Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Proposed: American Women’s History Initiative – “Because of Her Story”

Audre Lorde (left) with writers Meridel Le Sueur (middle) and Adrienne Rich (right) at a writing workshop in Austin, Texas, 1980 courtesy of K. Kendall under CC BY 2.0

“Women are powerful and dangerous.” Audre Lorde



Earlier this month, February 11th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 1980. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), calls for the creation of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum and includes cost-sharing language that is consistent with that used for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture—a 50/50 split of federal and private funds for the development and construction of a new museum. The bill must now pass through the Senate and then be signed by the President.

“With full support from Congress, the Smithsonian has proven adept at creating museums that paint a more comprehensive picture of the American experience,” said Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “We remain committed to that goal, and we look forward to working with Congress and supporters nationwide to illuminate the profound impact women have had on the American story.”

The Smithsonian is committed to recognizing and celebrating the stories of all Americans. If the legislation is enacted into law, the Smithsonian will use its resources and expertise to create a world-class museum dedicated to telling the stories of women’s contributions throughout American history



“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.” – Marge Piercy



Amy Lowell circa 1916

“Poets are always the advance guard of literature, the advance guard of life. It is for this reason that their recognition comes so slowly.” Amy Lowell



American Women’s History Initiative:

“BECAUSE OF HER STORY”

.In the meantime, the Smithsonian has used funds appropriated by Congress ($4 million) and privately raised funds to begin a robust program of exhibitions, public programs and research focusing on women’s contributions to American history. In 2018, the Smithsonian officially launched the American Women’s History Initiative—“Because of Her Story”—to document, research, collect and exhibit the stories of women who have helped shape America.

“The initiative strives to be the nation’s most comprehensive undertaking to document, research, collect, display and share the rich, complete and compelling story of women in America. It will greatly increase the Smithsonian’s research and programming related to women in the U.S., past and present.”

To date the initiative has:

  • Raised nearly $10 million toward the development of exhibitions, programs, educational material and digital content across the Smithsonian
  • Hired four curators dedicated to women’s history, with five more curatorial positions pending
  • Mentored 13 paid interns through the Because of Her Story Internship Program
  • Published Smithsonian American Women, a book that offers a unique, panoramic look at women’s history through objects from the Smithsonian’s collections

This post is complied courtesy of the Smithsonian, The U.S. Library of Congress, Amazon, and my bookshelf. 


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Some mothers’ children stare unseeing . . .

 

Courtesy of Liane Metzler, Unsplash

“But in Idlib, nowhere is safe. Almost 50,000 are sheltering under trees or in other open spaces. I am getting daily reports of babies and other young children dying in the cold. Imagine the grief of a parent who escaped a war zone with their child, only to watch that child freeze to death.” Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, February 20, 2020



Some Mothers’ Hearts Have Stopped

Some mothers’ children stare unseeing
No sweet, wet baby kisses from blistered lips,

. . . . songs unsung

No wedding portraits to dust and treasure
No graduations or trips to the sea

. . . . just their bodies to bury

crushed
beaten
stilled
frozen

by the engine of nihilism

Limbs cracked and broken, bellies torn
Faces purpled, hearts stopped

Hearts stopped
. . . . hearts stopped

Some mothers’ hearts have stopped

© 2015, Jamie Dedes

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Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Rejections and the Business of Being a Writer

“I would go home in the evening and write short stories and mail them to magazine editors in New York. The stories, no matter how many times I rewrote them, were always returned, usually without comment, with unfailing promptness. I received so many rejection slips, and such an interesting variety, that I passed them neatly into a stamp collector’s album.  The only consolation I ever got out of them for many years was in visualizing how big a celebration bonfire I could make with them when I had my first short story accepted and published in a magazine.” Erskine Caldwell, “Call it Experience,” in The Creative Writer



Many many years ago – circa 1964 – I read The Creative Writer (quoted above), which is out of print now. You can find old copies, not that you necessarily need to. Much is outdated but at that time, I found it helpful. The book, a collection of instructional and inspirational essays, was published by Writer’s Digest. The magazine was my go-to place to hob-nob with writers and publishers, a publication I read through high school and even into my son’s grammar school years. He told me not too long ago that as a child he found it rather magical that it showed up no matter where we moved. My other go-to magazine was The Writer.

These magazines didn’t so much teach me how to write as offer me some knowledge of the business of writing.  The articles I read instilled a sense of perspective, reasonable expectations (do NOT read lowered aspirations), and determination. I discovered that sending my writing out into the world is like applying for a job. I do my homework and refine my technique. That improves the odds but it is still a numbers game.

Reading what others had to say about the business of studying markets, writing query letters, and submitting work helped me to understand that I had to keep on keeping on. This was a good thing. My first poem was published when I was seventeen and that created some rather unrealistic expectations. I thought I was such a hot-shot that my seventeenth year was also the year I submitted a short story to Mademoiselle magazine (closed 2001) for its annual fiction contest. The contest was for college students. I was still in high school. I lied and put Brooklyn College on the entry form. Joyce Carol Oats won.

All this is to say that while writing is our art, it is also our job and every job has its downsides. “Rejection” is one of downsides of the business of writing. Don’t let it stall you.

Apropos this post, note Victor Villaseñor’s dedication in Macho!: “To my parents …. after ten years of writing and 260 rejections – my first one! …”


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Socialism v Corporate Socialism v Democratic Socialism, definitions

courtesy DividedWeFall.online

Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton