Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Celebrating the lives of women around the globe


By Cheryl Tillman Lee
Family Editor

As part of the celebration of Women’s History Month, we salute the following displays of work and historical value of ‘pioneer women,’ which includes: Bessie Bruington Burke, Educator, 1891 - 1968.

Burke was born in Los Angeles, a distinguished humanitarian; in addition she became a noted administrative educator.

Mrs. Burke enjoyed a full life, giving herself to many civic organizations.

Most notable, included the YWCA, NAACP, Native California Club Winfandel and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her parents came from Kansas to Los Angeles by covered wagon in 1877, settling in what is now North Hollywood where Bessie was born. She graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1911 and attended college at Los Angeles State Normal School (now part of UCLA), graduating 7th in a class of 800.

She earned her teaching credential in 1911, and attended Berendo Elementary School, Polytechnic High School and the Los Angeles State Normal School, now a part of UCLA, where she received her teaching credential.

In 1911, she became the first Black teacher in the Los Angeles public school system.

Holmes Avenue School was fortunate in having her first as a teacher and then in 1918 as Principal.

Mrs. Burke remained in her position for twenty years. From Holmes, she transferred to Nevin Avenue School, which was racially mixed. She then became one of the first Black principals in the state to head a racially integrated student body.

Faye M. Jackson, Journalist, 1902 - 1979, born in Dallas, Texas, Fay Jackson came to Los Angeles at the age of sixteen. After graduating from Polytechnic High School in 1922, Jackson entered USC to study journalism. Eager to start both a career and a family, Jackson never completed her studies, but began to pursue her writing in earnest.

In 1928, she founded Flash; a news magazine dedicated to examining the economic, social and political needs of Black people. Jackson went on to become the first Hollywood correspondent, and one of the first European correspondents for the Associated Negro Press, comprising 216 newspapers.

During her tenure, Jackson covered the coronation of King George VI of England and was the only Black American woman seated in Westminster Abbey during the coronation.

Margaret Johnson Scott, Civic Leader, 1862 - 1969. Scott, known to most as “Aunt Maggie,” was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mrs. Scott spent her early years in Atlanta, Georgia, where she met and married John Scott. The Scotts called Atlanta “home” for the first twelve years of their marriage before moving to the then small town of Los Angeles.

The turn of the century marked the Scott’s first business venture when they erected Scott’s Hall at 5th and Central.

Both John and Margaret Scott were pioneer members of First AME Church, and took active roles in the development of the church.

One of the things Maggie Scott will most be remembered for is the co-founding of the Sojourner Truth Industrial Club in 1904.

Mrs. Scott served the organization for fifty years. A guiding force in the NAACP fundraising drives of the 1920s; Scott raised over ten thousand dollars through “baby contests” she conducted. Maggie Scott lived to be 106 years young. Dr. Ruth J. Temple was the first Black woman physician to practice medicine in this state.

Under her leadership both public and private agencies combined their resources to present lectures, exhibits, films, workshops, health demonstrations and examinations so that every citizen became aware of the importance of good health and how to achieve it.

In 1928, exactly ten years after she received her M.D. degree from Loma Linda University in California, Dr. Temple started her first Health Study club at the 12th Street Branch of the YWCA.

She founded the Community Association Health in the '30s with many of the early meetings being held in her home.

After a period of growth it was incorporated in 1943. Starting in 1945, at the request of the association, the Los Angeles County Supervisors and the mayor of Los Angeles issued an annual proclamation for the celebration of Community Health Week. California governors have followed suit since 1962.

Since that first Health Study Club in 1928, more than 9,000 demonstrations study clubs were formed in city and county schools and countless adult study clubs were organized among all segments of the population including Jewish, Catholic and Protestant religion grounds.

Hundreds of teachers and nurses attended the Basic Health Leadership Training Courses organized by Dr. Temple at the California Hospital, for which salary point credits were granted by the Los Angeles City Board of Education.

A Master's degree in Public Health received from Yale University in 1941 led to Dr. Temple's appointment as District Health Officer with the City Health Department and later as Medical Director of the Southeast Health Center.

In 1946, she was moved downtown to assume the position of Assistant City Health Officer in charge of community organizations and contacts.

After leaving the Health Department in 1962 she served five years as Medical Director for the Southern California Conference of Seven Day Adventists.
From its inception Dr. Temple was the Medical Director of the Community Health Association and remained the mainstay of that organization.

