Monday, March 14, 2016

Remarkable Women of Tennessee

We all know Tennessee is a great state, so it might not come as a surprise that Tennessee has produced some remarkable women over the years. In honor of National Women’s Month, we celebrate these Tennessee natives. From nurses to authors to activists to artists, these women faced hardships, segregation and discrimination, yet they overcame each obstacle and stuck by their beliefs and their ethics.

Mary Church Terrell. Library Photograph Collection.

Mary Church Terrell of Memphis became one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree and was an activist for civil rights and suffrage.

Wilma Rudolph of Clarksville was known as the fastest woman in the world and competed in two Olympic Games. Prior to the 1960 Olympic Games, where Rudolph won three gold medals, her coach Ed Temple described her as a good but not great athlete.

"Wilma really hit her peak in 1960," Temple said in an interview for the Tri-Star Chronicles, the Library & Archives' online gallery of prominent Tennesseans. "Up until that time, I had three or four girls on the team who were better than her." (Read more about what Temple had to say at:

Mary Murfree. Library Photograph Collection.

Mary Noailles Murfree of Murfreesboro was a fiction writer of Appalachian literature during a time when it was not considered socially acceptable for women to be writers.

Rhea Seddon. Tri-Star Chronicles. Image courtesy of Rhea Seddon, from her book, "Go for Orbit."

And Rhea Seddon, also of Murfreesboro, was one of the first of six women to enter NASA’s astronaut program. She was inducted in the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015. Rhea Seddon was one of several prominent Tennesseans we profiled in the Library & Archives Tri-Star Chronicles project.

One common theme that all of these women can teach us is that with strength, determination and the desire to reach beyond boundaries, you can accomplish great things. Here at the Library & Archives, we invite you to come and learn more about these women, as well as the hundreds of others we feature in our collections. Come be inspired while we celebrate our native female heroes!

The State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

No comments:

Post a Comment