g.disability insurance) due to pregnancy.
      It was common (and still all too prevalent in less obvious ways) for women not to be hired, or promoted due to employers' contention that "they might get pregnant."
      HIStorically, (even within the last half of the 20th century) in many jobs women were automatically fired if they became pregnant whether married or single. Until very recently school teachers were fired for being pregnant (as if the children never saw a pregnant woman or didn't know where babies came from). Until the 1940s, most women school teachers lost their jobs when they married - the men teachers did not.

Women Protested Racism in a Church

In 1858 in Newport, Rhode Island, a white parishioner lost her right to sit in a church pew after inviting a black worshipper to sit with her. She returned the next week with a camp stool and sat in the aisle. The church, of course, had men-only deacons and members of the board... all good Christians who believed in slavery and discrimination.

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Black Women Medical Pioneers

      The first black woman to receive medical training in the US was Rebecca Lee. She completed a 17-week course at the New England Female Medical Collete in Boston.
      Remember that in 1864 when Lee graduated, medical knowledge was much less than it is today and training was necessarily briefer.
      In 1870, Susan Smith McKinney Steward became the first black woman to actually earn an M.D. She didn't just graduate; she graduated valedictorian of her class at the New York Medical College for Women. SSMS did post graduate studies at the Long Island College Hospital as the only woman student.
      Her practice was so large - treating both black and white men, women and children - that she had to maintain two offices. In 1880, she co-founded a hospital for the women/girls who worked in the New York area sweat shops.
      SSMS raised several children from her two marriages and was active in her church as choir master and organist. She died in 1918.

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Birth Control Was Practiced - Always

      If one would believe the historian's books, birth control was non-existent until very recent times. Not so. Birth control was practiced since pre-history and recent readings of ancient texts show an amazingly sophisticated knowledge of the human reproductive system.
      If birth control was never practiced, married or sexually active women throughout history would have been pregnant all the time.
      However, it must be pointed out that several religions specifically forbade a woman's use of any birth control methods and the anti-birth control campaigns rolled into high gear when the Industrial Revolution began and hordes of cheap labor were required.
      On the farms, however, men were often willing to cooperate since the woman's work was necessary and a pregnancy could mean starvation for the entire family.
      Example of two common methods are contained in the United States Practical Receipt Book published in 1844: (WOAH presents this information for educational purposes to show that birth control was a knowledge that was acceptable and disseminated in popular literature. Such knowledge (the right to chose when and if a woman wants to become a mother) was taken away from women of the U.S. We do not recommend the methods.)


      Take pearlash, 1 part; water, 6 parts. Mix and filter. Keep it in close bottles, and use it, with or without soap, immediately after connexion (sexual intercourse.)


      Take bichloride of mercury, 25 parts; milk of almonds, 400 parts; alcohol, 100 parts; rose-water, 1000 parts. Immerse the glands in a little of the mixture, as before, and be particular to open the orifice of the urethra so as to admit the contact of the fluid. This may be used as often as convenient, until the orifice of the urethra feels tender on voiding the urine. Infallible is use in proper time.


      ...Urine must be allowed to stand for from 2 to 6 days, when minute opaque bodies are observed to rise from the bottom to the surface of the fluid, where they gradually agglomerate, and form a continuous layer over the surface. This layer is so consistent that it may be almost lifted off by raising it by one of its edges. This is the kisteine. It is whitish, opalescent, slightly granular, and can be compared to nothing better than the fatty substance which floats on the surface of soups, after they have been allowed to cool ...indicates pregnancy.

            -- excerpted from Baxandall, Rosalyn; Gordon, Linda; and Reverby, Susan, editors, America's Working Women, New York: Vintage Books, 1976.

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B. 10-05-1641, Françoise-Athénaïs de Roche-chouart, Marquise de Montespan. At 26 she became mistress of Louis XIV of France. The affair lasted 13 years and she bore seven children with him. Six survived childhood and were legitimated. She remained at court even after the Louis transferred "his affections" to a younger woman and even though she was accused of being the client of a witch. Later in life she retired to a convent that she headed.

B.10-05-1658, Mary of Modena, second wife of King James II of England. The couple's five sickly children died early, blamed on her husband's sex diseases (syphilis among others).
      One son prospered, however, and rumors started that it was not James' son but one conceived with another man (some maintain a high clerict was the father) to continue the Roman Catholic rule of England. The situation set the stage for William of Orange's invasion of England. Historians today consider the son to have been the true child of James.

B. 10-05-1717, Marie-Anne de Mailly-Nesle Chateauroux, Duchess (duchesse) de, Mistress of Louis XV of France. Like so many royal mistresses, she had greater influence over her lover than historians like to admit. She used her influence with the king to promote French involvement in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48)

Event 10-05-1853: Rebecca Mann Pennell becomes first woman college professor, serving at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

B.10-05-1898, Ruth Adams Knight - U.S. radio writer and teacher. RAK instructed many (women as well) how to use radio effectively. She wrote Women Must Weep. Her mother was a school teacher.

B. 10-05-1899, Elda Emma Anderson - U.S. physicist. EEA gave her life to her country as surely as any soldier with a gun. After having been part of the team that developed the atomic bomb in World War II, EEA devoted the rest of her life to the study of radiation protection.
      EEA had been an academic teaching in various mid- western colleges until, while on a sabbatical, she joined what would become the Manhattan project. She moved to to Los Alamos. She witnessed the explosion of the first atomic bomb in the desert of New Mexico.
      EEA in cooperation with several scientists pioneered health physics and she headed the education and training for the Health Physic Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee.
      After years of research and teaching about radiation protection which brought her world-wide recognition, Anderson contracted fatal leukemia and breast cancer - obviously from her exposure to radiation.

