Influential Women of Yellow Springs, Spring, 2019

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A s p e c i a l p u b l i c at i o n by the y e l lo w s p r i n g s h i g h s c h o o l 1 0 t h g r a d e h i s to r y c l a s s , with a s s i s ta n c e from the Y e l lo w S p r i n g s N e w s

The banners are mounted along Xenia Avenue downtown through April 30, 2019.

Some of the banners depicting influential women of Yellow Springs.

I N f Lu e n t i a l

Women of Yellow Springs “

I n f lu e n t i a l wo m e n in Yellow Springs are often ­ignored or downgraded because their accomplishments are not seen as as impactful as those who are more famous. These women are so important, not only to our small town, but to the state and country, and if we do not give them the space to grow and impact others, their precious gifts and abilities may continue to be thrown into shadow and neglect.” —Yellow Springs High School sophomore Natalie Galarza In October, 2018, 59 students set out on a project for YSHS teacher Kevin Lydy’s United States History class to document influential women of Yellow Springs. The project focused on local women who might have been overlooked or underappreciated, and timed to coincide with Women’s History Month in March 2019. One of the goals was to see how Yellow Springs fits into the larger narrative of U.S. history. The project included the design of banners to hang in downtown Yellow Springs, as well as this publication detailing the lives and accomplishments of these ­incredible women. First, the Yellow Springs community at large was asked to

submit names of women for students to consider researching. The resulting impressive list of 142 women or women’s organizations gave students a wide range of subjects to choose from. They then gathered stories, memories, pictures and other information on their subjects through in-person interviews, the Yellow Springs News archives and other resources. With a partner, students wrote a short essay about each woman’s accomplishments, and how her story connected with other narratives of women throughout American history. With the help of Jay DeFazio from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, students edited photos, which were turned into the banners that will be displayed through the end of April on lamp posts lining Xenia Avenue and Dayton Street in downtown Yellow Springs. The Yellow Springs News helped edit and design this publication to share the women’s stories far beyond school grounds, thanks in large part to a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation. We hope this gives these women a small amount of recognition. We are so grateful for their contributions. — Kevin Lydy and his 10th grade U.S. history class

T h i s s u p p l e m e n t contains a selection of profiles written by the class. To read the remaining articles about women such as Cindy Blackman, Peg Champney, Pam Conine,

Laurie Dreamspinner, Geneva Gudgel, Virginia Hamilton, Naomi McKee, Yvonne Seon and Hazel Tulecke, visit

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others for their activism. To hang a banner of a woman who helped Yellow Springs in the search for equality would allow us to further Newman’s message to improve this town.

Isabel Newman

YS N e ws archi v e s

by Liam Hackett

Isabel Newman was an activist who accomplished many things in the town of Yellow Springs. She strived for an African American teacher in our schools, encouraged African Americans to register to vote and worked for the recognition of African Americans. Newman has lived in Yellow Springs all of her life. She was born here in the 1920s, and attended school until she graduated high school. She then proceeded to get a job at the Antioch Bookplate Company, a company that created bookplates, which are plates that are put on the front page of a book to signify who owns them. She was then sent to New York by her boss, Ernest Morgan, to learn how to use a Linotype machine, a type of printing machine. When Newman came back to Yellow Springs, she began to type on the Linotype machine for the Yellow Springs News. Later, Newman advanced to become a manager at the Antioch Bookplate Company. During her time in school, Newman was greatly influenced by her father, an avid civil rights protester. Throughout her life, Newman constantly fought for civil rights and pushed forward new ideas. She participated in many protests such as those at the Gegner Barbershop and Little Art Theatre, both of which had to do with desegregating businesses in town. Newman held meetings in her house to encourage African Americans to register to vote. Newman organized activists in secret to allow Yellow Springs to have the first teacher of a different race. She did this, and many other things, so that African Americans could have a more equal voice. Even as a child, Newman pushed civil rights forward. In an interview, she said that she used to refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance because the flag didn’t honor African Americans, so she did not see why she should honor it. Most recently, she has worked on an encyclopedia for Yellow Springs that includes the accomplishments of multiple African Americans and their influence on the village. Newman has long pursued the path of civil rights and sought recognition from

