Greetings Divas! And Happy Women’s History Month! For those of you who don’t know, the U.S. Congress formerly proclaimed the month of March “Women’s History Month” in 2001. In honor of a month that commemorate the remarkable and fabulous history of women, I thought it appropriate for the Martini Chronicles to recognize a small portion of these phenomenal, professional women…and celebrate the things we love about them. After all, they too are Divas, and we rejoice in their accomplishments. Let’s begin, shall we!
Dr. Steward was the first African American woman to earn a medical degree in the state of New York (third in the United States). She earned her medical degree from the New York Medical College for Women, and graduated as the class valedictorian. She was also an accomplished organist. And, she was a Brooklyn girl!
Dr. Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the United States (quite impressive!) She earned her medical degree from the Geneva Medical College, where she graduated first in her class. She was also very active in the anti-slavery and women’s movements.
Madeline Albright (1937)
Madeline Albright is the first woman appointed to serve as the Secretary of State of the United States. She matriculated at Wellesley College, and also obtained a Master's and Doctorate from Columbia University. That’s a lot of schooling! And to top it off, Madeline is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Czech!
Many Divas can attribute the origins of their hair and skin care products to the life work of Madam C.J. Walker. Madam Walker, who is widely considered the first woman, self-made millionaire, built her fortune by developing and marketing hair and beauty products for African American women. She came from humble beginnings, and created a brand that still resonates today. Thank you Madam Walker!
Myra Colby Bradwell, Esq. was the first woman attorney admitted to practice in the state of Illinois. Before she was admitted, however, Myra was denied admission to the Illinois bar because she was a woman. She took her case to the U.S Supreme Court, which decided that the denial of her admission based on gender was not a violation of the 14th Amendment. It wasn’t until the Illinois State Legislature passed a law in 1872 which made it illegal to deny admission to the Bar on account of gender, which allowed Myra to step into history…You Go Girl!
Marian Wright Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College (Go Jaguars!), is the founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund. She is also an accomplished attorney (she went to Yale!) who became the first African American woman to be admitted to the Mississippi State Bar. What a Diva! See the Resources section below for more information on the Children’s Defense Fund.
This is just a brief reflection of our history…the history of women…the history of that which I consider a Professional Diva. So to all of the professional women who have paved the way, we salute you!