Library Celebrates Women’s History Month
Throughout March, the Library commemorates Women's History Month by spotlighting and celebrating stories, achievements, and experiences past and present. Explore book recommendations, events, and discover how local women helped shape Kansas City’s history.
Books & Films | Events & Activities | Exhibition | Women Who Made History Coloring Book | Research & Resources
Book and Film Suggestions
Explore a collection of titles that highlight the varied experiences of women through true-life histories and memoirs, the lens of fictional tales, and other stories.
Films and DocumentariesThe streaming video service Kanopy lets you enjoy works by female filmmakers, watch movies about women who've made headlines, and explore documentaries that highlight contemporary women's issues.
Hoopla also offers instant access to digital films, including a collection of movies focusing on women's stories and experiences.
Events & Activities
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 | 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., KCMO
Learn about the history of reproductive justice in this community discussion, which will explore the role Black women played in the origins of the movement's framework. The program will also delve into the factors that can impact a person’s ability to shape their reproductive life, such as race, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and geography.
Light refreshments will be provided. Presented in partnership with Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 1 - 2:30 p.m.
Southeast Branch, 6242 Swope Pkwy, KCMO
On August 31st, 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer went to Indianola, Mississippi to register to vote. This one act, an act guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, cost her her job and made her a target for the Ku Klux Klan. For the next several years, Hamer would become a strong advocate for voting rights and women’s rights. Today, she is known as one of the most prolific leaders in the Civil Rights movement.
Sandra Campbell performs in The Fannie Lou Hamer Story, a one-woman show about the civil rights activist.
Saturday, March 18, 2023 through Saturday, May 13, 2023
Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., KCMO
Genevieve Guldner Gallery, First Floor
In celebration of National Quilting Month and Women’s History Month in March, the exhibition This is Who We Are features narrative quilts created by textile artist NedRa Bonds and her granddaughter, Ashlynn Bonds. Embracing a whimsical, nontraditional approach passed down through generations, the works embody themes revolving around African American culture, womanhood, familial origins, resilience, and human connectedness.
Women Who Made History - A Colorful Past
The Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections has two coloring books available for free download that celebrate the lives and contributions of local women in our region's history. Read about these notable Kansas City women and get digital copies of the coloring books to print out and enjoy at kchistory.org.coloringkc.
Kansas City has been home to many extraordinary women. Pioneers. Activists. Entrepreneurs. Artists. Some were born here, others came and never left, but all helped shape our city into what it is today. The Women Who Made History coloring book features just a few of the many remarkable women who left their mark on our community.
Among the women highlighted :
- Lucile Harris Bluford, a journalist, civil rights crusader, and community leader, best known for her 70-year career at The Kansas City Call newspaper and the namesake of the Library’s Bluford Branch.
- Eliza “Lyda” Burton Conley, a member of the Wyandot Nation who is thought to be our country's first female lawyer of Native American descent.
- Nelle Nichols Peters, an architect who designed nearly 1,000 buildings in Kansas City, including the Ambassador Hotel, the Country Club Plaza Poets District apartments, and the McConahay Building where Walt Disney’s Laugh-O-Gram Films once was located.
- Josephine Silone Yates, a renowned teacher, writer, and outspoken advocate for racial equality. She taught at Lincoln High School and, in 1893, co-founded the Kansas City Women’s League, which eventually merged with the National Association of Colored Women.
Research and Resources
Women's Rights and Activism during Kansas City's Jazz Age
The Library's historical website The Pendergast Years: Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression has a collection of images, articles, and other items in its digital collections that provide insight into women's issues during the 1920s and '30s. In the years following the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women nationwide the right to vote, female activists in Kansas City undertook efforts to reform municipal government, serve in elected office, break down employment barriers, and lead social and civic clubs in movements to improve the health and welfare of disadvantaged populations. Their efforts often influenced key moments in the city’s history, such as passage of the 1925 city charter that unintentionally helped Tom Pendergast consolidate power and then the “clean sweep” reforms following Pendergast’s indictment for tax evasion in 1939.
BROWSE THE SITE | Articles | Photos
A demonstration on March 17, 1937 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. These images were captured outside of the Gordon Brothers Garment Company, Gernes Garment Company, and Missouri Garment Company building at 2617 Grand Avenue (now Grand Boulevard), Kansas City, Missouri. The sit-in turned into a riot as violence began between garment company workers, union protesters, and police.
Photo Details | Image: National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri
Everyday Life and Women in America
This digital resource features rare primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History, Duke University, and The New York Public Library. It comprises documents and images addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.
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