By: Carolyn Thompson
Dance pioneer Martha Graham, a member of the Little Rock Nine and the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation are among 10 women who will be enshrined in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the hall announced Tuesday.
The class of 2015 — a mix from science, sports, civil rights and social causes — will be inducted in October in the hall located in the upstate New York village of Seneca Falls, where the first known women’s rights convention was held in 1848.
The 46-year-old hall honors a new group every two years, chosen by a national panel of experts.
“Every time you think, how can it be as good as last time or the time before that or the time before that?” hall President Jill Tietjen said by phone. “And every time, the stories are so inspirational and the women are so amazing.”
Graham died in 1991 at the age of 96 but her method of training dancers, the Graham technique, remains in use around the world, and her name is synonymous with modern dance. She is one of two women who will be inducted posthumously into the hall of fame. The other is Mary Harriman Rumsey, founder of the women’s volunteer organization The Junior League, who died in 1934.
The inductees include:
- Nancy Brinker, 68, who kept a promise to her dying sister by starting the Komen organization, known now as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has raised more than $2 billion to fight breast cancer. She is credited with making pink the color of breast cancer awareness.
- Carlotta Walls LaNier, 72, who was the youngest of nine African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. She received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.
- Feminist Majority founder Eleanor Smeal, 75, who served as president of the National Organization for Women and publisher of Ms. Magazine. Smeal has worked to close the wage gap between men and women and to curb violence against women.
- Olympic skater Tenley Albright, 79, who in 1953 became the first American woman to win the world figure skating championship and went on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1956. She later became a surgeon and leader in blood plasma research.
- Marcia Greenberger, 68, who established the National Women’s Law Center in 1972 and became the first full-time women’s rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C. She has worked to secure passage of major legislation including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
- Scientist Barbara Iglewski, a professor of microbiology and immunology and director of International Programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She discovered that bacteria communicate with each other and can be controlled by interrupting the conversation.
- Medical researcher Philippa Marrack, 69, whose work on T-cells has helped shape medicine’s understanding of the human immune system, vaccines and HIV.
- Jean Kilbourne, 72, a media expert on the image of women in advertising who has explored how advertising and marketing contribute to public health issues, such as violence against women, eating disorders and the sexualization of children.
The women join 247 past inductees, among them tennis pro Billie Jean King, astronaut Sally Ride, the late former first lady Betty Ford, Title IX advocate Bernice Sandler and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.