Notable Women In Battle Creek’s History You Should Know About
If you didn't know, March is Women's History Month.
It's a month to celebrate women in sports, leadership, or just the incredible women in your life. With that in mind, I decided to try to find notable women in Battle Creek's history so we could all learn something together.
As it turns out, there are several women all of us should know about.
In 1925, Clare Briggs became Battle Creek's first-ever female city commissioner. Especially for the time, a woman in leadership was rare. Even more so considering she was a single woman in her mid-50s.
While she only served one term, she made room for future women to also take up leadership positions. Prior to her short-lived political career, she worked as a supervisor of drawing in city schools, was a part of several women's clubs, and helped register women for war work during WWI.
Read more about her from the Battle Creek Enquirer here.
Ann M. Shafer
Ann Shafer is recognized for fighting for equal career opportunities for women in the 1960s. She began her career at Kellogg Co. in 1946. In 1968, she filed a lawsuit against the company to ensure that women had equal access to opportunities at the company including job openings. The suit was successful and resulted in a few immediate changes with others promised in the future.
This was before Michigan's work laws matched those at the federal level.
By 1974, Shafer had helped form the Coalition of Labor Union Women and would go on to serve as the organization's Vice President. She continued fighting for equality for women until her death in 1991. Read more here.
Perhaps the more widely known woman on this list, Lorena Hickok had a decades-long friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt. You can see them in the photo below (Hickok on the far right):
A graduate of Battle Creek Central High School, Lorena first got into the reporting world by joining the team at Battle Creek Enquirer where she earned a reputation for being a notable sports reporter. Considering there are people today, in 2023, that still scoff at women sports reporters, that was a huge accomplishment for Lorena.
In 1928, she was assigned to cover Franklin Roosevelt during his time as the governor of New York. She was then assigned to his presidential campaign by the Associated Press which is where her friendship with Eleanor grew.
Their friendship became so close that they spent nearly every single day together. It led Hickok to leave her job as a reporter and, instead, join Roosevelt's administration.
You can read more about her from secondwavemedia.com.
If you'd like to learn more about notable women in Battle Creek's history, there's an upcoming event that might interest you.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.
Speaking of notable women in history, did you know that there's a famous women's rights activist buried in Battle Creek? Learn more below:
There are so many incredible women in the world doing incredible things. How about this WMU grad who is now a stunt woman?