From civil rights leaders, educators, musical artists and scholars, the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame has welcomed 10 new honorees that have helped shape our culture, and impacted the communities for the better.
The Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame promotes equality of women by honoring the history and celebrating the accomplishments of Michigan women.
The organization envisions a society where women and girls are empowered, and supported to realize their potential.
Those inducted into the 33rd class of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame include:
The 2016 Contemporary Honorees:
Dr. Anan Ameri of Detroit, the founding Director of the Arab American National Museum (AANM), is a scholar, author, activist, and community organizer. Born in Damascus and raised in Amman, Jordan. Since arriving to the United States in 1974, Dr. Ameri had founded two national organizations: the Palestine Aid Society of America, focusing on empowering women in refugee camps in Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied territories; and the AANM, a cultural treasure and a trusted resource about the Arab American history, culture, and contributions.
Rev. Faith Fowler of Detroit is the founder and Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services (CCSS), a Detroit nonprofit agency which responds to poverty with programs for food, health care, housing, and employment. In addition to her work at CCSS, Rev. Fowler is involved in the Detroit community and is actively engaged in a number of organizations focused on investing in and advocating for Detroit and Detroiters.
Dr. Olivia Letts of Lansing is the first African-American hired to teach in the Lansing School District. A life-long advocate of education, civil rights, community service, and philanthropy, Dr. Letts has committed her life to providing quality service to others through her leadership and support. As an educator in Lansing Schools, Dr. Letts was well-positioned to help the district desegregate and hire more teachers of color.
Diana Ross of Detroit is a Motown legend and was named “Female Entertainer of the 20th Century” by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared her the most successful female music artist in history. Since her career began, she has amassed a career total of 70 hit singles through her work with The Supremes and as a solo artist.
Lou Anna Kimsey Simon of East Lansing is the twentieth—and first woman—president of Michigan State
University. Simon leads the university’s work to advance the common good in Michigan and around the world. She has expanded MSU’s reach by focusing the university’s strengths on solutions that protect and enhance quality of life, including clean water, safe and plentiful food, sustainable energy, and health care.
The 2016 Historical Honorees:
Elizabeth Sparks Adams (1911-2007) of Waterford Township was a leader in the field of Michigan history. Appointed at age 29, she served 54 years as the first woman member of the Michigan Historical Commission, reappointed eight times by Governors of both parties. She was the longest-serving member of any State of Michigan board, commission, or committee, and is the longest-serving public official in Michigan history.
Daisy Elliott (1917-2015) of Detroit served as a Representative in the Michigan Legislature and was one of the greatest civil rights leaders this state has ever produced. During her tenure as a legislator, Elliott introduced the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act in 1962, which she pushed to passage in 1977. For 20 years, she served the people of Michigan as a relentless advocate for civil rights, workers, senior citizens, women, and minorities.
Dr. Evelyn Golden (1913-2005) of Flint practiced medicine in Flint for nearly 50 years, specializing in the care of women and children. As a physician and humanitarian, she was dedicated to helping children, women, and seniors in Genesee County. In addition to her work as a physician, Dr. Golden served her community in numerous roles relating to children’s health and well-being.
Mary Free Bed Guild was founded in 1891 when a small group of Grand Rapids women established an endowed bed to help those with limited resources pay for healthcare and evolved into a nationally recognized rehabilitation hospital.
Charlotte “Lottie” Wilson (1854-1914) of Niles was a nationally renowned artist whose works were displayed at the White House and in cities throughout the eastern United States. As a black woman living during the late 19th century, Wilson faced countless challenges to her success. Through determination and a strong sense of independence, Wilson overcame each challenge to accomplish major strides in art, education, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. In addition, she was the first African-American to attend and graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Also during the event, the Phillip A. Hart Award was presented. This award is given by the Michigan’s Women’s Studies Association Board of Directors to a man who has demonstrated a unique understanding and support of women’s issues and concerns, and has contributed to the advancement of women’s rights and interests.
This year, the Phillip A. Hart Award went to the Honorable Damon J. Keith, of Detroit.
He is senior judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Keith is a Civil Rights leader, defender of the U.S. Constitution, and advocate for equality. The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University’s Law School addresses the civil rights needs of southeast Michigan and beyond. In addition, Judge Keith has mentored young black and female attorneys, which include women such as: Lani Guinier, the first tenured African-American female professor at Harvard Law School; former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; and Jocelyn Benson, Dean of Wayne State Law School.
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