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Women's History Month: Home

MC Celebrates Women's History Month

Montgomery College Library celebrates the achievements and contributions of women to all parts of our culture. Every year, March is recognized as National Women's History Month, a time to highlight and advocate women and girls in our community. Use this guide to read, watch, and engage with women's history any time of year. 

Maryland Women's Heritage Trail

Maryland Women's Heritage Trail Map

A map highlighting the Maryland Women's Heritage Trail from the Maryland Women's Heritage Center. View a larger version of the map at the link below. 

Local History Books

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At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.

The capital city of a nation founded on the premise of liberty, nineteenth-century Washington, D.C., was both an entrepot of urban slavery and the target of abolitionist ferment. The growing slave trade and the enactment of Black codes placed the city's Black women within the rigid confines of a social hierarchy ordered by race and gender. At the Threshold of Liberty reveals how these women--enslaved, fugitive, and free--imagined new identities and lives beyond the oppressive restrictions intended to prevent them from ever experiencing liberty, self-respect, and power.

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Colored No More: reinventing black womanhood in Washington, D.C.

Home to established African American institutions and communities, Washington, D.C., offered women in the New Negro movement a unique setting for the fight against racial and gender oppression. Colored No More traces how African American women of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century made significant strides toward making the nation's capital a more equal and dynamic urban center. Treva B. Lindsey presents New Negro womanhood as a multidimensional space that included race women, blues women, mothers, white collar professionals, beauticians, fortune tellers, sex workers, same-gender couples, artists, activists, and innovators. Drawing from these differing but interconnected African American women's spaces, Lindsey excavates a multifaceted urban and cultural history of struggle toward a vision of equality that could emerge and sustain itself. Upward mobility to equal citizenship for African American women encompassed challenging racial, gender, class, and sexuality status quos. Lindsey maps the intersection of these challenges and their place at the core of New Negro womanhood.  

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Latinas Crossing Borders and Building Communities in Greater Washington

After crossing several borders, Latina/o immigrants and their children meet challenges of globalization as they acclimate to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Facing different social and cultural barriers while adapting to this metropolis, most of them meet these challenges by building transnational bridges that connect societies and cultures. These circumstances have offered opportunities for anthropologists and other scholars to work together with community residents in activities that have contributed to cultural knowledge and action. Latinas Crossing Borders and Building Communities in Greater Washington: Applying Anthropology in Multicultural Neighborhoods addresses how Latina/o immigrants use a variety of strategies to meet adaptation challenges. Drawing on ethnographic research and practices, contributors highlight how Latinas and Latinos are building community while reshaping ethnic, gender, and generational identities. They focus on models of collaboration and interaction in community centers, healthcare, the labor market, education, and faith-based communities.

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Women of the Washington Press

Winner, 2012 Frank Luther Mott-Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award Women of the Washington Press argues that for nearly two centuries women journalists have persisted in their efforts to cover politics in the nation's capital in spite of blatant prejudice and restrictive societal attitudes. They have been held back by the difficulties of combining two competing roles - those of women and journalists. As a group they have not agreed among themselves on feminist goals, while declaring that they aspire to be seen as professional journalists, not as advocates of a particular ideology. Still, they have brought a different perspective to the news, as they have fought hard to prove that they are capable of covering political issues just like male journalists. Over the years women have networked with each other and carved out areas of expertise - such as reporting of politically-oriented social events and coverage of first ladies - that men disdained, while they pressed to gain entrance to sex-segregated institutions like the National Press Club. Attempting to merge the personal and the political, they have raised issues like sexual harassment that men journalists left untouched. At a point today where they represent about half of accredited correspondents, women still face shifting barriers that make it difficult to combine the roles of both women and journalists in Washington, but they are continuing to broaden the definition of political journalism.    

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Jim Crow Capital: Women and Black Freedom Struggles in Washington, D.C., 1920–1945

Local policy in the nation's capital has always influenced national politics. During Reconstruction, black Washingtonians were first to exercise their new franchise. But when congressmen abolished local governance in the 1870s, they set the precedent for southern disfranchisement. In the aftermath of this process, memories of voting and citizenship rights inspired a new generation of Washingtonians to restore local government in their city and lay the foundation for black equality across the nation. And women were at the forefront of this effort.

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Maryland Women in the Civil War

On July 9, 1864, young Mamie Tyler crouched in a cellar as Union sharpshooters above traded volleys with Confederate forces. After six excruciating hours, she emerged to nurse the wounded from the Battle of Monocacy. This was life in a border state and the terrifying reality for the women of Maryland. Western Maryland experienced some of the worst carnage of the war, and women turned their homes into hospitals for the wounded of Antietam, South Mountain and Gettysburg. In Baltimore, secessionists such as Hetty Carry fled arrest by Union troops. The Eastern Shore's Anna Ella Carroll plotted military strategy for the Union, and Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Author Claudia Floyd draws on letters and memoirs to chronicle their stories and present a fascinating and nuanced portrait of Maryland women in the Civil War.

