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Summer 2020 Woman of the Week posts: June 2020


Oberlin College Libraries' social media campaign for summer 2020 featured prominent Oberlin women graduates who were leaders in their fields.  Read each woman's brief profile and have some fun with the various activities that we chose for each week!

Dr. Niara Sudarkasa (June 1, 2020)

Above photo:  Infographic depicting the information about Niara Sudarkasa written in this post.  Niara Sudarkasa, OC Class of 1957  Sudarkasa was born Gloria Albertha Marshal in 1938 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was an accomplished scholar, anthropologist, educator, and Africanist.  Born August 14, 1938; Died May 31, 2019  A.B., Oberlin College, 1957; M.A., Columbia University, 1961; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1964  “Niara” is derived from the Swahili word “Nia”, which translates to “high purpose”  Named “Educator for the ‘90s” by Essence magazine  Author of numerous publications, including Exploring the African American Experience & Where Women Work: Yoruba Traders in the Marketplace and in the Home  Recipient of 13 honorary degrees and almost 100 civic and professional awards  MAJOR MILESTONES  1969-  First African American appointed to Department of Anthropology at University of Michigan  1986- First female president of Lincoln University  2001-  First African American installed as a Chief in the Ife Kingdom of the Yoruba of Nigeria


Crossword puzzle: 

Image and link to a crossword puzzle about Dr. Niara Sudarkasa

Edmonia Lewis (June 8, 2020)

Above photo: Infographic depicting the information about Edmonia Lewis written in this post.  Edmonia Lewis, Oberlin Academy Preparatory School  Named Wildfire at birth and orphaned by the age of 9, Lewis because the first African American and Native American woman to gain international recognition as a sculptor.   Born July 4, 1844; Died September 17, 1907  Attended Oberlin Academy Preparatory School and Oberlin College from 1859 until 1862 when she was accused of poisoning two of her white roommates. Although acquitted of the charge, Lewis was assaulted by unknown white vigilantes and not permitted to graduate.  Moved to Rome in 1865 to pursue her career independently, without the aid of abolitionist patronage  Lewis never married, is said to have dressed in “mannish” attire, and associated with a group of openly gay women, which has led many to conclude that she was likely a lesbian herself.   Included in Molefi Kete Asante’s 2002 biographical dictionary 100 Greatest African Americans  NOTABLE WORKS  1864- Bust of Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Sales from the copies of the bust were able to finance Lewis’s move to Europe.  1876- The Death of Cleopatra, created for the 1876 centennial Exposition in Philadelphia  1877- Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant, commissioned by the former president himself.


Word search puzzle: 

crossword puzzle about Edmonia Lewis


Black History Month female artists coloring sheets
NOTE: These pages are free but you will have to add them to the cart, and then complete the checkout process.  You will not have to enter any payment information but doing this will allow you to download all 15 coloring sheets in a single file.

Coloring pages for Black women artists

Further reading:

  1. Henderson, Harry and Albert Henderson. 2012. The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis: A Narrative Biography. Milford, CT: Esquiline Hill Press.
  2. Buick, Kirsten Pai. 2010;2009;. Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History's Black and Indian Subject. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv11hpqbf.

Jewel LaFontant-Mankarious (June 15, 2020)

Above photo: Infographic depicting the information about Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious written in this post.  Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious, OC Class of 1943  Lafontant-Mankarious was born Jewel Carter Stadford in Chicago, Illinois. She was a high-ranking U.S. Presidential appointee, civil rights leads, and lawyer.  Born April 28, 1922; Died May 31, 1997  A.B., Oberlin College, 1943; J.D., University of Chicago Law School. 1946  Admitted to the Illinois Bar and began working for the Legal Aid Bureau of Chicago in 1947  Named Assistant U.S. Attorney for Illinois in 1955 by President Eisenhower  Served as Ambassador-at-Large and U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs in the State Department from 1989 to 1993  Recipient of the Cook County Bar Association Achievement Award, the CARE Foundation’s International Humanitarian Award, and many others.   MAJOR MILESTONES  1946- First African American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School  1963- First Black woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court  1973- First female Deputy Solicitor General


Jigsaw puzzle:

jigsaw puzzle

Esther Close (June 22, 2020)

Above photo:  Infographic depicting the information about Esther Close written in this post.  Esther Close, OC Class of 1893  Esther Annette Close was born in Sullivan, Ohio and spent much of her life in Oberlin where she attended school, worked, and was active in community.  Born June 25, 1866; Died February 1, 1956  Oberlin High School, 1884; Oberlin College Conservatory, 1884-88, 1894-95; Ph.B., Oberlin College, 1893  Worked as a library assistant at Oberlin College’s library for over 30  Served as staff advisor for the Equal Suffrage League at Oberlin College  Active member of the Oberlin Congregational Church, the Oberlin Women’s Club, and the Oberlin Women’s Christian Temperance Union  MAJOR MILESTONES  1884- Enrolled at the Oberlin College Conservatory  1893- Earned her bachelor of philosophy degree from Oberlin College  1933- Retired from Oberlin College after working as a library assistant for 34 years


Coloring page

coloring page of Esther Close

Jigsaw puzzle:

Esther Close jigsaw puzzle


Coloring page
NOTE: Right-click on the image below, and then choose "Save Image As." This will allow you to download the image to your computer.

equal suffrage coloring page

Adena Miller Rich (June 29)

Above photo:  Infographic depicting the information about Adena Miller Rich written in this post.  Adena Miller Rich, OC Class of 1911  Born October 12, 1888; Died March 10, 1967  A.B., Oberlin College, 1911; Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, 1912  Worked as supervisor of visitors for the Immigrant’s Protective League in Chicago where she eventually served as director  Served as vice president of the Illinois League of Women Voters from 1923-1926  Lived at the Hull House Settlement in Chicago with her husband Kenneth Rich for over sixteen years where she acted as Jane Addams’ secretary and was eventually appointed head resident  Served as a trustee for Oberlin College  MAJOR MILESTONES  1916- Appointed civic director of the Women’s City Club in Cincinnati  1923- Elected vice president of the Illinois League of Women Voters  1926- Became director of the Immigrant’s Protective League


Jigsaw puzzle:

Adena Miller Rich jigsaw puzzle