March is Women's History Month, an especially appropriate time for you and your children to visit several websites that explore the dynamic roles that women have played in the past and continue to play in contemporary American society. The National Women's Hall of Fame located in Seneca Falls, New York, has an excellent website featuring photographs and biographies of its members. This collection of phenomenal women grows as each year new faces join the Hall of Fame. This year's inductees included environmentalist Marjorie Douglas, ACLU co-founder Crystal Eastman, 1st female Attorney General Janet Reno, and novelist Eudora Welty, to name a few. The site also has an extensive online bookstore with books written by and about the women in the Hall for those who want to learn more about a particular individual.
Another online collection of biographies of intriguing women can be found on the Encyclopedia Britannica's Women in American History website. Timelines on the site show turning points for women in America, and a section entitled " In Her Own Words" links to journal entries, speeches, poems, essays and other documents written by the women featured on the site. But perhaps the most interesting section of this site is the media gallery, which features audio and video clips so that visitors can actually hear Carrie Chapman Catt discussing the fight for suffrage, see newsreel footage of the women's wartime professional baseball league, or watch Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy demonstrate how Keller learned to speak.
Older children will enjoy the more involved but fascinating contents of the Women and Social Movements site created by students at the State University of New York at Binghamton. The site provides historical documents that deal with issues of race, ethnicity, and class and currently covers the period from 1820-1940, but will be expanded by the summer to include documents ranging from 1776 to 1990. Topics include African American women at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair; the 1909-10 Shirtwaist Strike in New York City; the temperance, antislavery, and suffrage movements; women in utopian communities; and male supporters of women's rights. This site is a goldmine for those doing research -- each project provides about twenty related documents and additional images, a bibliography, and a listing of related WWW links.
The theme of this year's Women's History Month is celebrating women of courage and vision. These three websites do just that -- while they also celebrate the potential in all children to become men and women of courage and vision.
Copyright © 2001 by Heather Tomasello
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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:23:48 EDT