There are several aspects of U.S. history that connect to Isabel Newman’s work. The first is the effect World War II had on women. When men went off to fight in the war, their absence opened the way for women to get more jobs in industry. Newman said that not only did WWII allow women to get better jobs, the war also made it possible for African Americans to get better jobs. Second is the progression of women towards more leadership roles; specifically Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American female member of Congress who, in 1969, gave a speech about how we need more women in leadership. Newman also rose to a management position at the Antioch Bookplate Company, which demonstrates her connection to women in the kind of leadership roles that Chisholm called for. The third, and most important way that Newman connects is through the Civil Rights Movement. While it may seem like Yellow Springs is just a small liberal town, its history reveals parallels between the fight for equality here and the greater African American Civil Rights Movement. “I was a small Martin Luther King, [Jr.],” Newman said, “before there was a Martin Luther King, [Jr.].” Looking at the life of Isabel Newman and U.S. history shows how a small town activist was part of a bigger movement, and demonstrates the importance of people like Isabel Newman.

—Galen Sieck


Xarifa Bean by IAn Sherk

YS N ews a rch i v e s

Ac t i v i st—

“If young people in small communities can see examples of small owner-managed enterprises … it will influence the level of self-reliance, resourcefulness, initiative and inventiveness of the people of these communities.” — X a r i fa B e a n

Xarifa Sallume Bean, originally known as Zareepha Louise Sallume, was born on

October 3, 1909 in Salem, Ohio, to Louise and Shibly Sallume. Her name comes from her father’s sister. Her father grew up in Syria, while her mother grew up in America’s farmbelt. According to a 1995 interview with Bean in the Yellow Springs News, her parents divorced when she was two years old due to differing opinions on the role of a woman in the household, so she and her brother grew up with her mother and her family in Michigan. Bean moved to Yellow Springs in 1926 to attend Antioch College. Her first major was in fine art, but she graduated from Antioch with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. The day after graduating, she married Morris Bean. During the first year of her marriage, Xarifa Bean worked in New York conducting statistical studies of population trends, and used part of her income to provide her brother with an education. In 1935, Bean and her husband were provided a small research grant by Goodyear Tire and Rubber, and developed a new process for making tire molds and aluminum castings. During her time in New York, she witnessed the fallout of the stock market crash which she said forced her to “reflect on my fortune and misfortune. I learned directly for the first time about jolting unemployment, vulnerability of established institutions, speculation and risk, artificial and real values.” Preceding World War II, the Antioch Foundry was owned by General Motors, which also built the building that now houses the Antioch Theatre. Bean started work at the foundry, producing patterns for the castings, but was soon promoted to the Technical Director of the foundry, a job that she held for 39 years. Before and during WWII, the foundry produced parts used in the Allison engines that were used to power many fighter planes. She worked to make the engines safer, more reliable and less prone to cracking and fatigue. The company was awarded the Army–Navy “E for Excellence” award for its wartime work. In 1946, Bean and her husband, along with a group of business partners, purchased the Foundry from GM. Her husband, Morris Bean, was named as the company’s president, and the business became Morris Bean & Company. In 1952, she was recognized by Antioch College and received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree. During the 1950s and 1960s, Bean, among many other things, helped produce castings for atomic energy diffusion plants, which were used in Tennessee and Ohio, and provided power to thousands of people. In 1970, Bean’s husband passed away. She took his place in the company as the President and CEO. In 1977, she stepped down from her position and became the Chairman of the Board, a job she held until 1985. During her 39 years as the Technical Director of the company, she held six patents, some of which are still in use around the globe. She also served on many boards, such as the Miami Deposit

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Bank, the Advisory Board of Dartmouth Institute and Antioch University. In 1982 she received the Salute to Career Women Award and in 1992 she was inducted into the Foundry Management and Technology Hall of Honor. She remained active in the company as a board member, consultant and problem solver up until her death in 2001. In her free time she enjoyed painting, drawing, traveling, needlework, gardening and spending time with her grandchildren. Xarifa Bean contributed a great deal to our society. She was a strong woman who worked hard to get ahead in life, all while raising five children. She was known as a person of “integrity, community commitment, high professional standards and basic family values,” according to her obituary in the Xenia Gazette, and wanted to be a role model for women and young people around the country. While it is hard to measure the impact of all of her good deeds and innovations on our society, she impacted many lives and truly made the world a better place for everyone and those around her. In 1920, 11 years before Bean began to work, the 19th amendment was adopted. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, serving as an enormous landmark in terms of equality. At this time in history, the number of women in the workforce was slim to none. The rise in women in the workforce began in the late 1930s. While men were fighting alongside them in World War II, women primarily worked as nurses on the battlefield or in factories back home. Bean did not concede to the common attitude towards working. She was independent. She was tough. She refused to be less than men. Xarifa Bean was a strong woman of Yellow Springs.

