Last Saturday morning, March 17th, at the Lavaca Historical Museum, women and men from throughout Lavaca County including Hallettsville, Shiner, and Moulton gathered for the first National Women’s History Month Celebration in our area.
Sponsored by the museum and the newly-formed League of Women Voters of Lavaca County, each of us attendees brought photographs and artifacts of a most important woman in our lives. It was an engaging and rewarding experience of sharing family stories about our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts, teachers, mentors, friends, or other heroines.
Being the first of its kind in our area, we members of the League of Women Voters and historical museum were thoroughly pleased with both the turn-out and the many interesting stories that we shared. The stories were unique, touching, funny, and memorable as each member at the round-tables of six shared the highlights of the most influential women in their lives. An insightful bit of Lavaca County history was learned in the process, for many of the women chose to present their mothers or grandmothers in a most delightful way.
The Lavaca Historical Museum also had artifacts from many famous Lavaca County women on display throughout the large museum which we all enjoyed viewing after our presentations were over. Delicious refreshments were also enjoyed by all.
Interestingly, as recently at the 1970’s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in school curriculums or in the public consciousness. The first I really learned of women’s history was by my attending the 1977 International Women’s Year Conference, November 18-20, 1977 in Houston. Thousands of women from throughout the U.S. and the world attended such as Margaret Mead, the world-famous anthropologist, whom I had the pleasure to accompany down the hall and engage in conversation as we walked to her lecture presentation.
Women politicians from both the Democratic and Republican Parties were present, giving stirring speeches, encouraging us all to become active in the political process.Betty Ford, President Ford’s wife, was a featured speaker along with Gloria Steinman, Betty Friedan, and women members of Congress. Everyone in the hall was a woman, from the thousands in attendance to the security guards, press reporters, and event organizers. Outside the hall on a flat-bed truck was a group of men with bull-horns, telling us all that we were going straight to the devil. Needless to say, they were merrily ignored as we went about our business of sharing stories.
In fact, it was at that very meeting that I visited the display tables of the Republican and Democratic Women who were more than helpful to provide me with brochures, pamphlets, and seasoned advice as to how to run a campaign for public office. And sure enough, the very next year, 1978, I ran and was elected to the first of my three terms of serving on the New Braunfels City Council. I doubt if I’d ever have done that without those women’s encouragement.
As it is today, here in Lavaca County, where we now have organized a brand new League of Women Voters, open to all women and men of Lavaca County who wish to promote in a bi-partisan way the responsibility of studying the issues and voting in each and every election. We’re joining an organization formed in 1920, almost l00 years ago, which was originally founded to promote voter rights for women. Today, there are more than 700 state and local leagues with 300,000 plus members. Please join us by visiting the League of Women Voters of Lavaca County Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LWVLavaca/ to learn more.
See photos from this event in our photolog.