Stormy Women

Hurricane season is approaching (June 1-November 30)! I remember growing up in Virginia at a time when every hurricane was named for a woman. I thought it would be fun to use the names of some significant hurricanes (Agnes - 1972, Connie - 1955, Donna - 1960, Hazel - 1954, Sandy - 2012) matched to a significant woman from U.S. history with the same first name. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. Ballet dancer and choreographer whose best known works include Rodeo, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and Brigadoon.
____ 2. The first Asian American to anchor a national newscast on a major television network.
____ 3. A former Secretary of Health and Human Services and former President of the University of Miami.
____ 4. A writer for 45 years and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, her works have been translated into over twenty languages.
____ 5. A gifted pianist who began playing at age four, she was the premier black pianist in the U.S. for four decades.

A. Hazel Harrison
B. Agnes de Mille
C. Donna Shalala
D. Connie Chung
E. Sandra Cisneros

Hazel Harrison began playing the piano at age four and by the time she was eight-years-old was earning money to support her family. In 1904, she was still earning money by playing at dances and parties when she was asked to play with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the first American artist to perform with that orchestra whose entire music education had been in the U.S. The premier black pianist for four decades, her opportunities were limited due to her race. Harrison became the head of the piano faculty at Howard University in 1937, where she established a piano scholarship in honor of her mother.

Ballet dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille's successful career with what is today known as the American Ballet Theatre began in 1940 when she first choreographed Black Ritual and then the hit Three Virgins and a Devil. Her world-famous Rodeo was danced by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1942 and led to her dance choreography work for the Broadway musical Oklahoma! Many other successes (including Carousel and Brigadoon) followed and she also became known nationally as a speaker and advocate for the arts. The recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, de Mille has been honored on a U.S. postage stamp.

The first Asian American to anchor a national newscast at a major network (1993), Connie Chung had worked as a reporter since graduating from college. While at CBS News, she scored an inclusive interview with President Nixon which occurred during the Watergate scandal. During her career, Chung worked for the major television networks and independents as well.

A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, writer Sandra Cisneros has been writing for 45 years and has received many honors for her work. A poet and novelist, Cisneros has also published short stories, children's books, and picture books for adults. Her 1984 House on Mango Street has sold over six million copies and reflects her Mexican-American heritage. The founder of two organizations that serve writers, Cisneros' works have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Currently President of the Clinton Foundation, Donna Shalala, served as the President of the University of Miami and as Secretary of Health and Human Services (for President Bill Clinton). The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Shalala has also received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, recognizing the work she has done to improve the health of disadvantaged populations in South Africa. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These accomplished women are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I am proud to continue to tell women's stories and to write women back into history.

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