Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

by Casey Gamble and Bryan Whitledge

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate all women around the World for the differences – large and small – that they make. International Women’s Day came about in the beginning of the 20th century and, since 1977, has been recognized by the United Nations every year on March 8. Michigan is no stranger to women who have made a difference and we would like to recognize that.

At the Clarke, we maintain a great deal of general information about women in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region. We also have many works about specific individuals who had an impact on their community and beyond. For example, Elly Peterson was a Michigan native and a major player in the Republican Party during the 1960s and 1970s. The diaries and letters of women who lived in Michigan during the Territorial period and early days of Statehood are in the holdings of the Clarke as well.

In addition to specific individuals, the Clarke has a bounty of resources related to social movements and events. Women’s suffrage is an example and there are many resources that focus on the suffrage movement from the early period in the 19th Century through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. We have reprints of suffrage movement posters, as well as thousands of pages of newspapers on microfilm that chronicle the fight for the right to vote.

As activism increased in the 1970s, the women’s liberation movement took center stage and the Clarke is home of several primary sources that cover the topics of feminism and the fight for equal rights. Some of the sources focus on the activism of female students at CMU and others explore the nation-wide movement from a Michigan perspective.

While the entire planet is celebrating women and their contributions that make our communities and World great places to live, we here at the Clarke would like to let you know that the contributions of women in Michigan are being preserved for generations to come.