Gaposchkin, Cecilia Helena, see Payne-Gaposchkin
Gatherwright, Dorothy A
Gilman, Caroline (Howard)
Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change
Goodman, Miriam (Schaeffer)
Gould, Alice Bache
Green, Suzanne (Revaleon)
Gypsy Wagon Collective
(b. ca 1979)
Campus leader, Advocate for women’s issues
During her college years, Megan Gaffney, a psychology major at Harvard (Class of 2002) who pursued an interest in women’s issues. For a Women’s Studies class titled, “Women, Violence, and the Law,” Gaffney conducted a study of violent music lyrics that advocated harm to women, analyzing the verses of rap and heavy metal. At the end of the semester, her professor, Diane Rosenfeld, suggested an independent study to prepare the work for publication. She assisted Rosenfeld in researching the prosecution of a case in which domestic violence led to the death of a pregnant woman. As co-director of Peer Relations and Date Rape Education, sponsored by Harvard’s University Health Services, she dealt with recruiting and advertising for this student-run group. Megan helped to foster a dialogue between the university and her fellow students on the issues of sexuality, which opened the group to some criticism for promoting too open a forum on this topic. Megan interned in the business department of Harvard Magazine as a work-study student. She also starred in many Harvard theater productions while at college, most notably as the Acid Queen in a student production of The Who’s Tommy. She sang in the a capella singing group “The Callbacks”, often counseling apprehensive performers at auditions. After leaving Harvard, she took a job as spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, appearing regularly in New York press reports.
References: Personal interview by Sandra Pullman, 2003. http://www.ci.cambridge.ma.us/~Historic/pullman3.html
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A. Gatherwright (b. November 13, 1903 d. January, 2002)
Dorothy A. (Wood) Gatherwright was born in Cambridge in 1903. Her family lived on Worcester Street. Dorothy learned to play the piano and became the accompanist to well-known contralto singer, Dorothy Richardson. Dorothy said, “We went to the different colored colleges. We went from Maine on down south. I guess I must have met Dorothy [Richardson] at church. I was a born member of the church. I was taking piano lessons from William Lawrence; he was the accompanist of Roland Hayes.” (Roland Hayes was a famous African American singer.) Dorothy played what she called “regular music” -- Negro spirituals and songs by black composers. According to her niece, Leora Littleton, Dorothy taught piano to half the children in Cambridge. She took organ lessons and became the organist for the Massachusetts Avenue Baptist Church’s Sunday school and director of the choir. In 1993, Mrs. Gatherwright celebrated her 90th birthday at the church where she was the oldest member. At her death, the City of Cambridge memorialized her passing.
References: Oral interview by Sarah Boyer.; City of Cambridge vital statistics, Cambridge City Clerk's office.
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(Howard) Gilman (b. Oct. 8, 1794 in Boston Mass., d.
Sept. 15, 1888 in Washington, DC)
Caroline Howard was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Samuel Howard and Anna (Lillie) Howard. At the age of 10, she moved to Cambridge with her widowed mother, who died that same year; her older sister then raised her. Writing was Gilman’s avocation from an early age and she published her first poem at age sixteen. She met a young Harvard College graduate, the clergyman, Samuel Gilman, marrying him, on September 25, 1819, in Cambridge. The young couple moved to Charleston, South Carolina where she remained for the rest of her life, adhering to the Southern cause during the Civil War.
In 1832, she began to publish and edit a magazine designed for women and children that she called The Rose. It was soon renamed The Southern Rose, and was widely read throughout the country. Gilman produced most of the content herself in the form of poetry and children’s verses and stories as well as serialized novels about domestic life. Highly popular, her writings and her magazine supplemented the family’s income that was strained by the birth of seven children born between 1820 and 1840.
Her first novel, Recollections of a Housekeeper, written under the pseudonym, Clarissa Packard, portrayed women’s lives in New England, described by her as at odds with that of the South. In her heavily autobiographical Recollections of a Southern Matron, written in 1838, she objected to the fashionable Southern belle as a woman defined by men and suggested other modes of behavior. She used her writing to comment on the societies of North and the South, comparing and contrasting their views of the domestic realm.
