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Top row: Gert Boyle, Beatrice Morrow Cannady, Margaret Carter, Edith Green, and Kathryn Harrison. Bottom row: Jeanne Holm, Maureen Neuberger, Norma Paulus, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, and Barbara Roberts.
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 17 August 2020

USA Today in partnership with the Salem Statesman Journal is celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote by honoring 10 Oregon women, including civil rights pioneer Beatrice Morrow Cannady, Grande Ronde tribal leader Kathryn Harrison and former Sen. Margaret Carter.

Watch the live event

Former Sen. Margaret Carter is one of six women who will take part in an online storytelling event on Tuesday, August 18, at 5p.m. Pacific time. USA Today selected her along with the other story tellers:

  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who proved children were being poisoned by their water in Flint, MichiganJessie
  • “Little Doe” Baird, a linguist
  • Cristina Jimenez Moreta, an immigration advocate
  • Helen Zia, LGBTQ rights advocate and author
  • Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation  
  • Watch the livestream of the event on the Facebook Storytellers Project page or on the YouTube Storytellers Project

The newspaper invited partners in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and American territories to name 10 women as "Women of the Century.”

In Oregon the Statesman Journal sponsored the project bringing together a blue-ribbon panel to select the 10 women who made the most important contributions to the state and to the country since the passing of the 19th amendment in 1920.

The women chosen spanned the century and included politicians, civil rights activists and an air-force general.

Former Sen. Margaret Carter made history as the first African American woman elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1984. During her career she has served in both Oregon’s House of Representatives and Senate, contributing as a member of the Ways and Means committee and holding the office of president pro tempore of the Senate.

A community college counselor for many years, she also served as president of the Urban League of Portland and in Oregon Department of Human Services. Former Sen. Carter expressed her gratitude for the award saying:

"I am honored to have been selected to participate with women who have given so much to our State and National Community.

"Women whose lives made such a great difference in giving hope and showing perseverance daily. Such strength and vitality is remarkable."

Oregon's Women of the Century are:

  • Gert Boyle who died in 2019, was a businesswoman who was key to the success of the iconic Pacific Northwest brand Columbia Sportswear. Boyle became a household name as the face of the company's advertising campaigns.
  • Beatrice Morrow Cannady: a crusading attorney and civil rights pioneer, Cannady edited The Advocate, a Black newspaper published in Portland between 1903-1936, and helped found the Portland chapter of the NAACP. She died in 1974.
  • Margaret Carter: In 1984, Carter became the first African American woman elected to the Oregon Legislature. She spent almost 28 years serving in either the Oregon House or Senate.  She is in her 80’s and lives in Portland.
  • Edith Green, a Democrat in the U.S. Congress who helped push through legislation that led to Title IX, landmark legislation that opened the door for millions of female athletes. A former school teacher, radio commentator and lobbyist, she became an important figure in Oregon politics when she was elected to Congress in 1955. She served 10 terms and few women in Congress have left such a substantial legacy. She died in 1987.      
  • Kathryn Harrison: the first woman to be elected chair of the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, she continues to contribute to the tribe in her 90s.
  • Jeanne Holm: the first female one-star general in the U.S. Air Force and first two-star general in any branch of service. She was a driving force behind the expansion of women's roles in the military. She retired in 1975 and served as Special Assistant on Women for President Ford and held positions during the Carter and Reagan administrations. She died in 2010 at the age of 88.
  •  Maureen Neuberger: who remains the first and only women from Oregon to serve in the U.S. Senate. She focused on environmental and health issues, including sponsorship of one of the first bills to require warning labels on cigarette packaging. She died in 2000.     
  • Norma Paulus: another pioneering politician who served as Oregon’s first female secretary of state, helping pioneer the use of vote-by-mail in the state. In the Oregon House of Representatives, she was a key proponent of Oregon’s pathbreaking land-use laws. She died in 2019 at the age of 85.
  • Esther Pohl Lovejoy: one of Oregon’s earlier women physicians, a public health pioneer, suffrage activist, congressional candidate and a central figure in early efforts to organization international medical relief work. In 1907, she was appointed chairman of the Portland Board of Health, the first woman in the U.S. to hold such a position in a major city. She died in 1967.      
  • Barbara Roberts: the first woman to serve as Oregon Governor, inaugurated Jan. 14, 1991. The descendant of Oregon Trail pioneers and a fourth-generation Oregonian, she began her career in public service as an advocate for the educational rights of her autistic son. Her efforts resulted in one of the nation's first special-education laws. She’s in her 80s and still lives in Portland.      

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