The theme from the 1970s Helen Reddy tune “I am Woman” will resonate at this year’s Women’s History Month activities. Next month, communities across Georgia will celebrate female achievements and the impact they have made through the years with local women’s history month events. The annual worldwide tradition, which began in 1911, commemorates women’s progress and historical highlights. The activities will center around March 8, International Women’s Day, and one program in particular stands out.
The 2012 Georgia Women of Achievement Induction Ceremony is scheduled for March 8 at Wesleyan College in Macon. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 11 a.m. and lunch at noon. Tickets for lunch cost $30.
Guest speaker for the ceremony will be Calhoun resident Stella Williams Bailey, an individual who spent many years teaching young women self-confidence, life skills, etiquette and public speaking skills. A high-profile figure, Mrs. Bailey has written a children’s book titled Confidence is Cool. She graduated with honors from the University of Georgia with a Master’s Degree, and began her speaking career as state president of the Future Homemakers of America.
This year’s Georgia Women of Achievement inductees will be honored for the contributions they made during their lives. They include Georgia natives Sarah Randolph Bailey, (1885-1972) Ethel Harpst (1883-1967) and Beulah Rucker Oliver (1888-1963). Each woman made a lasting impression on the lives of others before their death.
Sarah Randolph Bailey placed great value on the power of an education, and gave generously of her time to teach adults as well as students. She was deeply involved in the Girl Scouts of America, and she brought 15 troops of young black girls into the organization from 1945 to 1948.
Ethel Harpst invested a large part of herself in caring for needy children. During her service to the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church she took in many orphaned children who had lost parents due to illness. Her work resulted in the founding of the Murphy-Harpst Home, where abused Georgia children can find refuge and therapy.
The daughter of black sharecroppers, Beulah Rucker Oliver worked her way through school. Her motivation, a dream of becoming a teacher, inspired her to eventually earn a degree. She later opened a school on Norwood Street in Hall County. The Educational Foundation and Museum of Beulah Rucker Inc. now stands in Gainesville as a tribute to her passion and commitment to education.
Past inductees commemorating local women’s history month events were outstanding, extraordinary women dedicated to serving others.
Lillian Gordy Carter, (1898-1983) the mother of former President Jimmy Carter, was inducted in 2011. The Plains resident chose nursing as a profession, working as a nurse part time while raising four children. She bravely joined the Peace Corps in 1966 at age 68 and traveled to Godrej Colony in India to work in a clinic treating leprosy and other diseases. She actively supported Carter during his presidential campaign and published two books during his presidency, one of which was a collection of letters she wrote to her family while in India.
Celestine Sibley of Atlanta (1914-1999) was inducted in 2010. Journalism was in her blood, and by age 15 she was a student reporter at Murphy High School. She also worked weekends as a cub reporter at the Mobile Press Register. After graduating she went to work full-time at the paper as a General Assignment Reporter. She wrote for the Atlanta Constitution for several decades, and also became a syndicated columnist and published book author. After her death she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2007.
Juliette Gordon Low, (1860-1927) the founder of the Girl Scouts of America, was inducted in 1992. The Savannah native founded the first Girl Scout troop in 1912, with a group of 18 charter members. She taught the girls the basics of independent living – a radical idea in the early 1900s – as well as service to others and preparation for careers in addition to home and family. At her death the membership had grown to 167,000 girl scouts in the U.S.
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