In spite of the success of her novels and other writings, she reacted against her creative output and ceased to produce much original material after she lost her seventh child in 1840. Until her death, she wrote only occasional pieces and poems although she continued to republish her earlier poetry and children’s verses from her literary journal in a series of volumes through the 1850s. Her limited output in the 1860s and 1870s emphasized historical events from the period of the Revolutionary War.
Reference: Moss, Elizabeth. Domestic Novelists in the Old South. Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1992. ; Haberly, David. “Caroline Howard Gilman” for Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (UUHS), 1999-2007, website includes portrait, http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/carolinegilman.html.
Used with permission of the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography (DUUB),
an on line resource of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society.
Web address: http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/
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Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change (1970 - 1979)
Goddard-Cambridge, an extension of the parent program of Goddard College in Vermont, had several locations throughout Cambridge and eventually found its home at 186 Hampshire Street. Throughout Goddard-Cambridge’s history, programs offered included: Feminist Studies, Imperial U.S. at home and abroad, Third World Studies, and U.S. Social & Cultural Studies. Students participated in both faculty led and student-developed research and earned a Masters in Arts within one year for between $1500 - $2500. The “People’s Council“ made up of faculty and students, governed the school and decided on internal policy issues. Goddard’s Mission states: “It will provide the training and certification for those interested in combining the theory and practice of social change; for those whose educational goals cannot be pursued in the established universities and conventional graduate programs; and for those presently engaged in social action who desire to deepen their intellectual resources.” Student projects included titles such as: "Black Women & American Society, Corporate Power & The Issues of Women, Design for a Community Mental Health Course, Feminist Writing Workshop, Lesbian Culture, Media: The Information Industry, Pawnee Women: Speaking for Ourselves, Prostitution As A Form of Female Labor, Study of Menopause, Theory and Practice of Feminist Journalism, Towards a Feminist Theory of Sexuality, Women & Therapy, and Women & Traditional Music."
In 1970 the school hosted its first women’s history ovular (Goddard's feminist word for seminar), taught by Linda Gordon, who became a nationally recognized historian. The group met twice a week for 3-5 hours and held the motto “make the invisible visible.” The program officially recognized feminist studies as a graduate program in the fall of 1972. From 1974-78 the program was led by Rochelle Ruthchild and by 1976, two-thirds of the student population had enrolled in the Feminist Studies program.
An ovular on lesbian culture, possibly the first in the country, was offered to students in 1976. Leaflets for the course traveled by mail across the country and caused controversy that led to calls to the Massachusetts Board of Education. Faculty members recall that the evaluation of Goddard-Cambridge included questions suggesting that the school was trying to convince students to become lesbians and Marxists. The idea of sexual orientation as a lifestyle choice was, and still is, prevalent in society.
Though Goddard-Cambridge closed in 1979, its impact continues. In 1990 the first Women’s Studies Ph.D. degree was offered at Emory University thanks in part to the work of feminist and women’s studies programs in the 70s and 80s. Today, women’s studies are viewed as essential learning to many sociology, psychology, and history programs. Cambridge housed one of the first feminist studies programs in the country at the Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change. Furthermore, the demands and concerns of the present day #MeToo movement have long been present in feminist writing, organizing, and services. Freada Klein, a faculty member at Goddard-Cambridge and a Cambridge resident, received funding for her research on sexual harassment in the workplace. In 1976 along with Elizabeth Cohn-Stuntz and Lynn Wehrli, she founded the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion, which referred women to legal, vocational, and emotional counseling resources, in addition to helping determine their eligibility for unemployment compensation. Other groups provided domestic violence support and rape crisis interventions. Each of the founders was involved in education, both locally and nationally. Lynn co-taught a course titled “Rape and U.S. Institutions” at the Women’s School, located at the Cambridge Women’s Center. Elizabeth and Freada collaborated with the Feminist Alliance Against Rape which published national bi-monthly newsletters.
