Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month
Valiant Women of the Vote:  Refusing to be Silenced
March 2021


In August 1920, the United States Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the government from denying the voting rights of citizens strictly based on their gender.  This was the first of many more steps to granting all women the right to vote—a right for which the fight continues into our current age.  As we celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote, we will examine stories of victories and triumphs, as well as those stories that have been forgotten or largely untold.  Join the James Farmer Multicultural Center, the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and UMW student organizations as we celebrate the resilient, victorious generations of women who have paved the way for us today.


Refusing to be Silenced: Notable Women Project

March 1 –March 31, 2021 

Join the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the Women’s History Month Planning Committee in celebrating notable women throughout the month of March.  We will be celebrating on social media, on the UMW TVs located in Academic, Athletic, and Residential buildings, and highlighting stories, quotes, and trivia before our events all month!


History of HBCUs and the Divine Nine [CANCELED]

Monday, March 1  |  6:00 p.m . |  [CANCELED]

Join members of the Divine Nine, historically Black Greek letter organizations, as they discuss the history of their organizations and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Panelists will talk about their own experiences with institutions that uplift and highlight the experiences of the Black community, while also discussing the historic implications of these institutions.


 Great Lives Series:  Madeleine Albright

Tuesday, March 2  |  7:30 p.m  |  Find out more about this event here

Only a year after her birth Madeleine Korbel and her family fled Nazi Germany’s grip on Czechoslovakia. After World War II, her family returned but were again forced to flee, this time facing a communist consolidation of power. In 1948 Madeleine and her family arrived in the United States, settling in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 and soon thereafter married Joseph Albright, member of an important newspaper family.

Albright’s professional career began with a stint working for Senator Edmund Muskie. She went on to work for Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. When Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992, he chose Albright to be the US Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1997 Clinton selected her to be the country’s first female Secretary of State.


Human Rights Film Series:  The Women’s March

Thursday, March 4  |  5:00 pm  |  Register here for Human Rights Film Series: The Women’s March

On January 21, 2017, hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington, DC. The same day, hundreds of sister marches took place across the country and around the world. For some, it was their first time marching, for others, the continuation of a decades-long fight for human rights, dignity, and justice. For all, it was an opportunity to make their voices heard.  It was the largest one-day protest in American history.


Great Lives Series:  Zora Neale Hurston/Eudora Welty

Thursday, March 4  |  7:30 p.m  |  Find out more about this event here

The US South is a region rich in outstanding literary women, with Harriet Jacobs, Mary Chesnut, Kate Chopin, Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and Alice Walker, among others, coming to mind. However, two twentieth-century southern women writers often tower above the rest: Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty.

Gary Richards puts these two fascinating writers in dialogue with one another to explore their handling of race and gender while simultaneously exceeding traditional literary boundaries, Hurston with her anthropological studies and Welty with her photography.


Gendered Entrepreneurialism and Sustainability: Possibilities and Pitfalls

Tuesday, March 9  |  4 pm  |  Register here for this event

A public lecture by Dr. Debarati Sen, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Houston. If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Gupta, sgupta@umw.edu


Souls of Black Girls:  The Image of Women of Color in the Media

Thursday, March 11  |  6 pm  |  Register here for this event

Screening and discussion of Souls of Black Girls: The Image of Women of Color in the Media.


Give Us the Vote

Saturday, March 13  |  Watch on YouTube

Set in 1916, at the headquarters of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, Kate Waller Barrett and Janetta Fitzhugh are composing a petition for women’s right to vote to present to the Virginia General Assembly. While activist Janie Porter and Adele Clark are busy making protest signs, an uninvited prominent visitor appears who’s intent on putting an end to their mission. Video is available here on YouTube.


Great Lives Series:  Artemisia Gentileschi

Tuesday, March 16  |  7:30 p.m.  |  Find out more about this event here

In this lecture we will examine Artemisia Gentileschi’s career from her beginnings in Rome through her work for the Medici court in Florence, her travels to Venice and London, and finally to the Spanish court in Naples where she lived and worked for the last two decades of her life. Gentileschi has been described as the most acclaimed woman artist of the seventeenth century. Her work, however, indicates she was one of the most extraordinary artists of any age. Gentileschi’s dramatic life offers a window through which we may appreciate the range of experiences and depth of emotions evident in her paintings.


 Voces de mujeres en el teatro hispano: Performances by the students of Spanish 475: Hispanic Women Writers

Thursday, March 18  |   5:30-6:00pm  |  Register here for this event

Brief performances of works by Latin American and Spanish women dramatists Sor Juana (Mexico) and María Rosa Gálvez (Spain) followed by discussion.


