Maryland She-roes

This photograph released by the Library of Congress and provided by Abrams Books shows Harriet Tubman in a photograph dating
This photograph released by the Library of Congress and provided by Abrams Books shows Harriet Tubman in a photograph dating from 1860-75. Tubman was born into slavery, but escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, and provided valuable intelligence to Union forces during the Civil War. Experts are hoping that events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War will include some measure of remembrance for the black operatives who quietly spied on the Confederacy. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)

In early January, I was informed that my nominee nuclear physicist Dr. Gail de Planque would be inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. An amazing who's who of accomplished women have had ties to Maryland throughout U.S. history. In this blog, we'll learn about the fascinating accomplishments of some of these Maryland she-roes, all of whom have been inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. Pioneered the concept of spoken word literacy and laid the foundation for today's audio books.
____ 2. An internationally-recognized expert on cholera and infectious diseases.
____ 3. Born a slave, she made nineteen trips back to the south and rescued an estimated 300 people from bondage.
____ 4. Considered one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time.
____ 5. The first native-born American to be canonized a saint.

A. Harriet Tubman
B. Elizabeth Bayley Seton
C. Billie Holiday
D. Barbara Holdridge
E. Rita Colwell

Elizabeth Bayley Seton became the first native-born American saint when she was canonized in 1975. Born in 1774, Elizabeth Ann Bayley lived a relatively comfortable life in spite of the death of her mother when she was 3 years old. After her marriage, which resulted in five children, a series of misfortunes befell her family, leading to bankruptcy and her husband's death. She found solace in religion and became a member of the Catholic faith in 1805. By 1808, she had moved to Baltimore and established a school for Catholic girls. Her dream of establishing a religious community was realized with the founding of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph in Emmitsburg, Maryland. St. Joseph's School is regarded as the beginning of the parochial school system in the U.S. Seton was canonized a saint in 1975.

Harriet Tubman was born a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore. In 1849, when she was about 30, her owner died. Believing she was going to be sold, she escaped and made her way to Philadelphia. By 1850, Tubman determined that she would return to Maryland and help members of her family and others escape the bonds of slavery. Becoming a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she is believed to have made a total of 19 trips and rescued 300 people. During the Civil War, she served as a spy and a scout for the Union and a nurse. Later in her life, she hosted a home for indigent individuals. Tubman has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

Considered to be one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time, Billie Holiday was born in Baltimore. Known for the gardenia in her hair, her fingers snapping with the rhythm and her head cocked at an angle, Holiday sung with Benny Goodman and most of the icons of jazz, including Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Known as "Lady Day," Holiday wrote "Lady Sings the Blues," which became the title of her autobiography. Her interpretation of "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching poem set to music, is considered one of the Songs of the Century. Holiday won five Grammy awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The co-founder of Caedmon Records (1952), Barbara Holdridge (with her business partner, Marianne Mantell) pioneered the concept of spoken word literary recordings and laid the foundation for today's audio books. This woman-owned business focused on gender equity and featured many women's writings. Caedmon Records made women's writings available to the public at a time when that was otherwise not the case. She moved to Maryland in 1959. Holdridge founded Stemmer House Publishers in 1975, publishing fiction and non-fiction works. She is active in her community and known for her love of art and gardens.

The Director of the National Science Foundation from 1998-2004, Rita Colwell is an internationally recognized expert on cholera and infectious diseases. By developing inexpensive, locally-based filtration methods for water treatment, Colwell and her team were able to reduce cholera infections by 50%. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Colwell has received numerous awards. The geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in her honor. Dr. Colwell is affiliated with both the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women.
Most of these women who have been inducted into both the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We celebrate their varied accomplishments and are proud to stand on their shoulders.

(answers: 1-D, 2-E, 3-A, 4-C, 5-B)

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