—Emma Ronnebaum

s p i r i t u a l e d u c ator —

Linden Qualls

A ri el l e J o h n so n

by Arielle Johnson

What kind of woman does it take to provide a safe space for children in Yellow Springs, so they may grow into upright and peaceful leaders for generations to come? The answer: a woman of dedication who has been teaching for 30 years

based on the principles of the Bahá’í religion, and whose passion is helping children retain and acquire their inner virtues. After knowing Linden Qualls personally, as one of her former students and interviewing her for this article, I can think of few other women who have impacted our village in such a positive way. Growing up, Qualls felt a strong influence from her parents, world travelers who loved diversity and cared deeply about social issues. Her father became the assistant vice president of Illinois Bell Telephone Company, where his job was to start integrating the company. For this, he was loved deeply by the AfricanAmerican community, but also had a lot of pushback and pressure from some of the other Caucasian workers. Growing up, she was constantly surrounded by art and different cultures. Qualls’ parents often presented slideshows and brought people from other places around the world to their home. This is the reason she has always been so attracted to diversity and the concept of “The Oneness of Humanity.” For Qualls, this means bringing together all races and religions to bring peace and freedom to the world. Middle school and high school were some of the roughest times for Qualls. Never having any long-lasting female friends, coupled with having body insecurities, she fell into a depression. Even though her parents had money and she always had a boyfriend, she knew something was missing. The materialistic lifestyle she was living was lacking something that she felt she desperately needed, something transcendental. Society often tells us that if you have money and you have somebody, you’re set for life. But for Qualls, high school became unbearable. She ended up using drugs and had a couple brushes with overdoses before realizing that this was not the way to seek happiness. It was at college that Qualls started to find her religious calling. She ended up taking a world religions course, as well as philosophy courses. From then on, “my life’s mission [has been] to promote the concepts of the oneness of humanity,” she said. At first she thought that the teachings of the Bahá’í religion were a bit idealistic and was slightly skeptical, having been raised in an athiest household. After researching and learning more about the fundamental principles, she decided to take the plunge and begin her new lifestyle. Eventually, Qualls was offered an assistant teacher job alongside a highly beloved teacher in the Bahá’í community. She took the offer and loved teaching children. “From then on I started my own class and haven’t stopped since,” she said. When asked about retirement, Qualls laughed. She said that she could not imagine retirement. “I can’t picture myself not working until I am physically incapable of doing so,” she said. Her perseverance and constant need to serve has

deeply influenced the children she has taught for over 30 years. As one of her former students, I can say that she has changed and inspired a lot of people to live life for the better. Her websites are used worldwide, including game and drama exercises to help spiritually educate younger generations. Qualls was approached to make her games and drama exercises into a book and sell it, but she refused because she really wanted anybody to have access to that knowledge. One of her daughters has told her that her website may be one of Qualls’ most important legacies. Qualls says that she wants to give her students an alternative to all the heavy societal pressures so they feel like they can really make a difference for humanity. Linden Qualls has provided a safe space for children to share their thoughts and feelings. She has provided spiritual education about unity and diversity, helping children understand that their differences are what can allow them to provide their own unique contributions to their communities. She has never stopped giving to people around her, and has helped many find a sense of individualism. This woman has been an inspiration to many, and a giver to all. C i v i l r i g h ts Ac t i v i st—

Coretta Scott King by Ivan Spar

U. S. L i b ra ry o f Cong re ss

Yellow Springs High School

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.” — Cor etta S cott K i ng .

Noted as one of the most influential women leaders to have ever lived, Coretta Scott King dedicated her life to social justice and civil rights. She traveled across the nation and internationally, speaking on behalf of economic and racial justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian pride, education and much more. She proved her dedication over the years, leading many goodwill missions, and creating international programs centered on spreading Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message. Scott King’s life began in Marion, Ala., where she graduated as valedictorian


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Coretta Scott King’s fight for women’s rights connects back to Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Women?” speech from 1851. The speech argues that all women should be recognized to have equal rights. It pointed out how, in the movement for women’s rights, black women weren’t really included. The speech highlights how there were so many more white women involved than anyone else. Another event in U.S. history that connects to what Scott King fought for is the 1977 National Women’s Conference. The Women’s Conference brought together supporters of, and opponents to, such issues as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), sexual preference, abortion and equal pay. These

known. She is a voice for female individualism and musical diversity, which is why she deserves a banner on Xenia Avenue.

women came together and voted on these issues, submitting a National Plan of Action to Congress and the President. Scott King attended and spoke during the Women’s Conference in support of affirmative action.

