LAWRENCE — Women who were trailblazers in shaping the nation's laws will be the focus of a lecture by Genelle Belmas, University of Kansas associate professor of journalism.
“Women Making (and Breaking) the Law” will be from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Oct. 7 in Watson Library, 3 West. The lecture is part of the Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment, a series of events commemorating women’s suffrage and the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right the vote in the United States. The event is free and open to the public.
Some of the women Belmas will discuss are well-known – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a pop culture icon – but Belmas will highlight Sandra Day O’Connor, the first women to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
"When I mention this to people, some of them know, but some say, ‘Oh yeah, we forgot,’” Belmas said. “We shouldn't forget. She's too important to forget."
Other women are not so well-known, but their contributions to women’s history are just as significant, such as Mildred Jeter Loving, who along with her husband challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage, which led to a landmark court decision in the 1960s overturning miscegenation laws in the United States.
"These women were instrumental in helping us shape the law in a sense and make it easier for those of us who come afterward to be in the positions that we are: to teach, to research, to make difference in public policy, to make life better for others, to marry who we want to, to lead, to do all of these things,“ Belmas said.
In many cases, Belmas said, women have had to break laws in order to change them.
"These women had to buck society to do what they had to do,” Belmas said, “and we are all the richer for it."
To see the complete list of Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment events, which continue through April 2020, go to rockcha.lk/KUsuffrage.