Yesterday Representative Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) led Indiana House members in recognizing the essential role of women in history by celebrating International Women’s Day.
The resolution observes several important moments in women’s history, including ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ensured that women had the right to vote. The resolution pays particular attention to women of note who lived and worked in the Michigan City area. The late State Representative and State Senator Anita Bowser was the first woman to hold the role of Deputy House Speaker Pro Tempore in the history of Indiana. She was a founding member of, and the first female teacher at, Purdue University North Central. Her priorities included education, economic development, health care, and the environment, and she was considered by some to be “the conscience of the Indiana State Senate.”
Sgt. Nora Werner was the first female Indiana State Police trooper to patrol the Indiana Toll Road. Boy said Sgt. Werner emphasized doing the right thing “no matter what” and served as a mentor and role model for many state troopers until her retirement in 2017 after serving for 34 years. Dorothy Jurney was born in Michigan City in 1909 and began her career at the Michigan City News, later becoming the women’s editor at the Miami Herald, Detroit Free Press, and Philadelphia Inquirer. She shifted the focus of women’s pages from society news to serious issues, such as the women’s movement, female political candidates, and women in the workplace. Anita King, born in Michigan City in 1884, began her career in modeling and theater before putting her expertise in driving to good use by competing in auto races in the early 1910s. She was the first female driver to complete a solo trip across the U.S., reporting that her only companions were a rifle and a six-shooter. She used her fame for charitable works, and helped organize a recreational club for young girls trying to start a career in the film industry.
Harriet Colfax served as Michigan City’s lighthouse keeper from 1861 until her retirement at age 80 in 1904. During those 43 years, she had an impeccable record of service keeping the light on through rain, snow, and many storms. Others recognized in Boy’s resolution included Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Grace Hopper, Bessie Coleman, Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul, Dr. Alice Hamilton, and Dr. Mae Jemison.