Cr e d i t u n i o n C . o . o

Betty Garnet Hairston

—Priscilla Hadap

by Sam Lewis


Tucki Bailey

Tucki Bailey was born and raised in California, and through her young adult life, she moved to Yellow Springs and back to California two times before settling in Yellow Springs, where she resides today. She fell in love with music at a young age, and learned to play multiple instruments in her teens. By the age of fifteen, she was playing gigs with her music teacher in small bars and restaurants, and lying about her age so they would let her in. She went to college and, after finding nothing that interested her, she dropped out to pursue her music career full time. Since then, she has gone back to college six times before getting her degree at a community college. Despite not having a full time job and a consistent income, Bailey performed and composed, and eventually put together a band called the Vagabonds. She now has a daughter and is a music teacher, inspiring the youth around her to pursue music. even if the odds are against them. Bailey is a firm believer in feminism. When we spoke, she talked about how band covers are dominated by men. She said that instrumentalists are mostly men, and if a women is part of a band, she is usually the singer. Bailey says this is why she enjoys teaching and performing with her band — she wants to inspire anyone to be a musician. She spoke of composing music for the Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse productions and her love for the Dayton Jazz Festival. She headlined as a performer in the Dayton Jazz Festival for over 19 years, an inspiring influence for aspiring young musicians. She is a musical inspiration to many, pushing her students and peers to perform and share their music. With the knowledge that music brings people together, she feels it is important for more female musicians to make themselves

‘ Wom en o f Gr e ene County’

by Natalie Galarza

M atthe w Coll ins / YS N e ws archiv e s

at Lincoln Normal School. In 1945, she became the second student of color to attend Antioch College after her sister, who had enrolled just two years earlier. Although she left in 1949, Scott King was eventually honored with the bachelor’s degree she would have received in 1951. After departing Antioch, she earned a fellowship at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she met her soon-to-be husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. The couple got married in 1953 and moved to Montgomery, Ala., in September 1954. Scott King’s time was devoted to both her four children and her work for the Civil Rights Movement. She performed many Freedom Concerts that raised significant funds for Dr. King’s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. After her husband’s assassination, Scott King devoted her time and effort in keeping up his legacy. She worked on creating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change as a living memorial to Dr. King’s life. Scott King led goodwill missions to numerous countries, and provided local, national and international programs to thousands of people to teach them the philosophies and methods of Martin Luther King, Jr. Scott King said many times that her time at Antioch College here in Yellow Springs played a focal role in her life. In her manuscript, “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr,” she wrote, “sometimes I am asked what I think Antioch did for me. It did a great deal beyond the fine education I received.” In 1982, she received the Horace Mann Award from the Antioch Alumni Association for her determination to promote nonviolent social change. In 2005, she allowed use of her name for the Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom, whose mission is to facilitate learning, dialogue and action to advance social justice. Scott King deserves to be commemorated with a banner for her achievements and her dedication towards improving not just our society, but our world. She made it her mission to be a voice for the voiceless and stand up for those who needed it most. Coretta Scott King isn’t just a role model for women, but for everyone.

Betty Garnet Hairtson is a selfless, hardworking womon who has done countless good deeds for her community, and has helped numerous people. She’s done many things for the community, ranging from helping out at her church, The First Baptist Church, to assisting older residents of Yellow Springs at the Senior Center with managing their finances and recordkeeping, to spearheading a project to help the victims of Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina. Hairtson settled in Yellow Springs in 1963 because her husband’s job was nearby, and she has been a rock in this community ever since. She attended Antioch College, but didn’t finish her education due to the birth of her daughter, Michelle. She ended up receiving a part time position at the Yellow Springs Federal Credit Union, and intended to return to school to become a teacher once her daughter grew older. She never returned to school; instead, she stayed on at the credit union. Working at the credit union, Hairston obtained a job in a field which, in her time (1969) — and still to this day — is male dominated. But she prevailed. She held a position at the Credit Union for 29 years and worked at different jobs, including being a teller, a manager and the Chief Operating Officer. Over the years, Hairtson helped out when workers at the Morris Bean Company, who were members of the credit union, went on strike; and when many workers from Vernay Laboratories were being laid off, and loans were extended to help workers survive. Hairtson has remarked that big role models in her life include her mother, who taught her very valuable life lessons and how to live as a good person; and her manager before she was promoted to a manager herself. This manager, Henry Dyer, helped teach her managerial skills and how to deal with people, people who

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Yellow Springs High School

would come to the credit union to talk, not about money, but about life and to seek advice. She has said that she has laughed, cried and learned valuable lessons from talks she’s had with the credit union’s patrons, and is trusted to keep their conversations confidential. “When people trust you, it makes you feel good,” she said. Hairston deserves to be memorialized in this community. She’s helped many people in many ways, and is a hardworking woman who puts others before herself.

magazines in the country. It is pretty clear that Jane Baker has made an impact on Yellow Springs in a time when that was highly difficult for women.

