Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Women's History Month and the Disappeared Community Builders



My letter to the TH Trib Star was published today.

March 27, 2014

Readers' Forum: March 28, 2014

TERRE HAUTE — Do you know our founding mothers?

This is in response to the piece titled “25 years later, ‘influentials’ assess long road of progress for women,” published on March 22, 2014, and written by Mark Bennett.

It was a great story about a great group of contemporary women leaders. Thanks.

Taking nothing away from this group of women, local communities have always been filled with women who are what the great historians Mary Beard and Gerda Lerner called community builders.

Study the history of local progress in city after city going back into the 19th century and you will find hospitals, charitable organizations, artistic institutions and much more being originated in theory and being created in practice by women and women’s groups.

Womens’ volunteer work did not begin and end with selling home-baked cakes for local charities. They put their heads together and identified the needs of their communities that were not being met by the powers that be, the  male-controlled political and economic power structure. After the hospitals, libraries, theaters and countless other necessary centers of civilization and human progress were put in place, thanks to the initiatives and drive of women, these centers were turned over to the administration of men.

And the women and women’s groups behind these first giant steps into better, kinder, more informed communities? They too often disappeared, never to be read about in the history books or honored on commemorative sites, such as, for example, Terre Haute’s Walk of Fame.

It’s Women’s History Month. Do you know who your founding mothers were? Why not?

— Gary W. Daily
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