Celebrate Women in History

"Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less," says Myra Pollack Sadker.

While almost all Americans can find themselves, their ancestors, or their community through archive research, in celebration of 'women in history' , I urge you to take research a step further, document your  heritage through identifying, recording and sharing family stories.

As the child who inherited family photograph albums, I identified as many people as possible; and during this process, developed interest is acquiring their life-stories. In fact, it was through participating in a national celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy that I understood for the first time, the impact of my family’s heritage, Quaker.  For, although I'm three generations removed from this heritage, there is one central guideline - caretaker – which continues to influence day-to-day life decisions.

Basically, the Quaker culture views itself as a caretaker, not owner of property - a role which implies providing for the present without sacrificing the future. In my book – A Path Worn Smooth, http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/a-path-worn-smooth/4200561  which is dedicated to the people of my community Laurel Historic District - http://www.laurelgallery.net/wright_book.html , I invite readers to walk on a path worn smooth by generational expectation. Savor nostalgia for the places that are near and dear to my heart, recall family traditions and more importantly, renew experiences. Challenging all to celebrate heritage because heritage is more than a possession, it is a gift: the birthright of our children.

So, to emphasize this gift, I want to share with you a few facts/stores that illustrate the influence of legacy. Due to the influence of a Quaker value - equality, my grandmother directly inherited property from her father and transferred property to her daughters establishing a tradition that influenced the transfer of property directly from my Dad to me.  And, during the Civil War, it was my great-grandmother who stood tall in the face difficulty. Although abandoned by a husband placed in a Confederate work camp, she risks family security to participate in an act of humanity, the sharing of her family’s grave site with soldiers of both blue and gray.  

The women of my Dad’s family were self reliant and saw themselves as a ‘caretaker’ working the land along side their husbands.  In my book, I share stories of these women and their influence from initial settlement of the Bolton property in 1838 to the present.  To hear an author interview, link to the Renee Bobb Radio Show - 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thereneebobbshow/2010/02/24/meet-the-award-winning-author-sylvia-wright  or view an interview, link to Henrico County Hunt for History - http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news-video/2011/jan/29/1/re-enactors-at-hunt-for-henrico-history-45340-vi-23980/ .

Recently, my book was recommended by the National Women in History Project, http://www.nwhp.org/blog/?p=680 .  For 2011,  NWHP’s theme is ‘Our HISTORY is Our Strength ‘ . Rather than highlighting national figures, the NWHP - www.nwhp.org - encourages individuals to discover stories about women in their own families and communities. Knowing the challenges these women faced, grappled with, and overcame can be an enormous source of strength to all of us.

Because I am a child of the era ‘tell instead of read’ me a story, in my e-book edition, http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/a-path-worn-smooth/10645451 , I included research tips and strategies that enable identification as well as publication of family histories. To further inspire others, I provide lectures - http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/civil-war/2011/feb/27/sesquicentennial-lectures-historical-society-washi/ and offer an adult Ed writer’s workshop through my local County adult Ed program.  So, in celebration of 'women in history', join me in an effort to encourage others to research and highlight their legacy. Together, let's insure no ‘girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, learns she is worth less.’  


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