Stumbling Toward Enlightenment

Remember the Ladies: Bonnie J. Dunbar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Original uploader was ScottyBoy900Q at en.wikipedia

Original uploader was ScottyBoy900Q at en.wikipedia – Transfered from en.wikipedia Transfer was stated to be made by User:TheDJ.

Bonnie Jeanne Dunbar (born March 3, 1949) is a former NASA astronaut. She retired from NASA in September 2005. She then served as president and CEO of The Museum of Flight until April 2010. Dr. Dunbar now leads the new University of Houston’s STEM Center (science, technology, engineering and math) and joined the faculty of the Cullen College of Engineering.

Early life
Dunbar was born in Sunnyside, Washington. In 1967, she graduated from Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside, Washington. Following graduation in 1971 from the University of Washington, Dunbar worked for Boeing Computer Services for two years as a systems analyst. From 1973 to 1975, she conducted research for her master’s thesis in the field of mechanisms and kinetics of ionic diffusion in sodium beta-alumina. She is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority.

In 1975, she was invited to participate in research at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell near Oxford, England, as a visiting scientist. Her work there involved the wetting behavior of liquids on solid substrates. Following her work in England, she accepted a senior research engineer position with Rockwell International Space Division in Downey, California. Her responsibilities there included developing equipment and processes for the manufacture of the Space Shuttle thermal protection system in Palmdale, California. She also represented Rockwell International as a member of the Dr. Kraft Ehricke evaluation committee on prospective space industrialization concepts. Dunbar completed her doctorate at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. Her multi-disciplinary dissertation (materials science and physiology) involved evaluating the effects of simulated space flight on bone strength and fracture toughness. These results were correlated to alterations in hormonal and metabolic activity. Dr. Dunbar has served as an adjunct assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston.

Dunbar is a private pilot with over 200 hours in single engine land aircraft, has logged more than 700 hours flying time in T-38 jets as a back-seater, and has over 100 hours as co-pilot in a Cessna Citation jet. She was married to fellow astronaut Ronald M. Sega.

NASA career
Dunbar accepted a position as a payload officer/flight controller at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1978. She served as a guidance and navigation officer/flight controller for the Skylab reentry mission in 1979 and was subsequently designated project officer/payload officer for the integration of several Space Shuttle payloads.

Dunbar became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. Her technical assignments have included assisting in the verification of Shuttle flight software at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), serving as a member of the Flight Crew Equipment Control Board, participation as a member of the Astronaut Office Science Support Group, supporting operational development of the remote manipulator system (RMS). She has served as chief of the Mission Development Branch, as the Astronaut Office interface for “secondary” payloads, and as lead for the Science Support Group. In 1993, Dr. Dunbar served as Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. In February 1994, she traveled to Star City, Russia, where she spent 13-months training as a back-up crew member for a 3-month flight on the Russian Space Station, Mir. In March 1995, she was certified by the Russian Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center as qualified to fly on long duration Mir Space Station flights. From October 1995 to November 1996, she was detailed to the NASA JSC Mission Operations Directorate as Assistant Director where she was responsible for chairing the International Space Station Training Readiness Reviews, and facilitating Russian/American operations and training strategies.

A veteran of five space flights, Dunbar has logged more than 1,208 hours (50 days) in space. She served as a mission specialist on STS-61-A in 1985, STS-32 in 1990, and STS-71 in 1995, and was the Payload Commander on STS-50 in 1992, and STS-89 in 1998.

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Remember the Ladies: Ruby Dandridge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Actress Ruby Dandridge. Source (WP:NFCC#4)

Actress Ruby Dandridge.
Source (WP:NFCC#4)

Ruby Dandridge (born Ruby Jean Butler; March 3, 1900[1] – October 17, 1987) was an American actress from the early 1900s to the 1950s. She is best known for her radio work in her early days of acting. Dandridge is best known for her role on the radio show Amos ‘n Andy, in which she played Sadie Blake and Harriet Crawford, and on radio’s Judy Canova Show, in which she played “Geranium”. She is recognized for her role in the 1959 movie A Hole in the Head as “Sally”.

Life and career
She was born as Ruby Jean Butler in Wichita, Kansas, to Nellie Simon (who was of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage) and George Butler (who was born in Jamaica in 1860 and came to the United States as a child). On September 30, 1919, she married Cyril Dandridge. She moved with her husband to Cleveland, Ohio, where her daughter, actress Vivian Dandridge (1921–1991) was born. A second daughter, Academy Award-nominated actress Dorothy Dandridge, was born there in 1922, five months after Ruby and Cyril divorced. It is noted that after her divorce, Ruby Dandridge became involved with her companion, Geneva Williams, who reportedly overworked the children and punished them harshly.

