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Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Oil on canvas, 1945, by Betsy Graves Reyneau. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation.

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Hedgeman, Anna Arnold (05 July 1899–17 January 1990), educator, policy consultant, and political activist, was born Anna Marie Arnold in Marshalltown, Iowa, the daughter and eldest child of William James Arnold II, an entrepreneur, and Marie Ellen Parker Arnold. The Arnolds subsequently moved to Anoka, Minnesota, becoming the only black family in that town. Young Anna graduated from high school in 1918 and went on to attend Hamline University in nearby Saint Paul, becoming the college's first black graduate in 1922....

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Howorth, Lucy (01 July 1895–23 August 1997), lawyer, politician, and feminist activist, was born Lucy Somerville in Greenville, Mississippi, the youngest of four children and second daughter of Robert and Nellie Nugent Somerville. Many of her forefathers were legislators, lawyers, or judges. Her female ancestors were known as women of strong character who were well respected in their communities. Through homeschooling and example, Nellie Somerville passed on to her youngest child a love for learning and a concern for contemporary social issues. Nellie, a college graduate, advocated temperance and was president of the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. She was also a devout Methodist, a perspective never accepted by Lucy. Nellie began taking Lucy to community meetings, including suffrage rallies, before her first birthday. When she was older Lucy helped at suffrage conventions and met national women’s rights leaders including Dr. ...

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Orshansky, Mollie (9 Jan. 1915–18 Dec. 2006), civil servant, economist and statistician, was born in the Bronx, New York City, the sixth daughter of Samuel Orshansky and Fannie Orshansky, recent Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. Samuel worked at various occupations (tinworker, ironworker, plumber, repairman), eventually becoming the proprietor of a small neighborhood grocery store. Mollie was born in poverty and grew up understanding how families coped with inadequate incomes. In her South Bronx neighborhood few young women went even as far as high school, going directly into the labor force as soon as possible. Mollie was the first member of her family to attend high school. She graduated Hunter College High School in ...