Letters were received by Dr. Temple from countries on every continent in the world asking for information on her health programs.

Also, she was invited to visit several of those countries to give lectures and demonstrations. Three United States Presidents: endorsed Dr. Temple's health programs and commended her for her outstanding achievements in the field of public health education.

Special awards were presented to Dr. Temple by the California Legislature, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles City Council, Los Angeles County Medical Association, California Federation of Women's Clubs, and California Congress of Parents Teachers.

She was also listed in the Who's Who in the West and Who's Important in Medicine in the United States and Canada.

Some years ago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. honored Dr. Temple, commissioning an artist to paint her portrait, which was used as the focal point for their exhibition featuring her total health. Bessie Bruington Burke, Educator, 1891 - 1968

Bessie Burke was born in Los Angeles, a distinguished humanitarian; in addition she became a noted administrative educator. Mrs. Burke enjoyed a full life giving of herself to many civic organizations.

Most notable, these included the YWCA, NAACP, Native California Club Winfandel and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Burke attended Berendo Elementary School, Polytechnic High School and the Los Angeles State Normal School, now a part of UCLA, where she received her teaching credential.

In 1911, she became the first Black teacher in the Los Angeles public school system. Holmes Avenue School was fortunate in having her first as a teacher and then in 1918 as Principal, becoming the first Black principal in Los Angeles.

Mrs. Burke remained in her position for twenty years. From Holmes, she transferred to Nevin Avenue School, which was racially mixed.

She then became one of the first Black principals in the state to head a racially integrated student body.

Faye M. Jackson, Journalist, 1902 - 1979 Born in Dallas, Texas, Fay Jackson came to Los Angeles at the age of sixteen. After graduating from Polytechnic High School in 1922, Jackson entered USC to study journalism.

Eager to start both a career and a family, Jackson never completed her studies but began to pursue her writing in earnest.

In 1928, she founded Flash; a news magazine dedicated to examining the economic, social and political needs of Black people. Jackson went on to become the first Hollywood correspondent, and one of the first European correspondents for the Associated Negro Press, comprising 216 newspapers. During her tenure, Jackson covered the coronation of King George VI of England and was the only Black American woman seated in Westminster Abbey during the coronation.

Margaret Johnson Scott, Civic Leader, 1862 - 1969

Margaret Scott, known to most as “Aunt Maggie,” was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mrs. Scott spent her early years in Atlanta, Georgia, where she met and married John Scott. The Scotts called Atlanta “home” for the first twelve years of their marriage before moving to the then small town of Los Angeles. The turn of the century marked the Scott’s first business venture when they erected Scott’s Hall at 5th and Central. Both John and Margaret Scott were pioneer members of First AME Church, and took active roles in the development of the church.

One of the things Maggie Scott will most be remembered for is the co-founding of the Sojourner Truth Industrial Club in 1904.

Mrs. Scott served the organization for fifty years.

A guiding force in the NAACP fundraising drives of the 1920s; Scott raised over ten thousand dollars through “baby contests” she conducted.

Maggie Scott lived to be 106 years young.

Carol Moseley-Braun, Lawyer and former U.S. Senator, born August 16, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois.

A Chicago native and lifelong resident, Moseley-Braun graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1969 and earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1972. She was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1972 to 1978, when she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.

She served in the statehouse for 10 years, making education reform her priority. From 1988 to 1992 she was Cook County recorder of deeds.

In Sept. 2003, she announced her candidacy for U.S. president but pulled out in Jan. 2004, giving her endorsement to Howard Dean. She was married to Michael Braun from 1973 to 1986 and has one son.

Moseley-Braun made history in 1992 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black woman to do so.

She upset two-term incumbent Alan Dixon in the Democratic primary and went on to defeat Republican candidate Richard Williamson. As a senator, she sponsored several progressive education bills and championed strong gun control laws.

She served on the judiciary, banking, housing and urban affairs, and small business committees.

Her career suffered when it was revealed that she used campaign money to cover personal expenses, helped to loosen legal restrictions to facilitate the sale of two broadcasting companies, and promoted legislation that favored a corporate donor.
She lost her 1998 re-election bid. In 1999 she was confirmed as ambassador to New Zealand.

Category: News


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