References: Written by Kimm Topping, printed in Mapping Feminist Cambridge guidebook, 2019: https://www.cambridgewomenscommission.org/download/CCSW_MFCamb_book_190717.pdf
The Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change archive has been deposited at the University of Massachusetts, Boston
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Gluck (b. 22 April 1943 New York, New York)
Poet, Author, Teacher
Louise Gluck grew up in Long Island, New York, and attended Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York, graduating in 1961. She attended both Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and Columbia University in New York City, but dropped out of both schools before obtaining her degree. She has married twice and is divorced. She has one son. She lives and works in Cambridge part of each year.
In 1986, her first book of poetry Firstborn was published and received the Academy of American Poet's Prize. This collection was known for its variety of first-person personae, all disaffected or angry.. Her next book The House on the Marshland, 1975, included historical and fairytale characters such as Joan of Arc and Gretel (of Hansel and Gretel). In 1980, she published Descending Figure with various imaginative personae. In 1985, her book of poetry, The Triumph of Achilles appeared, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of the America's Melville Kane Award. In 1990, her fifth book was published entitled Ararat, which won the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. She began to write long poems with sequences connecting to tell a single story. Ararat deals with a family of three women in the aftermath of the death of a husband and a father. Her next book written as a series of poems, Wild Iris, was published in 1992 and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1993 and the Poetry Society of the America's William Carlos William Award. She published three more books of poetry, Meadowlands, written in 1996, Vita Nova in 1999, and The Seven Ages in 2001. She also wrote a book of essays on poetry entitled Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry in 1994, that won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction.
In addition to her other awards, Louise received the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 2001, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, Boston Book Review's Bingham Poetry Prize, a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Louise taught at Williams College for over twenty years and began to teach in the Yale English Department as Rosencranz writer-in-residence in 2004. In 1999, while teaching at Williams, Louise was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and in the fall of 2003, she was designated the twelfth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress.
"Louise Gluck" The Academy of American Poets – Louise Gluck" Date accessed: 12/7/2005 http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/82
"Louise Gluck" NNDB: Tracking the Entire World. Soylent Communications 2005. Date accessed: 12/7/2005 http://www.nndb.com/people/036/000068829
Atkins, Christine. "Wishing for Another Poem: The Poetry and Essays of Louise Gluck" The New York State Writer's Institute Writer's Online Vol. 1 No. 4 (Summer 1997). Date accessed: 12/7/2005 http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/g_l/gluck/about.htm
Hass, Robert "About Louise Gluck" Modern American Poetry. Date accessed: 12/7/2005 http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/g_l/gluck/about.htm
http://www.artstomp.com/gluck/news.htm Date accessed 6/7/06
Brief Biography, http://www.helical-library.net/gluck/bio.asp. Date accessed: 4/22/2013
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Anne (Schaeffer) Goodman (b.
September 14, 1938 in Queens, New York d. May 11, 2008 in Cambridge, Mass.)
Poet, photographer, technical writer
Miriam Anne (Schaeffer) Goodman was born in Queens New York to Samuel and Rebecca (Perkis) Schaeffer. She attended high school in Queens and then married her high school sweetheart, Robert Goodman at the age of eighteen with whom she had two daughters, Sarah Anna and Julia Helen. The couple moved to the Cambridge area, and Miriam studied English at Brandeis University. After a decade, the couple divorced. Miriam pursued her love of poetry by joining poetry workshops and working with the Cambridge poetry collective, Alice James Books, from the early 1970s to the early 1980s. She published two books of poetry with the press, Permanent Wave (1977) and Signal :: Noise (1982). She also polished her craft at a number of art colonies including the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ragdale, in Chicago, and the famed McDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Realizing that poetry never pays the rent, she became a technical writer and worked in that capacity at a number of high tech corporations in the Boston area, including Lincoln Labs from the late 1970s to the 1990s, writing manuals and serving as a digital technical instructor. She drew on this experience for some of her later poetry.
