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Women

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Annie Lowrie Alexander (1864-1929) Encyclopedia

Annie Alexander has a unique place in history: the first female licensed to practice medicine in the South. Annie was strongly influenced by her father, a physician himself, who determined that she should become a doctor after one of his female patients died after refusing medical attention out of fear of being examined by a man. When Dr. Alexander told his wife of his desire to have Annie become a doctor, Mrs. Alexander fretted over bearing the cost of medical training, only to have Annie marry and forgo a career as a physician. Dr. Alexander’s response was blunt: "She must never marry. She'll serve humanity".

 

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Asheborough Female Academy Encyclopedia

Much scholarly attention has been given to Alexander Murphy’s visions for public education in antebellum North Carolina and to the common school system in mid-nineteenth-century North Carolina; however, private schools existed in the period, too.  One such school was the Asheborough Female Academy.

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Ella Baker ( 1903 - 1986) Encyclopedia

A North Carolina native, Ella Baker played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement and in forming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Shaw University.  

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Susan Dimock (1847 - 1875) Encyclopedia

One of the first females to practice medicine in the United States, Dr. Susan Dimock was born in Washington, North Carolina in 1847. Dimock trained under a local doctor before moving to Boston after the Civil War. Although she was denied entrance into Harvard Medical School, she moved to Europe where she attended the University of Zurich. She practiced medicine in Boston for several years, but in 1875, at 28 years of age she died after her ship wrecked off the coast of England.

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Edenton Tea Party Encyclopedia

The Edenton Tea Party was one of the earliest organized women’s political actions in United States history.  On October 25, 1774, Mrs. Penelope Barker organized, at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King, fifty-one women in Edenton, North Carolina.  Together they formed an alliance wholeheartedly supporting the American cause against “taxation without representation.”

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Inglis Fletcher (1879 - 1969) Encyclopedia

Born in Illinois, Inglish Fletcher first visited North Carolina in 1934 researching her genealogy in the Tyrrell County historical records. She published her most prominent novel, Raleigh’s Eden, in 1941, and it detailed the Albemarle plantation culture in colonial North Carolina. Dedicated to research and historical accuracy, Fletcher published a twelve volume historical fiction set entitled the Carolina Series. The novelist moved to Edenton in 1941 where she became a prominent citizen who help start the North Carolina Writers Conference and the Elizabethan Gardens on the Roanoke Island. 

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Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) Encyclopedia

Born in Johnston County in 1922, Ava Lavinia Gardner became one of Hollywood’s most popular starlets in the 1940s and 1950s. She attended Rock Ridge High School and Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), and in 1939 her big break in film occurred. While visiting her sister in New York a photographer took several pictures of Gardner who later sent them to the MGM talent office. MGM signed Gardner to a seven-year contract and her acting career began. Gardner appeared in several classic films including The Killers, One Touch of Venus, and the classic musical, Show Boat.

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Human Betterment League of North Carolina Encyclopedia

Created in Pasadena, California in 1928, The Human Betterment Foundation sponsored and conducted research dealing with sterilization’s physiological, mental, and social effects. Closely aligned with the Human Betterment Foundation, the Human Betterment League of North CarolinaFounded by James G. Hanes in 1947, used mass media and advertisements to promote the implementation of sterilization procedures.  In large part because of the League's work, the number of sterilizations in North Carolina increased after World War II. 

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Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) Encyclopedia

A former North Carolina slave turned abolitionist and author, Harriet Jacobs was born in bondage in Edenton.  In her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), Jacobs describes the abuse that she endured while a slave and is the best-known autobiography written by an African American woman during the 19th century.  

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Lillian Exum Clement (1894-1925) Encyclopedia

Lillian Exum Clement became the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and the first woman to serve in any state legislature in the American South.

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Flora MacDonald (1722 - 1790) Encyclopedia

The subject of Scottish folklore and myth, Flora MacDonald assisted Prince Charles Stuart in his escape from King George II during the Jacobite rebellion. In 1774, Flora and her family moved to the North Carolina colony, and Flora’s husband and son fought for the Loyalists during the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. The Jacobite heroine returned to her native Scotland in 1779 where she passed away in 1790.

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Gertrude D. McKee (1885 1948) Encyclopedia

A native of Jackson County, North Carolina, Gertrude D. McKee became the first woman to serve in the North Carolina Senate.  Her terms were from 1931-33, 1937-39, and 1943-44.  She was known as a “pioneer of welfare programs” in North Carolina that served as models for other Southern states. 

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North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association Encyclopedia

In 1894, the first suffragette organization was founded in North Carolina.  It remained almost inactive until the World War I era, when it became a political influence in the Tar Heel State.  The association had minimal success in convincing the state legislature to grant women suffrage.  

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Palmer Memorial Institute Encyclopedia

Nineteen-year old Charlotte Hawkins Brown, an African American educator, started the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina in 1902 to educate elementary and high school students in rural North Carolina.  Named after Brown’s benefactor and friend, Alice Freedman Palmer, the Institute began in an old blacksmith shed. 

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Sarah Malinda Pritchard Blalock (1839-1903) Encyclopedia

Sarah Malinda Pritchard Blalock is one of only two women known for having served in any North Carolina Confederate regiment.

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