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Celebrate the Legacy of Women's History during a whirlwind of events this March

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

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A look back in history shows West Michigan women have long worn different hats while at work or play. Their lives took them to crowded cigar factories, warm laundry rooms, noisy newsrooms and the spotlight of stages.

To celebrate their legacy of achievements, the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council is again spearheading efforts with other local groups to organize a jam-packed series of special events during Legacy 2010.

Join the festivities throughout March in honor of Women's History Month when the community tips its hat to these pioneering women with reflections of their lives over the past 200 years or so. The complete schedule is posted here.

You can also tune in each Monday morning to WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin and guests from the GGRWHC who will survey each week's programs throughout March at 10:30 a.m. Mondays, WGVU 88.5 FM, with an emphasis on "Thursdays at the Ford. 

Free "Thursdays at the Ford": March 4, 11, 18 & 25

One showcased series begins March 4 when the first of four weekly events billed as "Thursdays at the Ford" opens at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St NW. The series is sponsored by the GGRWHC, Ford Museum, Grand Rapids Historical Society, and Grand Rapids Historical Commission.

Listed below are the "Thursdays at the Ford" presentations. They begin at 7 p.m. and are free to the public. Parking is free, too.

  • Thursday, March 4: "The Heritage of Etta Smith Wilson", an ambitious newswoman and passionate ornithologist -- presented by Cindy Laug and Connie Ingham, Grand Valley State University.
  • Thursday, March 11:  "Bonnets and Business: Women and Work in Grand Rapids (1890-1930)", a surprising exploration of the economic role played by women entrepreneurs and workers at the turn of the century -- presented by Marcella Beck and Ruth Van Stee, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids History and Special Collections.
  • Thursday, March 18: "Giving up the Blues for Gospel: The Story of Women Blues Singers in Grand Rapids" -- presented by Kim D. Rush, Grand Rapids Historical Society.
  • Thursday, March 25: "Grand Rapids' Most Famous Courtesan: Georgie Young", a young 19th century Grand Rapids woman whose dynamic business ventures evolved from the "oldest profession" into property owner, philanthropist, author and actress -- presented by Diana E. Barrett, Grand Rapids Historical Commission.

The city-wide celebration of Women's History Month was first held in Grand Rapids in 1991 when more than 50 organizations joined forces with the GGRWHC to remember and honor the important contributions local women have made to the community. The events are meant as a way to recognize March as Women's History Month, a designation Congress approved in 1987.

You can also follow the events on Twitter@GRWomensHistory and by becoming a fan on Facebook.

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There's also a solidarity event on International Women's Day called "Join me on the Bridge" on March 8. I'm not certain which bridge supporters will be gathering on, but you can find more information on the Facebook event page.

You might want to double check the Grand Rapids Public Library event. I think it might actually be on Saturday, March 6:

You're right.  There is an event starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 6 at the GRPL. It's the first ever walking tour in downtown Grand Rapids to 16 sites significant in the history of GR women. Check the Rapidian in the Non-profit section for more news on this morning event -- not to be confused with the series of four "Thursdays at the Ford" lecture series in March that started March 4 at the Ford Museum. sh