In her fifties, she developed her skills as a photographer, studying at the Photography Atelier program of the Radcliffe and Lesley Seminars and at the New England School of Photography. She sought images in unusual locations such as elevators and construction sites, and soon exhibited throughout the New England area, often coupling her images with poetry. Her photographic work appeared in many juried group exhibitions at the Cambridge Art Association, Tufts University, Lesley University, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Nelson Gallery (N.H.) between 1994 and 2006. She founded and coordinated the Word & Image Lecture series, sponsored by Lesley Seminars and The Center for Photographic Exhibition of the New England School of Photography. She also served as Photography Editor for the Women’s Review of Books and Poetry Editor for Sojourner newspaper, Boston.
While she continued to publish individual poems in various publications over the years, in 1996 she published a third book of poetry, Commercial Traveler, with Garden Street Press of Truro, Massachusetts. More recently, she edited an anthology of poems for the online magazine Frigate (http://www.frigatezine.com, Issue 2 November 2000 - September 2001), entitled Night Shift: Poets on Work. Her photographs illustrating the subject of work appeared throughout this issue. In 2007, she contributed a permanent traveling collection to the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Suffering from metastatic melanoma, she began to keep a “Radiation journal” which she illustrated with photographs. Miriam Goodman died at Chilton House, Cambridge at the age of 69. A memorial exhibition “After a Certain Age” featuring her photographs and her commentary was mounted at the Griffin Museum of Photography on May 12, 2009. Debi Milligan
Obituary, The Boston Globe , May 14, 2008
Bryan Marquard. “Miriam Goodman, 69; poet also nurtured others' art” The Boston Globe, May 16, 2008 http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/obituaries/articles/2008/05/16/miriam_goodman_69_poet_also_nurtured_others_art/
Leslie Lawrence “Miriam Goodman, Poet, 1938-2008” We Remember, Jewish Women’s Archive online site http://jwa.org/weremember/goodman-m
Miriam Goodman online web site http://www.miriamgoodman.com
Press release, Griffin Museum of Photography, April 2, 2009
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(b.January 5, 1868 in Cambridge, Mass., d. July 25, 1953 in Simancas, Spain)
Mathematician, Historical researcher, Educator
Alice Bache Gould was born in Cambridge on January 5, 1868 to the astronomer Benjamin Apthorp Gould and his wife Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould. The Gould family resided at 12 Oxford Street in Cambridge. The house, built in the 1840s, was demolished in 1926 for Harvard's construction of Mallinckrodt Laboratory. As a very young child, she lived in Cordoba Argentina where her father was astronomer at the National Observatory but she returned to Cambridge in 1871 to live with relatives. She always credited her New England roots for her resolute personality but she kept an interest in Spanish culture.
As a young woman, she determined to become a mathematician and studied at the early version of Radcliffe College in 1885. She then transferred to Bryn Mawr from which she received an A.B. in mathematics in 1889. She then began graduate work at Massachusetts of Technology and at Newnham College, Cambridge in England. She then began a doctorate at the University of Chicago under to study for her doctorate in mathematics with E. H. Moore and received a fellowship in 1895. The death of her father the following year and the loss of her fellowship caused her to drop out of her doctoral program and return to Cambridge. Although she taught mathematics occasionally, she never completed her degree. She established a fellowship in her father’s name at the Academy of Sciences. She also wrote and published a biography of the naturalist Louis Agassiz in 1900.
Her life took a new direction when she traveled to Puerto Rico to recover from the flu. She became interest in the earliest voyages of exploration and to research information on the first sailors to risk the Atlantic crossing. During seven years in Puerto Rico and forty-two years in Spain, notably in the Archivo de Simancas, she rescued countless original documents from destruction. Her greatest accomplishment as a scholar was the compilation of the names and biographies of all the members of the crew of Christopher Columbus' first voyage. In 1942, famed Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison called her work, "the most important piece of original Columbian research yet done in this century."