Toshiko Asakawa by Jason Lansing


Donna Denman

Jane Baker

C arl a S t e ig e r / YS N e ws archiv es

by Quentin Cole

“If you educate a man; you educate a man. If you educate a woman; you educate a generation.” — B r i gha m Young

In 1934 in Idaho Falls, an influential woman, Donna Denman, came to be. She was raised in a single parent home with her mom after her parents divorced. After college, Denman moved to Yellow Springs with her husband Al, and their four children. Denman went to Boston University for her undergraduate degree in social and applied economics. When she got her master’s degree, she took an internship at the Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority. The internship turned into a full-time job, and after a few great years, she became the director of the organization. When she retired, she became very active in Yellow Springs, contributing to different organizations such as Yellow Springs Home, Inc., the League of Women Voters and the Dharma Center, which she helped to found. In her youth, Denman was active in the Presbyterian Church, and when her parents divorced, she made a promise to herself and God that she would live her life to serve others. She kept with that promise throughout her life. God is Denman’s biggest influence. Denman received the Community Peacemaker Award in 2017, and created the Al and Donna Denman New Generations Scholarship at Antioch College, which is awarded to students who might not otherwise be able to afford college. Without Denman’s dedicated work in the fields of affordable housing, higher education and spirituality, there are people who might not be able to live in Yellow Springs, some students wouldn’t be able to go to college and others wouldn’t have a place to practice their religion.

Cou rt e sy o f Ste v e Asak awa

Dyla n Taylo r - Lehma n / YS N e ws archiv e s

by Shaylee Smith

independent erudite—

Jane Baker was a powerful woman when that attribute was rarely seen in the public sphere. Mother, musician, publisher and overall inspiration for women of that time, Baker played a powerful role by just being herself in a world where the odds were stacked against her. She was a clear individual, not conforming to any societal norms that were pressed upon her, and that’s what set her apart. Baker was born in The Hague, Netherlands in 1934 to an English mother and a Dutch father. In 1939, Baker moved to Elizabeth, N.J., growing up speaking both Dutch and English. When she was of age, she attended college, majoring in English. Baker did not graduate, and by some turn of events, found herself married and living in Dayton. She had two children, and later divorced her husband. After that, Baker decided to move to Yellow Springs, and picked up a job at Wright State as publications officer. There, she met her second husband, Bill Baker, and after a few years, quit her job at Wright State and began a life of freelance editing and book design. In the years that followed, Baker obtained a master’s degree in history from Wright State, and later opened Wild Goose Press, a freelance independent publishing organization. Using this platform, Baker published many books from local authors, including those for the Yellow Springs Historical Society. She also has done copyediting and layout for the Antioch Review, a magazine at Antioch College, renowned as one of the oldest continuously published literary

S u r v i v or / p h i l a n t h ro p i s t —

One might think that living in an internment camp might mean a diminished chance to make significant contributions to society. That wasn’t the case for Toshiko Asakawa. In 1945, Asakawa and her husband, George Asakawa, were released after being held in an internment camp for Japanese Americans in Arizona at the end of World War II. Toshiko was 26 when she and George became Yellow Springs residents. The Asakawas eventually became business owners after George became Chairman of the Board at Vernay Laboratories. Because of this, they also were able to make many contributions to Yellow Springs such as providing numerous scholarships to high school graduates. Asakawa has been a very giving member of Yellow Springs. Over the course of her 67 years in the village, she was consistently trying to make it a better place. Some of the many things Toshiko and her husband have provided include helping with the planning, funding and construction of Friends Care Center and the Glen Helen Building, in addition to funding small businesses around town. These accomplishments, combined with the tragic events of her past, could truly be looked at as a success story. Women of all ages could draw inspiration from such a generous woman. Asakawa deserves a banner on Xenia Avenue because of the extreme generosity that she exhibited throughout her time in Yellow Springs. Her story is not one that should be overlooked by the community. Calling attention to past hardships of women such as Toshiko Asakawa, their effects on Yellow Springs, and the ways in which Yellow Springs affected them should be cherished.


