Important September Dates in Women's History
by Susan G. Butruille
September is Latina/Chicano Heritage Month.
September 1 Mediterranean Festival of First Fruits.
September 2 Democracy Day of Tibet.
September 2, 1838 Birth of Queen Lili'uokalani, last sovereign of
Hawaii, held under house arrest and forced from her throne by Americans
intent on exploiting Hawaiian exports.
September 5 Labor Day, first observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City and led by Irishman Peter McGuire, had its roots in the labor exploitation of the Industrial Revolution. In 1887, Oregon became the first state officially to recognize Labor Day.
September 6 Day of Tonan, or Tonantzin, Aztecan mother goddess whose
shrine was on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City, where the Virgin
of Guadalupe is said to have appeared to Juan Diego in 1531.
September 6, 1860 Birth of Jane Addams, first American woman to win the
Nobel Peace Prize (in 1931), first president of the Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom, and founder of Hull House in
September 6, 1870 Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming celebrated her 70th birthday by voting -- the first woman officially to cast a ballot
in a US national election.
September 8 Feast of the nativity of the Virgin Mary, observed by
Christians since the mid-fifth century. It is the major national holiday
on the island of Malta.
September 9, 1834 A mob attacked Prudence Crandall's school in
Canterbury, Connecticut, where she taught black women. Previously jailed
for breaking the local law against teaching "colored persons," Crandall
finally was forced to close her school. Now it is a museum that
highlights black history and women's history.
September 11, 1877 Birth of Rosika Schwimmer, Hungarian pacifist,
suffrage leader, and a founder of the Women's International League for
Peace and Freedom and Campaign for World Government (1937). She was
denied US citizenship in 1929 because she refused to pledge to bear arms
in defense of the US.
September 12, 1867 Birth of Irene Joliot-Curie (Madame Curie),
discoverer of radium and winner of two Nobel Prizes. During World War I
she drove an ambulance in the front lines carrying portable x-ray
equipment to help treat wounded soldiers.
September 14, 1728 Birth of Mercy Otis Warren, who thumbed her nose at
the British and wrote much of the history of the Revolutionary War.
September 14, 1879 Birth of Margaret Sanger, who thumbed her nose at the Comstock Laws (forbidding distribution of birth control information), and landed in jail. She founded what is now Planned Parenthood.
September 18, 1889 Jane Addams, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Ellen Gates Starr, who linked art and labor causes, opened Hull House to help immigrants in Chicago.
September 21 International Day of Peace first observed by the UN General Assembly in 1982.
September 22 Autumnal Equinox. Beginning of nine days of the Eleusian
rites, beginning with a procession from Athens to Eleusis. The festival
honors the cycle of life and celebrates the ancient Divine Trinity --
Demeter (Goddess of the Earth), Kore (Goddess of the Underworld), and
the child Iaccus.
September 22, 1692 Martha Corey and seven other convicted "witches"
were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts following a trial presided over by
the state's lieutenant governor. Eleven people -- mostly women --
already had been murdered as witches after being fingered by hysterical
girls. Some years later trial judges allowed as they had made a mistake.
September 25 Day of Sedna, sea goddess of the Arctic Inuit people.
September 25, 1847 Birth of Vinnie Ream, who became a prolific
sculptor. She was 17 when she received a $10,000 commission to carve the
exquisite statue of President Lincoln that now stands in the US Capitol
Rotunda. A replica of Vinnie Ream's "Sappho" stands as a memorial to her
in Arlington National Cemetery.
September 28 Celebration of the birth day of Confucius in the fifth
century. His followers used his mystique and teachings to oppress women
throughout China and beyond. Confucius say: a woman first must obey her
father, then her husband, then her son in old age. Apparently Confucius'
followers chose not to heed another Confucius saying: "What you do not
like when done to yourself, do not do unto others."
September 30, 1983 Sally Ride rode into space -- the first US woman to