Great Lives Series:  Lillian Hellman

Thursday, March 18  |  7:30 p.m.  |  Find out more about this event here

Few playwrights have ignited controversy as Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) during a decades-long trailblazing literary career that was unprecedented for women of her time. At once both provocateur and observer, Hellman’s unapologetic approach to life became fodder for her writing, tinder for volatile relationships, and the momentum behind her political activism.
The author of plays (The Children’s Hour, The Little Foxes, Another Part of the Forest, Watch on the Rhine, The Autumn Garden, Toys in the Attic), screenplays (The Dark Angel, The Searching Wind, The North Star, The Chase), an operetta (Candide), and a series of memoirs (An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir, Pentimento: A Book of Portraits, Scoundrel Time) that teeter on the shifting sands of truth, Hellman’s life of contradictions defied easy labels. A southerner, an activist, a divorcée, a Communist, a Stalinist, an anti-fascist, a skeptical feminist, and a Jew—Hellman reveled in the paradox of her complex self. But it was Hellman’s steadfast refusal to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (that led to her being blacklisted by the film industry) that bent the public imagination and hastened the end of a career that left an indelible mark on the American theatre.


Women’s History Month Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Monday, March 22 | 6 p.m. | Register here for the Women’s History Month Keynote speaker

Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences; the Department of American Studies; the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion; the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communications; the Department of Psychological Sciences; the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the James Farmer Multicultural Center; and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D., is the author of the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love (2015). In her fiction, she explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young black women, through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected magical realist techniques. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Writing, American Fiction: Best New Stories by Emerging Writers, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize Stories, BLOOM: Queer Fiction, Art, Poetry and More, TriQuarterly, Feminist Studies All About Skin: Short Stories by Award-Winning Women Writers of Color, Baobab: South African Journal of New Writing and many others. She is the winner of the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award, and fellowships, scholarships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Yaddo Colony, the Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat, and the Center for Fiction in New York City, where she received a 2011 Emerging Writers Fellowship.

Mecca is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Temple University, and a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College. A proud native of Harlem, NY, her critical and scholarly work on sexuality, identity, and poetics in contemporary African Diaspora culture has appeared in publications including Palimpsest: Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International, Jacket2, Public Books, GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies Quarterly, From Uncle Tom’s Cabin the The Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Narratives of Black Life, Ebony.com, Zora Magazine, TheRoot.com, Ms. Magazine online, and The Feminist Wire, where she serves as Associate Editor for Arts & Culture.  Register here for the Women’s History Month Keynote speaker

Join Dr. Mecca Sullivan for an informal conversation about either fiction writing in general or her fiction specifically.  Individuals will have the opportunity to ask questions to Dr. Sullivan during this session.  Conversations with Dr. Sullivan on March 23 at 5pm on Zoom.

Women in the American Revolution

Thursday, March 25  |  6 pm  |  Register here for this event

Author Barbara Oberg will speak on her book “Women in the American Revolution: Gender, Politics, and the Domestic” Building on a quarter century of scholarship following the publication of the groundbreaking Women in the Age of the American Revolution, the engagingly written essays in this volume offer an updated answer to the question, What was life like for women in the era of the American Revolution? The contributors examine how women dealt with years of armed conflict and carried on their daily lives, exploring factors such as age, race, educational background, marital status, social class, and region.


Belly of the Beast Screening

Monday, March 29  |  6 pm  |  Register here for this event

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies, History and American Studies, Political Science and International Affairs, Sociology and Anthropology, the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, and Germanna Community College

This is a public screening of the documentary, Belly of the Beast, an exposé of human rights abuses in women’s prisons, highlighting modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice. (For more information on the documentary, please go to this website: https://www.bellyofthebeastfilm.com/.)  The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Cynthia Chandler, the lawyer who documented the abuse for over a decade and was a key participant in the documentary.  Register at https://www.cfrrr.org/belly-of-the-beast/

Women’s and Gender Studies Undergraduate Research Forum

Wednesday, March 31 | 4 – 6 p.m.

Join UMW students as they showcase their undergraduate research in women’s and gender studies. Cash prizes will be awarded. Contact Associate Professor or Religious Studies Jennifer Barry at jbarry@umw.edu for more information or to submit entries.


All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540/654-1044 or visit www.students.umw.edu/multicultural.

Please email us at umwjfmc@gmail.com if you have any questions regarding disability-related accommodations.