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E n tr e p r e n e u r —

W W II P e r f or m e r s —

by Chanel Phillips

by Samantha Snyder

The Victorettes

Maxine Jones was a beautiful, accomplished mother and wife who made a big impact on the Yellow Springs community. She owned many establishments and for a woman in those times, much less a black woman, that was a big accomplishment that inspired many people. Maxine Ophelia Jones was born in Yellow Springs on December 7, 1926. Her family has lived in Yellow Springs for seven generations. Her grandfather bought his first property in the area only 18 years out of slavery. He never learned how to read or write and could only sign his name with an “X.” Jones attended Bryan High School in Yellow Springs and, after high school, she got a job at Antioch College and went to school there. Jones was a very successful woman in the Yellow Springs community. Jones had three establishments of her own here: The Party Pantry carryout (known as Jake’s Place); The MaJaGa, which was named after Jones and her two daughters Jalyn and Gayla; and the Pizza King restaurant, where she and her husband became the first black franchise owners of a Cassano’s Pizza. She also owned and operated two establishments in Nassau, Bahamas. Jones died May 2, 2015. She did many amazing things in her life, and influenced many people during her time. She deserves a banner because she influenced so many people and did so many great things.

Subm itte d photo

cou rt e sy o f ja lyn ro e

Maxine Jones

How would you feel if you were a woman during World War II and you wanted to help your country in a big way, but it was not accepted to step in and fight for it? A small group of 17 influential Yellow Springs women called the Victorettes found their own way to help their country, without stepping in and physically fighting on the frontlines. The Victorettes were group of AfricanAmerican women who in the 1940s, during WWII, traveled different places to sing and raise money for the war and troops. The Victorettes group started in 1944, when a woman named Dorothy Perry Boyce graduated from Wilberforce University and wanted to help her country as well as her husband, who was drafted for the war. Boyce gathered some women she grew up with in town, who were then in their teens and early twenties to see if her idea would spark any interest. The women liked her idea and formed a singing group with the “V” in their name standing for Victory. Today, they remind us of all the underdogs in the world who can help make a difference. Between 1944 and 1946, the Victorettes’ main accomplishment was traveling to different places in the Dayton area to perform their songs to encourage people to help out with the war and donate money for war bonds. The Victorettes also organized fundraisers to raise money for the war such as a dance at the Glen Pavilion, plays, picnics and sending Christmas cards to troops. On their travels, they even sang for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she was visiting the area. The Victorettes were a sensational group of women. They inspired many people in Yellow Springs as well as people in other parts of the U.S. by contributing what they could. During that time, there was still a lot of discrimination against African-American women, but these women stepped up and came up with a job that could help. They pushed

through barriers of discrimination and had a fun time while doing it. Not many small groups of people like this are recognized, which is why this group deserves a banner in Yellow Springs. Putting up a banner of the Victorettes will help show our appreciation. During the 1930s, a war broke out between 30 countries. Here in the United States, men signed up and were drafted into the war. Husbands, brothers, sons, and fathers were taken from their families to fight on the front lines of war. Many white women were called to continue mens’ jobs, like manufacturing plane parts, controlling machines, and taking care of local businesses. Yet AfricanAmerican women were seen as even less important at this time. Despite the obstacles, the Victorettes found their own way to contribute to the war. Their efforts were recognized by the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who heard them sing while she was in the area. Like many African American women during this time, The Victorettes wanted to help. The way they showed their support was through music, singing songs about God. The Victorettes were a big part of Yellow Springs’ contribution to the war effort. In a time when the efforts of African Americans were seldom welcomed in society, they overcame.

—Dakota Pollard Kern

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Yellow Springs High School

of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Orimo has proven that she is more than capable of making works both deeply personal and widely understood. Already having many accomplishments in her life, Orimo continues to stride forward with her works to make a difference.