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Parlor Politics: in which the ladies of Washington help build a city and a government

When Thomas Jefferson moved his victorious Republican administration into the new capital city in 1801, one of his first acts was to abolish any formal receptions, except on New Year's Day and the Fourth of July. His successful campaign for the presidency had been partially founded on the idea that his Federalist enemies had assumed dangerously aristocratic trappings?a sword for George Washington and a raised dais for Martha when she received people at social occasions?in the first capital cities of New York and Philadelphia. When the ladies of Washington City, determined to have their own salon, arrived en masse at the president's house, Jefferson met them in riding clothes, expressing surprise at their presence. His deep suspicion of any occasion that resembled a European court caused a major problem, however: without the face-to-face relationships and networks of interest created in society, the American experiment in government could not function. Into this conundrum, writes Catherine Allgor, stepped women like Dolley Madison and Louisa Catherine Adams, women of political families who used the unofficial, social sphere to cement the relationships that politics needed to work. Not only did they create a space in which politics was effectively conducted; their efforts legitimated the new republic and the new capital in the eyes of European nations, whose representatives scoffed at the city's few amenities and desolate setting.

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Common Whores, Vertuous Women, and Loveing Wives: free will Christian women in colonial Maryland

Religious conflicts had a pronounced effect on women and their families in early modern England, but our understanding of that impact is limited by the restrictions that prevented the open expression of religious beliefs in the post-Reformation years. More can be gleaned by shifting our focus to the New World, where gender relations and family formations were largely unhampered by the unsettling political and religious climate of England. In Maryland, English Arminian Catholics, Particular Baptists, Presbyterians, Puritans, Quakers, and Roman Catholics lived and worked together for most of the 17th century. By closely examining thousands of wills and other personal documents, as well as early Maryland's material culture, this transatlantic study depicts women's place in society and the ways religious values and social arrangements shaped their lives. Common Whores, Vertuous Women, and Loveing Wives takes a revisionist approach to the study of women and religion in colonial Maryland and adds considerably to our understanding of the social and cultural importance of religion in early America.

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Finding Charity's Folk: enslaved and free black women in Maryland

Finding Charity's Folk highlights the experiences of enslaved Maryland women who negotiated for their own freedom, many of whom have been largely lost to historical records. Based on more than fifteen hundred manumission records and numerous manuscript documents from a diversity of archives, Jessica Millward skillfully brings together African American social and gender history to provide a new means of using biography as a historical genre. Millward opens with a striking discussion about how researching the life of a single enslaved woman, Charity Folks, transforms our understanding of slavery and freedom in Revolutionary America. For African American women such as Folks, freedom, like enslavement, was tied to a bondwoman's reproductive capacities. Their offspring were used to perpetuate the slave economy. Finding loopholes in the law meant that enslaved women could give birth to and raise free children. For Millward, Folks demonstrates the fluidity of the boundaries between slavery and freedom, which was due largely to the gendered space occupied by enslaved women. The gendering of freedom influenced notions of liberty, equality, and race in what became the new nation and had profound implications for African American women's future interactions with the state.

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Gay and Lesbian Washington D. C.

In the identity of gay and lesbian America, Washington, D.C., has a history, perhaps unknown, that begs to be acknowledged. This history ranges from the planner of this new city on the Potomac River to generations of gay women who fought, lobbied, and marched for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Prohibition promoted the rise of underground clubs with back rooms for gays and lesbians to socialize in the 1920s. The history of these clubs and cruise spots reveals the migration of gay neighborhoods across the city, from Georgetown to Lafayette Square to Dupont Circle. In the 1960s and 1970s, gays and lesbians marched with Pride to be recognized. In the 1980s, they covered the Mall with a quilt to finally hear politicians utter the word AIDS. Today, the word is marriage: equal under the law and equal in the heart.

Maryland Historical Trust: Maryland Women's Fight for the Vote

A map highlighting the people and places of the Maryland women's suffrage movement. If you have difficulty viewing the map, click "OK" and exit the pop-up window.

Women's History Month Interviews

Highlights from interviews conducted by the Montgomery County Commission for Women to celebrate Women's History Month in 2023. 

Library Book Displays

Library book display

Germantown Library

Library book display

Rockville Library

Library book display

TP/SS Library

International Women's Day

Event Details

Vagina Monologues

Faculty, students, and staff will be reading the script of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and bringing to life age-old issues surrounding women's bodies.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2024

Time: 3:00 pm

Location: Theater 2, TPSS campus

Registration: Free

Contact: Deborah Taylor or 240-583-0731

Women's History Month Festival

 Come see our newest portraits of Oprah, Beyoncé, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and other inspiring women.

Date: Sunday, March 9, 2024

Time: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm

Location: National Portrait Gallery

Registration: Free

Women's History Month Trivia

Compete for prizes using your knowledge of women in history.

Date: Sunday, March 9, 2024

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: Kensington Park Library

Registration: Free

Screening of Fight Like Hell: The Testimony of Mother Jones

 Film screening and Q & A with writer and performer, Kaiulani Lee. 

Date: Monday, March 18, 2024

Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: Humanities 206, RV campus

Registration: Free

Honoring Women's History Month: Clara Barton

Join us for an interactive live performance and learn about American heroine Clara Barton.

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Time: 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Location: Damascus Library

Registration: Free

More Events and Special Topics Guides

Want to learn more? View our other events and special topics guides:

MC Library Events and Special Topics Guides