COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Students in the Women in American History class completed their mission to research politically-active women from The W, whose work in politics pushed boundaries and helped open doors for those who came after them, and share their stories with the public.

Students created a poster exhibit, which can be seen in Fant Library to the left of the front entrance. They selected Dorothy Bush, Lenore Prather, Esther Harrison and Sally Doty to be recognized for their successful careers in politics and public service.

After spending time researching in the library, online, and in the MUW Archives, students wrote essays about the women and then transformed those essays into posters. Each poster explains the background and education of one of the women, as well as the significance of their career.

For example, Dorothy Bush, a W alum from the 1930s, was selected by students because she served as the secretary of the Democratic National Committee from 1944-1988. She was only 27 years old when got the position, making her the first woman and the youngest person ever to serve in the role. Her work in that position was entirely unpaid and she worked every presidential convention (12 in all) and maintained the records of the party for 44 years. She died in 1991 and donated her papers to the MUW Archives.

Dr. Erin Kempker explained that “students really seemed to enjoy digging through the archival photos and newspaper clippings about the women selected. And in studying these individual women’s experiences, the class learned much about the difficulties politically-minded women have had in making headway in the parties.” The overall purpose of the project is to recognize the important contributions MUW alumni have made in both local, state and national politics.

“It was a really great experience,” Colin Damms said, a student researcher working on the project. “We had quite a few alumni to choose from, but we felt these were the right choices to teach others about the dynamic leaders that have come through this university.”

Jan. 4, 2017