Women on the March for Freedom in Washington & Puerto Rico, 1940-1963 | Newberry

Women on the March for Freedom in Washington & Puerto Rico, 1940-1963

Friday, September 27, 2013

3 pm to 5 pm


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Gender and Sexuality Seminar

“Women’s Involvement in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s”
Margaret Power, Illinois Institute of Technology

This paper draws on women’s voices and writings to explore women’s roles and participation in the pro-independence Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Most of the literature on the Nationalist Party focuses on male members and leaders. My study examines who these women Nationalists were, how gender influenced their political participation, and what they hoped to achieve by fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico.

The Conscience of the March’: Anna Arnold Hedgeman and the March on Washington”
Jennifer Scanlon, Bowdoin College

Hedgeman worked as a teacher in the Deep South and then grappled with a segregated YWCA as an executive in the North during the 1920s. She was an emergency relief worker and supervisor in New York City during the Depression; a fair employment practices advocate in Washington during World War II; a national political appointee in health and human services in the postwar period; an assistant to New York City’s Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. in the 1950s; and a critical advocate for civil rights legislation in the 1960s and 1970s. A Christian whose faith played a vital role in her activism, Hedgeman ran for political office three times, directed the first organized attempt on the part of African Americans to influence a presidential election, worked as the only female member of the organizing committee that planned the 1963 March on Washington, and served as one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women.

Commentator: Christina Bueno, Northeastern Illinois University and Christina Greene, University of Wisconsin

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.