Update From the General Secretary

As a child, I was encouraged by my parents to read at least one book each week. I continue to be grateful for this push, and continue the practice to this day. I’m a voracious reader; along with my weekly book, I read at least five magazines cover-to-cover and I try to check out cnn.com at least twice a day.

I’ll admit I read mainly for pleasure, only grudgingly making space for “work-related books.” Still, I learn a lot that inspires, inflames, and encourages me. It so happens that the past two weeks have been particularly fruitful. So, borrowing a favorite features in a favorite magazine, I’m sharing (and inviting my GCSRW colleagues to share occasionally), things I’ve learned from recent reading:

  • Tawana Resort, located near Xenia, Ohio, operated from 1852-1855. Southern slaveholders frequented the resort, which lead to a decline in local popularity (many White people in the area were anti-slavery). Local oral history holds that the resort was a trysting place the White slaveholder and the Black women they held as concubines. The land was later sold to the Methodist Episcopal Church and, later, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and used to build Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest, private historical Black university. (from Wench, a novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • At least 22% of women travelers are traveling alone, and journeywoman.com offers advice on everything from the best hotels in global cities to avoiding sexual harassment when dining alone. (from AARP magazine January/February 2010 issue)
  • Michelle Obama was certainly not the first U.S. First Lady to face tough scrutiny and controversy. Lou Hoover, wife of 31st President Herbert Hoover, outraged Southern voters by welcoming congressional wife Jessie DePriest, an African-American, to a tea for congressional wives in 1929. It was the first time a Black woman had been received socially by a first lady. The Texas legislature passed a resolution chastising Mrs. Hoover for this “outrage.” (from “Top 10 Most Controversial First Ladies, in George magazine, September 1999—I own every copy of this now-defunct publication founded by the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.)

Learn something interesting for or about women in your regular reading? Share it with other GCSRW friends here.

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