Talks Focus On Female/African American Pioneers

Lecture Womens Clubs: Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Boyle, Mrs. Cross-Rivenberg and Mrs. Coffin at Mrs. Boyle’s residence, Santa Fe, 1919, by Charles F. Coffin. Courtesy/Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

NMMH News:

History discussions, at times, seem fixated on one particular group – white males. During March, the New Mexico Museum of History is directing its focus to other key pioneers in New Mexico: women and African Americans.

At 6 p.m. March 6, the museum will host a Free First Friday Evening Talk titled, “New Mexico Women’s Clubs: Civic Pioneers.” As a women’s club movement swept the nation at the turn of the last century, New Mexico was changed—for the better. Throughout the state, various women’s clubs took up the tasks of “municipal housekeeping,” creating libraries and health care systems while teaching members lasting skills of leadership. In recognition of Women’s History Month, Historian Pat Farr will present the talk, which sheds light on the largely ignored contributions of women whose work lives on today.

Following Farr’s talk will be a Brainpower and Brownbags Lecture at noon March 11 titled, “Black Pioneers on Route 66.” In the Jim Crow era, black tourists experienced a different kind of Route 66 than the one remembered in story and song. Frank Norris, a historian for the National Park Service, National Trails Intermountain Region, in Santa Fe, shares his research during a casual talk in the Meem Community Room. Participants will be admitted for free if they enter through the history museum’s Washington Avenue doors.

Things will get shaken up as the museum turns its attention entirely away from New Mexico as well as the U.S. and focuses on the music of Western Europe. At 2 p.m. March 15, the museum will host a concert that will showcase 18th century harpsichord music. The concert is part of the exhibition, “Painting the Divine: Images of Mary in the New World,” and will be performed by Susan Patrick, an associate professor emerita of music at the University of New Mexico. Patrick will perform and discuss music from Italy, Germany and France. Admission to the concert is free.

To continue the celebration of Women’s History Month, the museum will host a screening of the film “Sweet Georgia Brown,” at 2 p.m., March 29. African-American women had to fight for the right to serve in World War II, and their contributions have gone largely ignored, until now.  “Sweet Georgia Brown: Impact, Courage, Sacrifice and Will,” is a documentary by Lawrence E. Walker of PureHistory Films. Walker; Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Jack R. Fox, Secretary of the State Department of Veterans Services, and Lt. Col. Pam Gaston, representing Women Veterans of New Mexico, a nonprofit organization providing support services, will be present at the screening. There is no admission fee but reservations are needed; to make one, call 505.476.5152.

The New Mexico History Museum, located at 113 Lincoln Avenue in Santa Fe is part of a campus that includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the U.S. The museum is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.