Women's History Month 2013
This year for Women's History Month the University of Memphis Community celebrated
"Women Making History Every Day" to honor both the historical women who have paved
the way for change and advancement for women, and also the everyday women in our lives
who have contributed to making change right in our own homes and communities.
The entire UofM campus came together to create a series of events to honor women across
the globe. Here is a recap of just a few of our exciting events!
The Women's History Month committee put out a call for submissions for the official
2013 Women's History Month Image. UofM students submitted their creations meant to
embody the theme of "Women Making History Everyday." The winners of the Women's History
Month 2013 Poster contest were Zi Felton, Terrell Harmon, Zachary Morgan, Brooke Smith,
Corie Walker, Jason Miller who collaborated to create the image below based of an
image of Zi Felton's grandmother.
We thought of "Women Making History Every day" and wanted to include every woman into
the piece. Our poster is about a woman looking into the mirror and seeing a powerful
past that has drastically shaped her future for the better. We ran through ideas of
what she might see in that mirror, like images of powerful female figures of the past,
but then decided that was too formal. We wanted to be personal. We collectively decided
on a picture of my grandmother that I was restoring. I feel as though my grandmother
was the perfect choice for the poster because she was an ordinary woman who greatly
influenced who I am today.
My grandma is more like a best friend, rather than a grandma. I can tell her anything
and she'd never judge me, but she is quick to tell me the truth no matter how painful
it is. When I went through my first heartbreak, she was the first person I ran to.
She cried with me, consoled me, we swapped stories, and in the end when the time was
right she told me what I needed to hear. She helped me get my act together. It was
because of her hard truth, the truth of my wrong doings and the truth of her own wrong
doings, that I learned to truly love myself and who I am. I was a mean kid, because
I was always teased about being a black Jew, but my grandma taught me to hold my head
up and to be proud of me. Eventually, I was able to love others. It was my grandma
who showed me that I have to love and accept myself before I can love and accept others.
She always has a warm smile for whomever she meets, and she is perpetually helping
everyone. She taught me that kindness takes practice, and then it becomes a habit,
and finally it becomes a part of who we are.
My group and I wanted most to exalt the women who would never be in history books,
but have contributed to women's history everywhere. The image of my grandma represents
all the grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and friends who are ordinary
people that impact our lives on a daily basis. The women who offer their wisdom when
we are lost and can no longer see the light, their kindness even when we are rude,
and their selfless bravery when we have fallen into trouble and are in need of saving
are just as important as the women we read about in history books.
Opening Ceremony: A Personal Journey Through Women's History
Dr. Janann Sherman, Chair, History Department shared what she learned about the historical
women she has researched over her career, and how these women have shaped her own
journey. This event was in recognition of Dr. Sherman's scholarship on American women, service
to the UofM, and leadership in the Memphis community.
Group Presenting Award to Dr. Sherman
Muted Bells Revisited: A Conversation Celebrating Women's Lives
Muted Belles, a tribute to women of Memphis, was a collaborative creation of artist
Gail Rothschild, the UofM Art Museum, and students and faculty from the UofM History
and English Departments. Carved into the entablature created in 1994 are the names
of eight Memphis women who valiantly addressed social injustices: Annie Cook, Myra
Dreifus, Julia Hooks, Alberta Hunter, Suzanne Scruggs, Ida B. Wells, Juanita Williamson
and Frances Wright.
UofM students, faculty, and staff celebrated the Muted Bells creation with a reception
and conversation about these incredible women. Featuring Drs. Beverly Bond, Janann
Sherman, Peggy Caffrey & Christine Eisel, History Dept and Leslie Luebbers, UM Art
*Muted Bells photograph by Jason Miller