Southern Belles

My recent travels to the South made me curious about women and their contributions from the Southern states. Match the following Southern Belles with their accomplishments:

____ 1. The “mother of the civil rights movement,” in 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus to a white man.

____ 2. She got into the restaurant business in 1965 in order to finance her sons’ college education. Today, the chain she established is one of the largest steakhouse chains in the world.

____ 3. The Fair Pay Act of 2009 is named for her; she fought in the courts for gender wage equity for ten years.

____ 4. The most influential African-American woman in the U.S. for three decades — an educator, civil rights reformer, and federal government official.

____ 5. ‘The Bread Woman of New Orleans,” this philanthropist is celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana each year on February 9, a day named in her honor.

A. Margaret Haughery

B. Mary McLeod Bethune

C. Rosa Parks

D. Ruth Fertel

E. Lilly Ledbetter

The “Bread Woman of New Orleans”, Margaret Haughery emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland with her family and later settled in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband. After his death and the death of her child, she started a dairy. By 1840, she had 40 cows and gave away more milk than she sold. With her earnings from the dairy, she established a new orphanage for the Sisters of Charity — the first of 11 such institutions she helped found and maintain. In 1858, she acquired a bakery and gave up her dairy. One of the shrewdest business people in New Orleans, she soon employed 40 men. Haughery is credited with establishing the first steam bakery in the South and with the development of packaged crackers. Her humility was matched by her generosity which was only realized upon her death. A statue in her honor was unveiled in 1884 — titled “Margaret.”

An educator, civil rights reformer and federal government official, Mary McLeod Bethune was considered the most influential African-American woman in the U.S. for three decades. After teaching in several schools, in 1904, she established the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida which opened after an investment of $1.50 with six students. Today, the successor school is Bethune-Cookman University. In 1936, she began a career in the federal government while being active in organizations for black women and African-Americans in general. She advised several presidents and her influence during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration was significant. Bethune has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Called the “mother of the civil rights movement”, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. Her subsequent arrest, led to a boycott of the city bus system that lasted for more than a year and resulted in the segregation law being repealed. Parks and her husband relocated to Detroit after the boycott and later established a Foundation to introduce young people to important events in the history of civil rights. Parks has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Ruth Fertel bought a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1965 from a classified ad that by the time of her death in 2002 had grown to 82 Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses worldwide. She was a lab technician at Tulane looking for a way to finance her sons’ college educations when she decided to enter the restaurant business with no prior restaurant experience. Today, her restaurant chain is one of the largest in the world.

When President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, he was paying homage to a woman who fought for ten years to close the gap between wages paid to men and those paid to women. Her suit against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company yielded a jury verdict of $3 million that was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Ledbetter learned of the wage disparity after nineteen years of employment at Goodyear’s Gadsden, Alabama facility. Her efforts to fight wage discrimination were not in vain. Ledbetter has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. All of these Southern Belles are profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We acknowledge their many significant contributions.

(answers: 1-C, 2-D, 3-E, 4-B, 5-A)

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Source: Huffington Post Women

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