Although historical research was Gould's lifetime passion, it was not her only accomplishment or legacy. She was instrumental in establishing a nurses' training hospital in Puerto Rico, and she founded the first pre-school in
Simancas, Spain. She taught at universities across the United States and even taught navigation to ensigns during World War I at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Although she briefly left Spain during the Spanish Civil War, she soon returned there. Gould left behind permanently endowed scholarship funds and bequeathed huge collections in both the United States and Spain. The government of Spain awarded her the Queen Isabella cross in 1952. She died in Simancas, Spain on July 25, 1953. In October 2003, fifty years after her death, a two-day international celebration in Madrid recognized Miss Gould's life and accomplishments. The event was organized by Kathleen E. LeMieux, who is currently writing a biography of Alice Bache Gould for publication.
References: Kathleen E. LeMieux; Massachusetts Historical Society, Alice Bache Gould'papers Guidie to the Collection; http://www.masshist.org/findingaids/doc.cfm?fa=fa0207; “Alice in Seville” Time magazine July 7, 1952.
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September 5, 1941 in Cambridge, Mass.)
Community activist, politician
Saundra Graham was born in Cambridge, one of eleven children of Charles B. Postell and Roberta (Betts) Postell. She attended public schools in Cambridge, the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University Extension. She married at a young age, but by the late 1960s, Saundra was divorced and continued to raise her five children as a single parent.
In 1968, Saundra became a member of the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Community Center. In 1970, she served as president of the Riverside Planning Team and in 1971, as one of the founders and the president of Riverside Cambridgeport Community Development Corporation. She led this organization to become a highly successful community development corporation that continues to provide low and moderate income housing for Cambridge residents and acts to upgrade existing housing. She also led the struggle for rent control in the early 1970s.
Graham became widely known for her leadership of neighborhood residents in a protest, during the 1970 Harvard University commencement, against the university’s real estate expansion that resulted in the eviction of long-time residents from their homes. The group succeeded in forcing Harvard to construct both elderly and family housing complexes over the next ten years. She has continued to the present to challenge the creation of Harvard buildings in areas of the Riverside neighborhood of Cambridge.
In 1971, she was elected to the Cambridge City Council, the first woman of color to be elected. From 1972 to the 1980s, she served as Chairwoman of its Housing and Land Use Committee. From 1976 to 1977, Graham served as Vice-Mayor of Cambridge. As City Councilor and later State Representative, she played a key role in obtaining federal housing dollars for Cambridge that resulted in rehabilitation and modernization of public housing complexes. Through her work, one building in the historic East Cambridge courthouse complex was saved from demolition and opened as a center for Multicultural Arts. In 1977 and 1978, she served as Chairwoman of the Multicultural Arts Center Committee in Cambridge.
In 1976, Saundra Graham was elected as State Representative, a seat which she held for the subsequent twelve years. She was the first black woman representative from Cambridge to the State House and served as Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus and as a member of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. She continued to work for fair housing as a member of the Joint House-Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development. In her work in the legislature, Saundra was dedicated to obtaining economic justice for the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, minorities and women. She also served as Secretary to the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
Another major concern of hers was the need for quality childcare in the Commonwealth. She founded the Childcare Coalition, a state-wide collective of community child advocacy groups and individuals. She also has worked on peace initiatives and advocated for nuclear disarmament, co-chairing the Massachusetts Coalition for the August 27, 1983 March on Washington.
Graham is a recipient of numerous awards some of which include the 1976 National Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.; the 1980 Recognition Award by the Central Square Cambridge Businessmen's Association and the 1982 Woman of the Year in Government Award by the Boston Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
The Graham and Parks Alternative Public School was named in her honor, along with Rosa Parks. Her portrait appears with that of Rosa Parks in a mural "Education Is Liberation / The Rosa Parks Mural," on the first floor of the school’s former building at 44 Upton Street. This was created in 1984 by artist David Fichter on a commission from the Cambridge Arts Council. Although she is no longer an elected official, she continues to be an important political figure, fighting against unfair practices such as the recent redistricting of the Cambridge legislative seats.
