Women of Ward 6: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote

The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in 1920. The Ward 6 Democrats are celebrating this 100th anniversary by honoring some of the women who have lived or worked in Ward 6 and who have made significant contributions to better our lives and our community.

Women of Ward 6 is a non-partisan recognition of Ward 6’s women, sponsored by the Ward 6 Democrats, in partnership with the National Woman’s Party, the Capitol Restoration Society and the Hill Rag.

If you’d like to nominate a woman for this honor, send an e-mail to marcihilt@aol.com.

September Women of Ward 6 - Roberta Flack

Women of Ward 6

Roberta Flack

by Marci Hilt

September’s Woman of Ward 6 is Roberta Flack, a singer-songwriter, who got her start at Capitol Hill’s Mr. Henry’s Restaurant. She’s known for her recording of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which actor/director Clint Eastwood featured in the movie “Play Misty for Me.” It became Billboard’s top song of 1972. Other well-known recordings include “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Where is the Love,” and “The Closer I Get to you.”

You can watch video of Flack performing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryplcAxFZUo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpNdMIAnKko

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June Woman of Ward 6 - Diana McLellan

Women of Ward 6

Diana McLellan (1937-2014)

by Marci Hilt

June’s Woman of Ward 6 is Diana McLellan, who was a self-described “jolly pariah” whose Washington gossip column the Ear became a puckish, first-read chronicle of social news and intrigue in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The Women of Ward 6 Initiative by the Ward 6 Democrats is a non-partisan recognition of Ward 6’s women, which honors women who have worked or lived in Ward 6 and who have made significant contributions.

Diana Blanche Dicken was born Sept. 22, 1937, in Leicester, England. Her father was a British military officer who became a defense attaché in Washington in 1957, and she accompanied him to the city. Her first marriage to Robin Bull, ended in divorce. She wed Richard X. McLellan, Jr., a professor of history, in 1963.

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May's Woman of Ward 6 -- Emily Edson Briggs

Emily Edson Briggs (1830-1910)

by Marci Hilt

May’s Woman of Ward 6 is Emily Edson Briggs, who won renown by writing a colorful irreverent newspaper column in the mid to late 1880’s under the pen name Olivia, in which she presented the capital’s political scene as social entertainment.

Briggs was the first, and one of the best known, in a long line of Washington society reporters. She was one of the first women to acquire a national reputation in the field of journalism as a newspaper correspondent in Washington, D.C. Nineteenth century women faced major obstacles in their efforts to break into journalism.

Briggs was given access to the halls of Congress during the mid-1800’s, which allowed her to describe the people and events there, becoming the first society reporter as a social commentator.

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April Women of Ward 6: The Furies Collective House

April’s Women of Ward 6 is the Furies Collective house, a row house at 219 11th Street SE. This house is directly connected with the early expression of the character, role and ideology of the lesbian community as a social and political community in the 1970s. The house became the operational center of The Furies, a lesbian feminist separatist collective, which between 1971 and 1973 led the debate over lesbians’ place in society.

The DC Historic Preservation Review Board designated the house a historic landmark in 2016.

219 11th Street SE

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March Women of Ward 6: Bonny Wolf

March’s Woman of Ward 6 is Bonny Wolf, an accomplished food writer, who lives on Capitol Hill. You may have heard her on NPR’s Weekend Edition or bought a book she’s written. If you’ve lived in the neighborhood for while, you probably already know Wolf. She shops regularly at Eastern Market and is passionate about the Capitol Hill community. She’s won two writing awards from the Association of Food Journalists.

The Ward 6 Democrats are recognizing and honoring Ward 6 women who have made significant contributions to better our community for the 2020 anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

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February's Woman of Ward 6: Sharon Ambrose

February’s Woman of Ward 6 is Sharon Ambrose, a no-nonsense proponent of economic development projects, such as the construction of Nationals Park, when she served as Ward 6’s Councilmember for ten years on the DC Council.

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (1853-1933), A Major Figure in the Women’s Suffrage Movement

January’s Woman of Ward 6 is Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a prominent multi-millionaire American socialite and a major figure in the American women’s suffrage movement. She was one of the founders of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) and helped gain support for the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Ward 6 is named for Belmont and Alice Paul, another key figure in the fight for women’s voting rights.

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Ruth Rappaport (1923-2010)

November’s Woman of Ward 6 is Ruth Rappaport, a Capitol Hill resident who had a remarkable life and career as a librarian. Rapport’s life spanned her childhood in Germany where she was a witness to the devastation of Kristallnacht and a Leipzig book burning to her death in 2010, after retiring from the Library of Congress in the early 1990s.

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Veola M. Jackson (1932-1991)

October’s Woman of Ward 6 is Veola M. Jackson, a dynamic educator who was the first principal of the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools (Peabody, Watkins, and Stewart-Hobson). She changed Capitol Hill by not only giving parents the option of putting their children in public school, but by making those schools representative of the diversity of the population of Capitol Hill.
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