DIED 10-05-1909, Mary Gwendolin Caldwell - U.S. philanthropist. MGC donated $300,000 as the founder of the Catholic University of America in the District of Columbia that opened its doors in 1889. She renounced the Catholic faith in 1905 just before leaving her husband of less than ten years. MGC was the recipient of the Laetare Medal.

Event 10-05-1922: Lillian Gatlin, president of the National Association of Gold Star Mothers, became the first woman to cross the continent by air. She made the flight as a special delivery package in a mail plane because there was no commercial passenger service. She hoped that the flight would create interest in having the second Sunday in March set aside as a Memorial Day to Fliers.
      LG flew under the auspices of Paul Henderson. Assistant Postmaster General, in a U.S. Post Office de Havilland mail plane, which followed the regular airmail route. The plane left San Francisco on 5 October 1922, stopped at Reno, Salt Lake City, Rock Springs and Cheyenne, Wyoming, North Platte and Omaha, Nebraska, Iowa City, Chicago, and Cleveland, and ended the trip at Mineola, New York, on 8 October. Her total flying time was 27 hours, 11 minutes, and covered an estimated 2680 miles.
      She carried with her souvenirs of several dead aviators: the baby shoes of one, Lincoln Beachey's cuff buttons, and Harold Coffey's goggles.
      At each stop she addressed the people who gathered, telling them that she was making the flight because she wished to
"preserve the memory of these men and many like them who died as martyrs to aviation whether in civil pursuits or in the cause of their country" (author unknown, 1922:1).
      When asked by reporters at Mineola to comment on her feelings about her trip she replied (author unknown 1922:1);
"It was a good deal of a rest. Flying is the ideal method of traveling, no invitations to buy products advertised on sign boards extending from coast to coast, nothing to disturb the easy sailing through the atmosphere."
            -- Excerpted from United States Women in Aviation 1919-1929: Chapter 1, "Women Take a Place In Aviation."

B. 10-05-1923, Glynis John - South African born British actor who starred in Hollywood and British films.

B.10-05-1932, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, U.S. Representative from California January 3, 1973 - January 3, 1979. She failed in her bid to become State Attorney General of California in 1978.
      Continuing her community activism, YBB was elected to the Los Angeles Country Supervisors in 1992 and reelected 1996.
      YBB was the first Black member of the California State legislator.
"As a member of (The U.S. House of Representatives') Appropriations (committee) she called for additional federal funding of community nutrition programs. She also sought funding for the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees and supported the Humphrey-Hawkins bill for full employment. Burke was one of several Members who in 1977 secured a human rights amendment to the foreign aid bill, and she supported other such efforts to pressure foreign governments guilty of human rights violations. She also worked to restore planning grants from Housing and Urban Development. In 1977 she introduced the Displaced Homemakers Act which authorized job training centers for women entering the labor market. Burke was selected as the first woman to chair the Congressional Black Caucus in 1976."             -- Excerpt from her official U.S. House of Representatives' biography at http://bioguide.congress.gov/congresswomen/index.asp

B.10-05-1939, Marie-Claire Blais, French Canadian novelist and poet. MCB left school at 15 and published her first acclaimed novel at 20. She wrote of a world full of doubts and shadows, of madness and shifting realities by using social outcasts to illustrate her themes.
      Her Une Saison Dan LaVie d'Emmanuel (1965) - translated as A Season in the Life of Emmanuel (1966) is considered her most important work with honors also going to Vivre! Vivre! and Les nuits de l'Underground. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. MCB won innumerable awards and made a Member of the Order of Canada (1980).

Event 10-05-1943: WASP pilots are landing a shipment of new BT-15's from the U.S. factory to the Orange County Airport, Ontario, where they were ferried on to England. One plane entering its turn onto the final approach falters, goes into a diving steep turn and crashes.
      Virginia Moffatt, an able flier, is dead. Most WASPs who witnessed the crash believe it is the "old" problem of carbon monoxide leaking in the cockpit of the BT-15's, a known problem that caused many of the women transporting the planes to fly the planes with their canopies partially open regardless of the cold.
      The exhaust systems were fixed before the planes were passed on to the more important and valuable male military pilots.

B.10-05-1975, Kate Winslet, U.S. actor.

Event 10-05-1989: The Florida State Supreme court cited the state constitution's privacy amendment in unanimously striking down a state law that required parental consent for a minor woman's abortion. The court ruled the privacy amendment guarantees the right of privacy for "every natural person."

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      "The world as it is has very little use for your womanhood. You are considered a weaker sex and are treated as a sexual object. You are thoroughly dispensable except for bearing children. Your youth is the measure of your worth, and your age is the measure of your worthlessness. Do not look to the world for your sustenance or for your identity as a woman because you will not find them there. The world despises you."
            -- Williamson, Marianne. A Woman's Worth. New York: Random House, 1993.

      "[A woman's] suffering is too intimate and personal for the state to insist ... upon its own vision of the woman's role, however dominant that vision has been in the course of our history and our culture. The destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society."
            -- The U.S. Supreme Court decision, 1992, that saved Roe v Wade. The majority decision was written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

      "Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed and unaggressive."
            -- Leslie M. McIntyre.

      "Part of my satisfaction and exultation at each eruption was unmistakably feminist solidarity. You men think you're the only ones that can make a really nasty mess? You think you got all the firepower and God's on you side? You think you run things? Watch this, gents. Watch the Lady act like a woman."
            -- Ursula K. Le Guin commenting on the eruptions of Mount St. Helens.

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