In honor of Women’s History Month, Sherri Gardner Howell and Sarah Baker, two of the 20 authors contributing to the book, “Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage,” will join the book editors Charlotte Crawford and Ruth Johnson Smiley in describing the contributions of several local women in the development of the history of the state of Tennessee in politics, music, sports, aviation and more. The presentation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Sharon Lawson Room at the Blount County Public Library.
The Tennessee Women Project’s book recognizes the diverse and wide-reaching contributions by women in Tennessee. The 22 women profiled in the 206-page book have touched every facet of life in this state through the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the earliest women are Elizabeth Paxton Houston, mother of the legendary Sam Houston, and Elizabeth “Quatie” Brown Henley Ross, wife of Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross; to the 20th-century’s Evelyn Stone Bryan Johnson, nicknamed “Mama Bird,” the aviator featured on the book cover. When she died at age 102 in 2012, she was lauded as having flown more hours than any other woman. She took flying lessons while her husband was away during World War II and flew until she was 97, when glaucoma and a prosthetic leg forced her to stop flying. The women’s stories may differ, but each woman serves as a source of inspiration for her modern-day counterparts.