April Highlights in US Women’s History
April 2, 1931 – 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell, the second woman to play baseball in the all-male minor leagues, pitches an exhibition game against NY Yankees and strikes out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The next day, the Baseball Commissioner voided her contract, claiming baseball was too strenuous for women. The ban was not overturned until 1992.
April 5, 1911 – 100,000 to 500,000 people march in New York City to attend the funeral of 7 unidentified people who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in late March.
April 7, 1805 – Sacagawea begins helping the Lewis and Clark Expedition as an interpreter.
April 7, 1987 – Opening of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the first museum devoted to women artists.
April 9, 1939 – Marian Anderson sings an Easter Sunday concert for more than 75,000 at Lincoln Memorial.
April 13, 1933 – Ruth Bryan Owens is the first woman to represent the U.S. as a foreign minister when she is appointed as envoy to Denmark.
April 19, 1977 – 15 women in the House of Representatives form the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
April 22, – Earth Day -honor Rachel Carson today, a woman who changed America and greatly influenced the environmental movement.
April 26, 1777 – American Revolution heroine Sybil Ludington, 16 years old, rides 40 miles by horseback in the middle of the night to gather the American militia to fight against the British invasion.
April 28, 1993 – First “Take Our Daughters to Work” day, sponsored by the Ms. Foundation; in 2003 it became “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work” day.
April 1, 1911-(1998) Augusta Braxton Baker — African- American librarian and storyteller renowned for her contributions to children’s literature by including African-American history and culture
April 3, 1898-(1997) Katherine Esau – Ukrainian refugee whose scientific discoveries are documented in the classic Plant Anatomy (1953)
April 3, 1899 (1979) Katherine Ordway – Philanthropist, Established the Goodhill Foundation (1954) granting over 64 million dollars to save natural land in Minnesota, Kansas, and South Dakota
April 4, 1928 – Maya Angelou, author, poet, civil rights activist, actress; composed and read her poem at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.
April 5, 1908 (1989) Bette Davis – Renowned movie star whose career spanned “Of Human Bondage”(1934) to “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”(1962)
April 5, 1949 (1986) Judith Resnik – Second American woman in space in 1984, who perished in Challenger explosion
April 7, 1890 (1998) Marjory Douglas – Environmentalist, suffragist, women’s rights activist, championed Indian culture and the need for preserving the Everglades
April 7, 1891 (1978) Martha Eliot – Life-long child health advocate who worked for dependent and disabled children through Social Security Act (1935)
April 7, 1944 (2002) – Julia Miller Phillips, film producer; first woman to win a Best Picture Academy Award (1973, “The Sting”) as a producer; also produced “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Taxi Driver”
April 8, 1892 (1979) Mary Pickford – Most successful actress of the silent screen from 1898 to 1927; created with 5 others the United Artists production company
April 9, 1887 (1953) – Florence Price, first African American woman symphony composer
April 9, 1936 (1988) Valerie Solanas – Feminist provocateur, wrote “Scum Manifesto”(1967) translated in many languages , shot Andy Warhol in 1968
April 10, 1882 (1965) – Frances Perkins, first woman cabinet member, Secretary of Labor in 1933; key contributor to the Social Security Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act
April 10, 1903 (1987) – Clare Booth Luce, playwright, Congresswoman (R-CT), Ambassador to Italy (1953-1956)
April 10, 1926 (1995) Johnnie Tillmon – Director of the National Welfare Rights Organization from 1962 to 1972
April 10, 1930 – Delores Huerta, Chicana activist; co-founder United Farm Workers union
April 11, 1910 (1997) Annie Wauneka – Navajo leader, elected to Navajo Tribal Council in 1951, served 27 years, lead the campaign to eradicate TB on reservations, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient (1963)
April 12, 1903 (1987) Justine Polier – First woman in New York Workmen’s Compensation Division, appointed as a judge in Domestic Relations Court (1935) and served for 38 years
April 12, 1883 (1976) Imogen Cunningham – Acclaimed photographer, especially noted for portraits
April 12, 1909 (2001) – Eudora Welty, writer, won Pulitzer prize for Fiction in 1973; winner of Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Literature, and the French Legion d’Honeur
April 12, 1915 (1984) Soia Mentschikoff –Russian émigré (1917) became first woman partner in a Wall Street firm (1945). .
April 13, 1919 (c.1995) Madalyn O’Hair –Atheist who championed and won the case opposing prayer in school, which the Supreme Court found unconstitutional (1962), she along with 2 others were kidnapped and murdered
April 13, 1892 (1990) Clara M. Beyer – Worked with Frances Perkins on Social Security Act(1935) and worked to abolish child labor and for minimum and maximum hour scales
April 14, 1866 (1936) – Anne Sullivan Macy, famous teacher of Helen Keller who was blind, deaf, and mute; the two worked and traveled together throughout Macy’s lifetime.
April 15, 1896 (1980) May Edward Chinn – First African American doctor in Harlem(1936) who worked with George Papanicolaon to develop the Pap smear
April 16, 1971 (1995) Selena – Popularized the Tejano sound of Mexican music with her siblings in the 1990s, fatally shot by manager in 1995
April 17, 1913 (1997) Dorothy Fosdick – International relations official, worked to develop the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall plan for international relief.
April 18, 1898 (1990) Ruth Bunzel – Anthropologist who studied women’s art and respected the culture of Pueblos in 1924. She learned the Zuno language , and pottery skills, how to grind corn and make ceremonial food
April 19, 1917 (2007) Irene Kirkaldy – July, 1944, defied bus driver in Virginia who demanded she give up her seat (in the back of the bus), and was jailed. Thurgood Marshall won her case in the Supreme Court (6 to 1) received Freedom Medal from President Clinton
April 20, 1890 (1983) Carmelita Hinton – Founder of Putney School in Vermont( 1935), a co-ed boarding school. lived and worked at Hull House, had commitment to John Dewey’s education goals and to environment and internationalism and to arts and crafts
April 20, 1895 (1986) Mary Pukul – Descendant of native Hawaiian high priestesses, she researched ancient history, collected stories and oral histories, translator at the Bishop Museum
April 22, 1891 (1979) Laura Gilpin – Photographed and worked with Navajo people 35 years to complete a record of rural American, pioneered auto chromes which won acclaim for still-lives and portraits in the platinum printing process from 1911 to 1914
April 25, 1917 (1996) – Ella Fitzgerald, “First Lady of Song”, internationally renowned jazz singer, winner of 13 Grammy Awards
April 26, 1888 (1981) Anita Loos – Screenwriter, novelist, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1925)
April 26, 1907 (1991) Julia Godman Ruuttila – CIO recruiter, (1935), raised community support and welfare benefits and birth control so men could maintain solidarity. Continued to be union publicist, protested Vietnam War, retired at ago 80, plagued with asthma, ulcers, arthritis and angina, still often walked in picket lines
April 27, 1906 (1993) Alice Dunnigan – First African/American accredited to cover the US Congress in June 1947 and first journalist of color to travel with President Truman on his train trip. She had to pay for her own ticket. In 1961 Johnson appointed her to the staff of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity
April 27, 1927 (2006) – Coretta Scott King, civil rights, human rights, and peace April 29, 1913 (1999) Margaret Owings – California artist of wild life and founder of Friends of the Sea Otters in 1968; also she helped the Environmental Defense F Fund.
April 30, 1909 (1990) Eve Arden – She acted in many theater and movie roles; most famous for teacher Connie Brooks on radio and TV from 1952 to 1956 in “Our Miss Brooks”
April 30, 1939 – Ellen Zwilich, first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music (1983)