Graham and Parks Alternative School web site, www.cpsd.us/GAP/history.cfm
Metropolis Magazine, Harvard inc., 2001
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Renae Gray (b.
April 19, 1951 in Portsmouth, Virginia, d. January 24, 2017 in Cambridge, Mass.)
Educator, Community activist, Nonprofit Consultant
Renae Gray, daughter of Anlizia and Robert Gray, was born on April 19, 1951 in Portsmouth, Virginia and grew up in Virginia and New Haven, Connecticut with her aunt Elnora Doggett. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia and moved to Florida where she met and married Edward Scott. In 1973, Gray moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, eventually settling in the “Port” neighborhood, also known as Area IV, with her daughter Michele N. Scott.
Early in her career, Gray worked at a shelter for battered women, and she remained committed to ending violence against women and girls throughout her life. She also worked at the Haymarket Peoples Fund, a social justice, grant-making nonprofit, and served on the boards of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (MFNH), the Women’s Theological Center and the Cambridge Algebra Project.
In the early 1980s, a large group of women met to address the declining support of women-led organizations and the closing of two feminist newspapers. In a 2008 Boston Herald interview, Gray reflected on those early meetings: “Out of that came the question: How do we sustain women’s organizations? How do we guarantee the viability and ability of women’s work? We went around and around. We knew we couldn’t fund all the social services that women needed.” In 1984, Gray was one of eight women from that initial group who founded the Boston Women’s Fund (BWF) to support organizations that help low-income women and girls on issues related to racial, economic and social justice. Twenty years later, she was asked to join the Board and become the Interim Executive Director, where she served for five years, pursuing her belief that a small monthly pledge was as significant as a large donation. Gray said in that same interview, “I hope that the mark that the fund leaves is that it holds and honors both of those donors.”
Gray also helped found the Funding Exchange, a national grant making foundation, and she served as a board member or was part of many organizations, including the Cambridge Health Alliance, New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBiP), the Cambridge African American Heritage Committee, the Area IV for Peace Committee, the Union Baptist Church of Cambridge, the Women’s Theological Center and the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee. She worked on a project for seniors, “Seven Secrets for Healthy Living”, with the MFNH and the Cambridge Public Health Department. Throughout her career, she consulted on diversity training and advocacy, and traveled extensively for her work, including serving as an international monitor for the first presidential election after apartheid ended in South Africa.
Gray was also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the YWCA Cambridge, and in 2010, she received the Lieutenant Kenney Award for her commitment to safety and prosperity for the Area IV Cambridge community. Gray dedicated her entire career and life to helping others, especially women, African Americans and fellow Cantabrigians.
Graves, Helen. “Second Time Around is Sweet For Renae Gray,” Boston Herald, 3/1/2008, https://www.bostonherald.com/2008/03/01/second-time-around-is-sweet-for-renae-gray/
My Keeper Obituary: http://www.mykeeper.com/profile/HaymarketPeoplesFund/
New England Blacks in Philanthropy website, blog post, 1/31/17, https://sel-law.squarespace.com/renae-gray-post
Silva-Collins, Candelaria, blog, 7/1/2008, http://candelariasilva.com/a-tribute-to-the-lovely-renae-gray/
YWCA Cambridge Massachusetts Facebook post, 4/21/2017, https://www.facebook.com/pg/YWCACambMA/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155047494801125
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(b. September 13, 1912 in Cambridge, Mass., d. February 10, 2012)
Teacher and local historian
Suzanne Revaleon Green, born in 1912 to James Albert Revaleon and Ruby Higginbotham, was a lifelong resident of Cambridge She lived at 9 Worcester Street, the house in which she grew up. A former teacher, she was known for her keen love for and knowledge of history. The Revaleon family has an interesting history and is highlighted in Twenty Families of Color in Massachusetts, 1742–1998 by Frank Dorman.