One of her earliest appearances (uncredited, as were many of the minor roles she played) was as a native dancer in King Kong.

Death and legacy
Ruby attended her daughter Dorothy Dandridge’s funeral in 1965. On October 17, 1987, she died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California and was interred next to Dorothy at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. In the 1999 film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Ruby is portrayed by Loretta Devine.

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Remember the Ladies: Susanna M. Salter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Susanna M. Salter,  mayor of Argonia, Kansas and the first woman elected to any political office in the United States Unknown photographer - Kansas Historical Society

Susanna M. Salter, mayor of Argonia, Kansas and the first woman elected to any political office in the United States
Unknown photographer – Kansas Historical Society

Susanna Madora “Dora” Salter (March 2, 1860 – March 17, 1961) was a U.S. politician and activist. She served as mayor of Argonia, Kansas, becoming the first woman elected as mayor and the first woman elected to any political office in the United States.

Early life
Susanna Madora Kinsey was born near the unincorporated community of Lamira in Smith Township, Belmont County, Ohio, was the daughter of Oliver Kinsey and Terissa Ann White Kinsey, the descendants of Quaker colonists from England. At age 12, she moved to Kansas with her parents. Eight years later, she entered Kansas State Agricultural College (present-day Kansas State University) in Manhattan, and was able to skip her freshman year, having taken college-level courses in high school, but was forced to drop out six weeks short of graduation due to illness. While a student, she met Lewis Allison Salter, an aspiring attorney and the son of former Kansas Lt. Governor Melville J. Salter. They married soon thereafter and moved to Argonia, where she was active in the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and Prohibition Party organizations, and became acquainted with nationally-known temperance activist Carrie Nation. In 1883, she gave birth to the first baby born in Argonia, Francis Argonia Salter. Lewis and Susanna Salter had a total of nine children, one of whom was born during her tenure as mayor and died in infancy. Following the city’s incorporation in 1885, her father and husband were elected as the city’s first mayor and city clerk, respectively.

First female mayor
Susanna Salter was elected mayor of Argonia on April 4, 1887. Although her term was uneventful, her election generated worldwide interest from the press, sparking a debate regarding the feasibility of other towns following Argonia’s lead, which ranged from objections to a “petticoat rule” to a “wait-and-see” attitude. After only a year in office, she declined to seek reelection. As compensation for her service, she was paid one dollar. The house she lived in during her tenure as mayor was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1971.

Later years
Following her term as mayor, Salter and her family continued to live in Argonia, until 1893 when her husband acquired land on the Cherokee Strip in Alva, Oklahoma. Ten years later, they moved to Augusta, Oklahoma, where her husband practiced law and established the Headlight newspaper. They eventually joined the town’s settlers in moving to Carmen, Oklahoma. Following her husband’s death in 1916, she moved to Norman, Oklahoma, accompanying her youngest child at the University of Oklahoma. She lived in Norman for the remainder of her life and maintained an interest in religious and political matters, although she never again sought elected office. She died two weeks after her 101st birthday, and was buried in Argonia.

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Remember the Ladies: Audre Lorde

(c) Dagamar Schultz

(c) Dagamar Schultz

A self-styled “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” writer Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her poetry, and “indeed all of her writing,” according to contributor Joan Martin in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, “rings with passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling.” Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives. While the widespread critical acclaim bestowed upon Lorde for dealing with lesbian topics made her a target of those opposed to her radical agenda, she continued, undaunted, to express her individuality, refusing to be silenced. As she told interviewer Charles H. Rowell in Callaloo: “My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds…[White, arch-conservative senator] Jesse Helms’s objection to my work is not about obscenity…or even about sex. It is about revolution and change…Helms represents…white patriarchal power…[and he] knows that my writing is aimed at his destruction, and the destruction of every single thing he stands for.” Fighting a battle with cancer that she documented in her highly acclaimed Cancer Journals, Lorde died of the illness in 1992.

Born in New York City of West Indian parents, Lorde came to poetry in her early teens, through a need to express herself. Her first poem to be published was accepted by Seventeen magazine when she was still in high school. The poem had been rejected by her school paper, Lorde explains in Black Women Writers, because her “English teachers . . . said [it] was much too romantic.” Her mature poetry, published in volumes including New York Head Shop and Museum, Coal, and The Black Unicorn, is sometimes romantic also. Often dealing with her lesbian relationships, her love poems have nevertheless been judged accessible to all by many critics. In Martin’s words, “one doesn’t have to profess heterosexuality, homosexuality, or asexuality to react to her poems.… Anyone who has ever been in love can respond to the straightforward passion and pain sometimes one and the same, in Lorde’s poems.”

