Best Places For Women’s History In Detroit
Behind every successful man is a woman who probably never got much credit for her role in the matter. History often omitted herstory because, in countless cultures, the patriarchal paradigm dominated – females had no social status outside of their association with their husbands or fathers. Now that we no longer rely on muscle men to go out and snare hefty hippopotami for dinner, women’s contributions to human survival and progress get much more appreciation.
On July 24, 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a garrison of French troops and lots of fur trappers founded the settlement that we know today as Detroit, but trappers had already been here for a hundred years. Written history began in Detroit because of women, who sent French trappers into the area to collect pelts for those fabulous Parisian fur coats.
Alliance Francaise de Detroit
Beverly Hills, MI 48025
This unique historical theatre company has been performing throughout Michigan for over 35 years. Artistic director Harriet Berg created a beautiful historical reenactment troupe which explains (through the eyes of Madame Cadillac, first lady of Detroit) the earliest events of our colonial city: how they lived, what they were all about, how they danced, the food they ate, who their friends were and the fashions they wore. Madame Cadillac performs in children’s classrooms and at adult banquets and festivals, such as the Bal de Versailles at the Alliance Française de Détroit.
University of Michigan-Dearborn
2036 CASL Building
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128
The University of Michigan Dearborn offers undergraduate majors, minors and bachelor’s degrees in its women’s and gender studies program. Those pursuing a Master of Arts degree can also take this track in the liberal arts program. Other opportunities offer certificates in women and learning and leadership (WILL). U. of M. Dearborn is particularly noted for its generous scholarships, free parking, low crime, hundreds of extra-curricular opportunities and highly-desirable internships.
Detroit Historical Society
Price: Adults $6 / Seniors (ages 60 and above) $4 / Youth (ages 5-17) $4 / Students $4 /
Hours: Wed to Fri – 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat. – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. – noon to 5 p.m.
The museum’s current exhibit, Saying I Do: Metro Detroit Weddings, features women’s history and cultural traditions. Additionally, the highlighted artist in the Detroit’s Artist’s Showcase area is currently Janet M. Anderson, a Detroit area native who succumbed to breast cancer in 1996. Anderson’s ink renderings depict the excruciating cycles of diagnosis, chemotherapy, remission and metastasis of cancer.
Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame
213 W. Malcolm X St. (formerly Main St.)
Lansing, MI 48933
Price: Adults – $2, Students – $1, Seniors – $2, Children under 5 – Free
Hours: Wed to Sat – noon to 4 p.m., First Sunday of each month – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Hall of Fame features over 250 historical and contemporary women of Michigan, and has a variety of exhibits that are rented to museums, libraries, schools and other institutions and organizations. The museum hosts a gift shop featuring books, T-shirts, mugs and other items relating to Michigan women’s history.
Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan
3011 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48202
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tues – noon to 7 p.m., Sat – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Today is the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts, founded March 12, 1912. The very first Girl Scout Senior Roundup (national gathering) was held at Highland State Park, in suburban Detroit. Girl Scouts are famous for their cookies, which are produced by Kellogg’s of Battle Creek, Michigan. There are over 50 million Girl Scout alumnae, most of whom are female. The Girl Scouts are leading women’s history by updating what it means to be a girl. When 7-year-old Bobby Montoya, a transgender child who identified as a girl sought membership into the group, she was accepted into the Brownies. The Girl Scouts also maintains interesting archives for researchers.
Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at Examiner.com.