M egan Bachm an / YS Ne ws arch iv es

by Griffin Roberts

Migiwa Orimo is an artist residing in Yellow Springs whose works are displayed in museums nationwide. Orimo was born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan, and grew up during Japan’s economic boom of the 1970s. Attending college in Japan, Orimo majored in Japanese literature and then studied graphic design, after which she travelled abroad for two years. After travelling abroad, Orimo mainly stayed in Ohio, creating a majority of her works here. Her art spans from very personal works to works in response to contemporary issues in the U.S., or even both simultaneously. Some of Orimo’s most influential works are her protest banners. She began creating protest art in the 1990s, as part of an effort by many villagers to save farmland surrounding Yellow Springs from being developed. “I realized how powerful and effective it is to have big banners or big, large signs,” said Orimo in reference to this event and how it had affected her. In October 2018, she worked with 8th graders at McKinney Middle School on their Race and Revolution project. She has also created banners in support of national movements such as Still They Persist and Black Lives Matter. Her works can often be seen at the forefront of these movements, becoming synonymous with the movements themselves. Orimo’s works are nationally renowned, with many, both protest and non-protest, in museums across the country. Throughout her career, Orimo has made, and continues to make, art in response to contemporary issues, as well as her own, personal art. While her protest banners are some of her most notable and influential works, she has done far more in her career. Many of Orimo’s works can be accessed through her portfolio on her website, and many others can be seen in museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the San Bernardino Museum, and locally at the Dayton Art Institute, Springfield Art Museum and Ohio State University’s Urban Arts Space. Recently, Orimo has exhibited artwork at Antioch College’s Herndon Gallery on the topic

Sarah Dickens by Anna Millar

c o m m u n i t y ac t i v i st—

Aurelia Blake

Gary M cB r id e / YS Ne ws archi v es

Migiwa Orimo

P u b l i c M u ra l i s t —

by Sam Foster

Aud r ey H Ack e tt / YS N e ws archiv es

A Rt i st/ac t i v i st—

Aurelia Blake was a teacher who taught language arts at McKinney Middle School for 16 years and retired in 2016. Today, she works with youth as a member of the Baha’í community, works with the Martin Luther King celebration committee, conducts the “Youth Right” competition and coaches the McKinney Power of the Pen creative writing team. She has impacted the lives of many youths. One way she has helped the community of Yellow Springs was to show all kinds of students the power of written expression, whether it was through writing poetry, short essays, or short stories. She has always tried to take learning outside of the classroom. She even took the power of writing to students and teachers in Rwanda, Africa. Her students describe her as a strict, but fair, teacher. She always showed the importance of self-discipline, respect and kindness in the classroom. Although she was in the military for 26 years, she believes that education changes the world, not the military. Exposure to a whole new world of thinking can change the world. She explains, “war cannot change the world and people’s thinking, but knowledge can change hearts, and therefore the world.” Blake believes in the oneness of humanity, and as a result of her beliefs, she continues to travel, meet people from all over the world and teach. Blake is an activist in the community, helping to make learning a creative activity in and out of school. She makes every student her focus, whether she meets students on the weekends or after school. She deserves a banner recognizing her efforts as a teacher and an individual dedicated to teaching unity and written communication.

Sarah Dickens, an award-winning artist, is known for creating beautiful pieces of public art around the country. She is locally known for her murals in Keith’s Alley. As the only child of Betty and Donald Dickens, she had plenty of time to perfect her art. She is a very imaginative person, who tries to incorporate world affairs and human nature into her work. This is a huge part of how her pieces have emotional impact on people in the community, and those who view her art. As a child, Dickens was very interested in how the world works and why things happen the way they do. She studied different groups of indigenous peoples and different world affairs as a way to better her art. Her pieces can be viewed along the walls of Keith’s Alley in downtown Yellow Springs as well as in Colorado and Hawaii. All of her pieces are incredibly beautiful, which is an accomplishment in and of itself, but perhaps the most remarkable of her accomplishments was winning the Mayor’s Award in Denver. This was not an easy feat and continues to demonstrate her great skill. Dickens not only had to put in years of work to acquire her amazing skill, but also had to work her way up through the glass ceiling. Although sometimes art is considered more of a “woman’s skill,” most famous artists are men because it is harder for women to gain that kind of recognition in the world. Not only does Dickens deserve a banner for her beautiful pieces around town, she also deserves recognition for the effort she has put in to get where she is today.