While Lorde’s love poems composed much of her earliest work, her experiences of civil unrest during the 1960s, along with Lorde’s own confusion over her sexuality—a bisexual, she married in 1962 and had two children before divorcing and making a renewed commitment to her female lovers—created a rapid shift to more political statements. As Jerome Brooks reported in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, “Lorde’s poetry of anger is perhaps her best-known work.” In her poem “The American Cancer Society, or There Is More than One Way to Skin a Coon,” she protested against white America thrusting its unnatural culture on blacks; in “The Brown Menace or Poem to the Survival of Roaches,” she likened blacks to cockroaches, hated, feared, and poisoned by whites. Poetry critic Sandra M. Gilbert remarked that “it’s not surprising that Lorde occasionally seems to be choking on her own anger…[and] when her fury vibrates through taut cables from head to heart to page, Lorde is capable of rare and, paradoxically, loving jeremiads.”

Lorde’s anger did not confine itself to racial injustice but extended to feminist issues as well, and occasionally she criticized African American men for their role in the perpetuating of sex discrimination: “As Black people, we cannot begin our dialogue by denying the oppressive nature of male privilege,” Lorde stated in Black Women Writers. “And if Black males choose to assume that privilege, for whatever reason, raping, brutalizing, and killing women, then we cannot ignore Black male oppression. One oppression does not justify another.”

“And if Black males choose to assume that privilege, for whatever reason, raping, brutalizing, and killing women, then we cannot ignore Black male oppression. One oppression does not justify another.”

Of her poetic beginnings Lorde once commented in Black Women Writers: “I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing. In other words, I literally communicated through poetry. And when I couldn’t find the poems to express the things I was feeling, that’s what started me writing poetry, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen.” As an adult, her primary poetic goal remained communication. “I have a duty,” she stated later in the same publication, “to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain.” As a mature poet, however, rather than relying solely on poetry as a means of self-expression Lorde often extracted poems from her personal journals. Explaining the genesis of “Power,” a poem about the police shooting of a ten-year-old black child, Lorde discussed her feelings when she learned that the officer involved had been acquitted: “A kind of fury rose up in me; the sky turned red. I felt so sick. I felt as if I would drive this car into a wall, into the next person I saw. So I pulled over. I took out my journal just to air some of my fury, to get it out of my fingertips. Those expressed feelings are that poem.”

…Lorde’s “experiences are painted with exquisite imagery. Indeed, her West Indian heritage shows through most clearly in her use of word pictures that are sensual, steamy, at times near-tropical, evoking the colors, smells—repeatedly, the smells—shapes, textures that are her life.”

Lorde’s 1982 novel, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, was described by its publishers as a “biomythography, combining elements of history, biography and myth,” and Rosemary Daniell, in the New York Times Book Review, considered the work “excellent and evocative…. Among the elements that make the book so good are its personal honesty and lack of pretentiousness, characteristics that shine through the writing, bespeaking the evolution of a strong and remarkable character.” Daniell said that, throughout the book, Lorde’s “experiences are painted with exquisite imagery. Indeed, her West Indian heritage shows through most clearly in her use of word pictures that are sensual, steamy, at times near-tropical, evoking the colors, smells—repeatedly, the smells—shapes, textures that are her life.”

In the late 1980s Lorde and fellow writer Barbara Smith founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which was dedicated to furthering the writings of black feminists. Lorde would also become increasingly concerned over the plight of black women in South Africa under apartheid, creating Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa and remaining an active voice on behalf of these women throughout the remainder of her life. Indeed, Lorde addressed her concerns to not only the United States but the world, encouraging a celebration of the differences that society instead used as tools of isolation. As Allison Kimmich noted in Feminist Writers, “Throughout all of Audre Lorde’s writing, both nonfiction and fiction, a single theme surfaces repeatedly. The black lesbian feminist poet activist reminds her readers that they ignore differences among people at their peril. . . . Instead, Lorde suggests, differences in race or class must serve as a ‘reason for celebration and growth.'” [from The Poetry Foundation]


A documentary about Audre’s involvement with Black Germans in the 80’s and 90’s was finished in 2012. Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 -1992, written and directed by close friend, Dagmar Schultz, can be purchased from the film’s web site: http://www.audrelorde-theberlinyears.com

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