2019-03-13 / ChatterBox

The Chatter Box

By Deborah Bennett

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? What? You had no idea! Well, neither did I. But since I now know, I thought it might be interesting to share a few little known historical facts about three women who “changed the world” – Source: thestoryexchange.org. I found it interesting and hope you will, too.

When most girls her age were preparing for marriage, 16-year-old Eliza Lucas Pinckney was managing three slave plantations in South Carolina. Determined to reduce her family’s debt, she tried growing ginger, alfalfa and other experimental crops to little success. Then, in 1739, she planted the first North American indigo plant, which was used to dye textile fabrics in England’s mills. With the help of her father’s connections, Pinckney learned how to successfully grow, cultivate, and export indigo. By 1775, South Carolina was exporting over 1 million pounds of indigo annually, with a present-day value of $30 million.

Most people know who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and some know who signed it. But who published it? Mary Goddard, Baltimore’s first postmaster, and likely the U.S. government’s first female employee. Goddard made her name as publisher of The Maryland Journal for 10 years while also managing Baltimore’s post office during the Revolutionary War. In 1777, Goddard printed the first copy of the Declaration with the identities of the signers revealed — a huge political moment that brought the signer’s names into fame while hers sank into obscurity. In 1784, her brother, William, forced her out of the family business and took over her position as publisher of the Maryland Journal. Five years later, she was fired as postmaster because the new postmaster general, Samuel Osgood, claimed “more travelling might be necessary than a woman could undertake.”

To cut a long story short, Madam C.J. Walker was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire. Orphaned at 7, married at 14, and widowed at 20, she was a single mother earning $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. Two decades later, she owned a million-dollar hair-care empire. How did she “do” it? Born Sarah Breedlove, she was the first in her family to be born into freedom, but it hardly made her career any easier. According to Time magazine, even the idea that launched her entrepreneurial success arose out of hardship: she realized she was losing hair. In the 1890s she relocated to Denver (where, apparently, black women’s hair suffered from the dry climate) and developed a hair growth formula which she turned into a lucrative line of hair products: “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower.” Off the heels of her products’ success, she expanded into more cosmetic markets from shampoos to cold creams to hot combs.

Other “world-changers” listed are: fashion designer Coco Chanel, beauty queen Estee Lauder, Chinese cook Joyce Chen, Annie Easley who wrote rocket codes for NASA, and the first lady of Wall Street Muriel Siebert.

Happy birthday this week to: George Hall, Rose Small, Brittania Cosby, Cad Davis, Phil Rhodes, Bonnie Becton, Embree Jenkins, Caleb Michael Golden, Jody Lyn Wilson, Freddy Gillis, Amy Keldie Petty, Sandra Black, Maghan Wilson, and Mark Keller.

Celebrating wedding anniversaries are: Mr. and Mrs. Darrel Clifton, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Wiggins, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Becton, and Mr. and Mrs. Phil Rhodes.

Military Active Duty

A1C Lewis Conley Drake, Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM; Col. James Eldridge Davis, U.S. Air Force, DoD Pentagon, Washington D.C.; TSgt. Jeremy M. Chestnut, U.S. Air Force, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS; CPT Justin G. McBride, U.S. Army, Fort Stewart, GA; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Darryll L. Simpkins, U.S. Army, Fort Gordon Logistics Readiness Center, Augusta, GA; Tech Sgt. Stuart Burrus, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-4 Christopher Simmons, U.S. Army, Missouri; E-3 Ralphael Franklin Lovett, U.S. Army, Kuwait; E-4 Rhonda Lovett, U.S. Army Reserve, Augusta, GA; Airman First Class Aaron Comstock, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-5 She’nice Thompson, U.S. Army, 25th Sustainment Brigade, HHC 25th Special Troops Battalion, Wahiawa, Hawaii; and Major D. Slade Burke, U.S. Air Force, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

Return to top