8    Yellow Springs High School

I NFLUENT I AL WOMEN o f Y ELLOW S P R I N G S  | March 2019

Julia Reichert

YS N e ws archi v e s

by Kayla Ross

Kay Hollister


Activist, filmmaker, award-winner and three-time Oscar nominee, Yellow Springs’ Julia Reichert continues to create and inspire. Reichert, a 1977 Antioch College graduate, spoke out on women’s issues during the 1960s and 1970s, and decided to do more to draw attention to the cause. Her film, “Growing Up Female” (1971), the first film documenting the modern women’s liberation movement, was selected in 2011 for preservation by the National Film Registry for its cultural and historical value. Through her films, Reichert places a focus on giving a voice to women and working people, expanding the understanding of our shared human experience. Her work has been viewed across the globe, and this year, she will be awarded the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award. Reichert has a 30-year career writing, directing and producing films. At Wright State University, Reichert was a professor of motion pictures. Her films have been screened nationally on PBS, HBO and at the Telluride Film Festival. Reichert’s film career led to her receiving many awards such as a Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filming, and recently, for best short film at the SilverDocs Film Festival. Co-founder of New Day Films, a social issues documentary film distribution cooperative, Reichert continues to inspire as a member of the advisory board of the Independent Features Project, and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Reichert, though, says her rewards come through her filmmaking. “I have the opportunity to learn about all these different worlds, to be immersed in them,” she told the Yellow Springs News. “It’s like a passport, opening doors. It’s all so challenging and so enriching.” Reichert’s groundbreaking work helped pave the way for women in the motion pictures field. When Reichert began her work on films, there were not many women involved in a nearly all-male filmmaking industry. Only men were considered significant in the work being done, and films were all told from the

male experience. Reichert helped change all of that by giving a voice to the female perspective. Her award-winning films also delivered a message, making an impact on many people’s lives. She helped prove that women belong in the film industry and that they deserve better pay and better treatment, just like the men receive. Along the way, Reichert became a mother, and then a grandmother. She and her daughter are both cancer survivors. Unfortunately, her cancer has recently returned after years of remission. Through her own struggle with the disease, she discovered anyone can become a cancer expert and believes that self-study and research of one’s own situation is important to help guide people in their recovery and treatment along with their doctor. It may be the best way to survive, she says. 2019 is turning out to be another “banner” year for Reichert. She and partner Steve Bognars’ latest film, “American Factory,” was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January, winning the “Directing Award: U.S. Documentary.” Later this year, the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Reichert’s films. The awarding of a banner for Reichert on Xenia Avenue during Women’s History Month is an appropriate honor for a woman who continues to be an example to all women — and men — of how everyone can take control of his or her own challenges to progress and succeed.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, who was an activist in the Women’s Rights Movement, Hollister joined the local League of Women Voters, where she served as a chapter president for three years and was part of the League for over 60 years. Hollister was, and is, a strong role model to young girls and women of all ages by following her mother’s activism in women’s rights and giving us a strong woman to look up to today. It was not until the 1920s that women were allowed to vote, courtesy of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For decades, many women around the country fought for this right and, coming together, made it happen. Hollister later strengthened the franchise with her work for the League. Hollister brought her strength and passion to bear on the local community of Yellow Springs, where small actions can make a difference. E d i tor i a l Sta f f : Mr. Lydy,

Abigail Flanagan, Natalie Galarza, Anna Millar, Joseph Minde-Berman, Griffin Roberts, Shaylee Smith, Megan Bachman (Yellow Springs News)

Pro d u c t i o n & D e s i g n :

Matt Minde (Yellow Springs News)

W e w i s h to t h a n k

the following people who helped throughout this project: Jay DeFazio, Florence Randolph, Lisa Kreeger; Carol Simmons, Gary McBride, Anne Day (Yellow Springs News), Megan Garrison, Audrey Starr, Noeleen McIlvenna, Scott Sanders and Pam Conine,

q ua k e r /ac t i v i st—

Kay Hollister by Aryn VanAusdal

So u r c e s : Many interviews with

Courte sy o f don holl i ste r


Katherine (Kay) Hollister, was born in Chicago on April 15, 1914. Hollister graduated from Antioch College and then received her MA in education from Northwestern University. She later became a teacher at the Antioch School and a school in Winnetka, Ill.. Hollister had a strong passion for religious education, and served on the National Quaker Religious Education Committee for more than 40 years. She was a mother of four children with her husband of 62 years, Barrett Hollister, who graduated from Antioch. Hollister passed away on April 13, 2005.

family and friends and the subjects themselves, Yellow Springs News, Xenia Daily Gazette, WYSO, Antioch College, Women of Greene County, Women’s History Project of Greene County, Inc., Celebrating Women: The Women’s Park of Yellow Springs, Women’s History Project of Greene County, Inc., National Women’s History Museum, National Women’s Hall of Fame, Bentron Foundry,,

T h i s p ro j e c t was made possible

by a generous grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, funding and support from The Art Academy of Cincinnati and editing, design and production assistance from the Yellow Springs News.

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