Her grandfather Albert Leroy Revaleon enlisted in the 55th regiment in the Civil War, a regiment of Black soldiers formed after the famous 54th was oversubscribed. Her father’s mother was one of five children born to James Belden, an Indian scout of the
Nipmuc tribe in Northfield, Massachusetts, a territory seized from the Indians without compensation.
She recalls that her maternal grandfather sold fruits and vegetables from his horse and wagon and ran a store in Cambridge, selling grains, beans, and flour. He gave her grandmother the house at 9 Worcester Street in the 1880s as a wedding present. She recalls being a member of the Cambridge Neighborhood House and the Margaret Fuller House, where she took piano lessons and then played. She attended the Fletcher school, graduating at the top of her class, but was at first blocked from speaking at the graduation because of her race. When her father objected strongly, a concession was made to allow her to speak. Her father was a man who did not believe in being blocked by racial prejudice, and when he was not welcomed in the white Masonic Lodges, he started a Masonic Lodge for young African Americans in 1937.
Suzanne continued her education at Cambridge High and Latin and then went on to Salem State Teacher’s College, graduating in 1933. Although she and her “colored” classmates were encouraged to seek positions in the South, Suzanne stayed in Cambridge and was the seventh Black woman to be hired in the Cambridge Public schools since the time of Maria Baldwin. In 1937, she was appointed to the Houghton School.
Five years later, when she decided to get married, she was fired from her position along with two other recently married women, one Catholic and one Jewish. Her new husband, the attorney Robert H. Green, sued the city contending that the firing had been illegal. The battle dragged on, but it was resolved in their favor and all three women were reinstated and awarded their back pay. Green decided to resign (as she had initially planned to do before the firing, but the other women continued to teach in the schools. It was some years more before the law was changed and all married women were permitted to teach in the schools.
Green has served and volunteered for the Girl Scouts, the Cambridge Community Center, and the Cambridge YWCA. She worked for 11 years as assistant director of training from the OIC (Boston office of Opportunities Industrialization Center), a movement begun by a group of ministers in the 1960s to increase working possibilities for African Americans. In the 1960s, she was also one of those who fought to prevent the proposed Inner Belt highway from destroying much of Central Square.
Devoted to her community, she is depicted in the top left-hand corner of the mural behind the Harvest Cooperative Supermarket in Central Square. In 2002, on her ninetieth birthday, she was awarded the key to the City of Cambridge. Since then, she compiled a booklet entitled African-American Women—Firsts that celebrates in words and photographs the accomplishments of Black women U.S. history. She served as a member of the Cambridge African American Heritage Trail Committee and the Cambridge Historical Commission, and in 2004 she was the first recipient of the Margaret Fuller Lifetime Achievement Award at the 17th Annual YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women and an invited guest at a conference on “Slavery, Freedom and Abolition” in New England at Yale University.
Mrs. Green died February 10, 2012 at the age of 99.
Cambridge Tab 2-25-99
4word article, November 2003, "A Conversation with Suzanne Revaleon Green," http://masonrypage.org/Area4/4word/2004-01-i18.pdf
Cambridge Historical Commission files
Salem State Alumni site http://www.salemstate.edu/alumni/statement/docs/ALA-Statement_1.pdf
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Gypsy Wagon Collective (1974 -1979)
Craft Collective, 204 Hampshire Street
Gypsy Wagon, a craft collective that operated on consignment, was led by Diane Walbridge, Diane Bellamy, and Karen Copeland. Aside from selling crafts, Gypsy Wagon offered classes including macramé, knitting, crochet, loom weaving, basket weaving, lampshade workshops, as well as voice and music lessons. As in other collectives, the people involved were volunteers. The shop employed one paid staff person. Sadly, the collective’s inventory was robbed within its first year of operation. In 1979, the owners changed the business to Dirtworks, a cleaning company.
Reference: Written by Kimm Topping, printed in Mapping Feminist Cambridge guidebook, 2019: https://www.cambridgewomenscommission.org/download/CCSW_MFCamb_book_190717.pdf
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Women's Heritage Project