women

December 12, 1897

Lillian Smith

She was one of the first prominent white Southerners to denounce segregation, and she was a controversial figure all her life. Lillian Smith was born in Florida in 1897 and moved to Georgia as a teenager. After a stint in China, she began to speak out against Jim Crow, calling segregation “spiritual lynching.” From her […]

December 11, 1944

Brenda Lee

Her signature song was “I’m Sorry” but there was nothing sorry about the career of Brenda Lee…one of the first singers to be launched to stardom by the new medium of TV. She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Atlanta and grew up in Conyers and Lithonia. She won a talent show at age five […]

November 21, 1922

Rebecca Latimer Felton

Georgia steadfastly opposed women’s suffrage, so no one ever expected the first woman in the U.S. Senate to be from Georgia. But that’s what happened on this day in 1922. Rebecca Latimer was born in 1835 near Decatur. She married William Felton and was actively involved in his political career as a state legislator and […]

November 3, 1992

Cynthia McKinney

She was the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia. Cynthia McKinney was born in Atlanta to Billy McKinney, one of Atlanta’s first African-American police officers and a longtime member of the state legislature. Her father was known for his fiery spirit, and his daughter was no different. In 1988, Cynthia followed her father […]

November 8, 1900

Margaret Mitchell

She just wanted to be known as Mrs. John Marsh. Margaret Mitchell was her maiden name. Born in Atlanta in 1900, she lived away from the city only once, for a year, at Smith College. Her grandfather fought in the Civil War; her mother’s family was Irish Catholic, like the O’Hara’s of Tara. Mitchell went […]

October 31, 1860

Juliette Gordon Low

She was partially deaf, suffered from depression, and had no children of her own, yet she founded the Girl Scouts of the USA. Juliette Gordon Low was born into wealth in Savannah in 1860. Two accidents in her 20s left her partially deaf and led to bouts of depression. At 26, Gordon married William Low, […]

October 4, 1942

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Her most powerful weapon is her voice. It always has been. Bernice Johnson Reagon was born in Albany. The Baptist minister's daughter grew up immersed in the power and glory of spirituals.  Reagon's activism began at Albany State in 1961. She was arrested for participating in a civil rights protest sponsored by SNCC, the Student Non–Violent […]

October 7, 1866

Martha Berry

Martha Berry dedicated her life to education but had only one year of formal schooling herself.  Berry was born in Alabama and moved to Rome, Georgia as a baby. Home-schooled by a governess, Martha Berry attended finishing school in Baltimore for less than a year. Back home in northwest Georgia, a chance encounter with two […]

September 11, 1894

Helen Douglas Mankin

An ambulance driver, a lawyer and the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia* — all stops along the way for Helen Douglas Mankin. Mankin was the daughter of two lawyers. She drove an ambulance in France during World War I, and then graduated from Atlanta Law School, which her father helped found. She and […]