Tennessee Women Project—Tennessee Women Who Led the Way
Begun as an AAUW of Tennessee project, the Tennessee Women Project (TWP) has expanded to an initiative of eight Tennessee organizations formed to promote the history of Tennessee women. A new book, Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage, is an outgrowth of the project. Compiled and edited by Charlotte Crawford and Ruth Johnson Smiley, the book chronicles the hardships and successes of twenty-two historic women who left their mark on Tennessee.
The book profiles a broad range of women from Brenda Vineyard Runyon, who opened the nation’s first woman’s bank in Clarksville to Elizabeth Rona of Oak Ridge who was a pioneer in nuclear chemistry and physics to Julia Britton Hooks, a talented African American musician who founded a music school and elementary school for African American children in Memphis.
Just as impressive as the women profiled in the book are the authors, all women from Tennessee, who donated their time researching and writing the stories of these amazing Tennessee women.
To ensure that the stories of these women are not lost, the project plans to provide a copy of the book to every high school library in Tennessee. When told of the proposed donations, Margaret Britton Vaughn, Tennessee Poet Laureate, said: “When students read about Tennessee history, it is the names like Jackson, Polk, Crockett, York, and so many other men that have gone down on pages of recognition. The Tennessee Women Project has broadened the scope in their book and honored twenty-two women who have been instrumental in the making of the volunteer state.”