Notable women in Michigan history

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Aug. 26 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment becoming part of the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed American women the right to vote.

As we celebrate that anniversary, we’re taking a look at a few Michigan women who have made history in their respective roles or fields.


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The Sojourner Truth memorial in Battle Creek, Mich.

Abolitionist icon and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth made southwest Michigan her home in the late 18th century. She was invited to Battle Creek by a group of radical abolitionist Quakers, where she decided to relocate. She was the first Black woman to defeat a man in a lawsuit. | More on


A copy of state Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton’s business card. She served one term (1921-1922). (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

Eva McCall Hamilton ran for the Michigan Senate in 1920 and was the first female to hold a seat there. She defeated three men for the Republican nomination and went on to win the 16th district election, which includes Grand Rapids, by beating former State Sen. Harry C. White in a 2-to-1 margin. | More on


Cora Reynolds Anderson (Courtesy:

Cora Reynolds Anderson was the first woman and first Native American to be elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1924, just four years after women recieved the right to vote. Today, the Michigan House of Representatives legislative office building bears her name. (Information:


An illustration of Harriet Quimby. (Courtesy: The National Aviation Hall of Fame)

Born in Michigan, Harriet Quimby was the first American woman to earn her pilot’s license. In 1911, she became the first woman to fly an airplane at night and is in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. (Information:


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Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks to News 8 during an event in South Haven on Sept. 19, 2019.

Jennifer M. Granholm was the first female governor of the state of Michigan. She served two terms, first elected in 2002 and again in 2006. She was also Michigan’s first female attorney general, elected in 1998. (Information:


American Motown band The Supremes, left to right, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard (1942 – 1976) and Diana Ross arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport. (Evening Standard/Getty Images)

The Supremes were the first and most commercially successful Motown all-female group. Members Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. The group’s biggest hits include “Baby Love” and “Stop in the Name of Love.” (Information:


Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is the first woman from Michigan to be elected to the United States Senate. Born in Gladwin, Mich., she is a ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Energy Committee and Budget Committee. (Information:


Veteran US White House reporter Helen Thomas watches the arrival of the White House Christmas tree 29 November 2004 outside the presidential building in Washington. (PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Journalist Helen Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She grew up in Detroit and attended Wayne State University. (Information:

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