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Feminist Chronicles - 1955


Rosa Parks kept her seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery, AL, and was arrested. On the first day of her trial, Blacks began a boycott of the city's buses. (12/01/55)

Peru granted voting rights to women. (09/07/55)


"Not so long ago," said a writer in a New York Times feature, girls were expelled from college for marrying; now girls feel hopeless if they haven't a marriage at least in sight by commencement time. . . . The well-known statistical fact that males are fewer than females in this country tends to push each girl into a desire for early marriage." (1955)


Adlai Stevenson's address to the Smith College graduating class urged the women not to define themselves by any profession and to participate in politics through the role of wife and mother.


The federal minimum wage was increased by the U.S. Congress from 75 cents an hour to $1. (08/12/55)

The first male nurse was commissioned by the U.S. Army. (10/06/55)


Women were accepted, by vote, as ministers in the U.S. Presbyterian Church. (01/23/55)

Mrs. Sheldon Rubbins became the first female cantor in the history of Judaism. (08/02/55)


Lucille Ball's character on "I Love Lucy," the TV comedy show watched by millions, gave birth to Little Ricky, and by continuing to do the show throughout her pregnancy, and by letting her pregnancy show on the screen, Lucille Ball proved by example that women need not give up their careers. The character "Lucy" often tried to subvert her husband's refusal to "permit her" to go out to work. (1955)


Mary McLeod Bethune, noted Black educator, died at the age of 80. With the support of Eleanor Roosevelt, she became the first Black woman to officially advise a U.S. President. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her Negro Affairs Director in 1939. In 1935, she became the founder and first president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). (05/18/55)

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