Women’s History Month


unnamedBy Katie Doll

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to society and events in history. The annually declared month in fact has its own history that is both fascinating and vital in highlighting the roles of women in American history.

Women’s History Month actually began as Women’s History Week in 1978 when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission realized women’s history was not on the curriculum taught in schools. Because there was already a day called International Women’s Day, the week of that day was chosen as the focal point of the observance.

For the next five years, Congress passed joint resolutions to declare Women’s History Week in March, while thousands of individuals and organizations celebrated by holding essay contests headed by the National Women’s History Project.

In 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, which declared Women’s History Week as Women’s History Month. President Reagan was the first President to issue a proclamation for the month.

“I call upon all Americans to mark this month with appropriate observances to honor the achievements of American women,” said Reagan in his proclamation March 16, 1987.

Many women are honored during Women’s History Month ranging from Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectories for many NASA missions, to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education.

Today, the #MeToo movement has sparked protests and rallies for social equality for women. Laura Paddison, editor for This New World, a project looking for the new movements to create a fairer world, has given women numbers to tell people who are unsure about the concept of social inequality.

These numbers include the number of years women must wait for economic equality (217), the year in which women in the U.S. will receive equal pay (2059), and the number of girls not in school (130 million).

Exhibits and collections dedicated to women can be found on womenshistorymonth.gov.


Women’s History Quiz


By Tayla Courage


  1. In what U.S. city did the final vote to ratify women’s suffrage take place?
  2. In 1932, who was the first American woman to fly the Atlantic solo?
  3. Who was the first woman to run for president of the United States?
  4. What’s the name of the World War II poster-girl commonly associated with the phrase “We Can Do It!”?
  5. Who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only person to win it twice?
  6. What female artist has won the most Grammys?
  7. Young women of the 1920s who cut their hair and shortened their skirts were referred to as what?
  8. What was the only sport women were allowed to participate in in the 1928 Winter Olympics?
  9. What U.S. Amendment was ratified to give women the right to vote?
  10. Who was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire?


  1. Nashville, Tennessee, became “The Perfect 36” when it was the final state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
  2. In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  3. Despite the fact that women were not yet allowed to vote, there was no law in place to prohibit Victoria Woodhull from campaigning under the Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1872.
  4. Rosie the Riveter, inspired by real-life woman worker Naomi Parker Fraley, was created in 1943 by Westinghouse Electric Corporation in an attempt to convince more women to participate in wartime labor efforts.
  5. Alongside her husband Pierre, French physicist Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. In 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her contributions to radioactivity research.
  6. Country music singer and musician, Allison Krauss, has won a total of 27 Grammy Awards putting her above Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin and Adele.
  7. Flappers. After gaining the right to vote, these women rebelled against the societal norms for women of the time.
  8. In the 1928 Winter Olympics, figure skating was the only sport that women were allowed to compete in. This didn’t change until 1948, when women were allowed to compete in skiing.
  9. The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave all American women the right to vote.
  10. Sarah Breedlove, who went by the name Madam C.J. Walker, was the first woman to become a self-made millionaire for her successful line of African American hair-care products.

Woman on the Quad 3/20/18 – Who is the most influential woman in your life?

We here at The Settler have one goal: to let the student’s voice be heard. So we’re beginning a new segment called Man on the Quad to get students’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas. You can send your question ideas for this segment to aperham1@volstate.edu.

This week, due to women’s history month, we’ve changed the name of Man on the Quad to Woman on the Quad.

Who is the most influential woman in your life?

The most influential woman in my life is my mother. She inspires me everyday to be the very best that I can be. She has a great work ethic and really works hard to help and support me to pursue my dreams and has always allowed me to have the foundation to do that.   – G.

My mother because no one loves you like your mother. – M

Ditto. – S

I would probably say my grandmother. She’s an incredible, strong woman. My mom actually had a stroke and she just took up. I’m from a family of 11, anyway. My mom being in a coma basically for a few weeks was really tough as a family, and my grandmother just picked up the slack. She’s always been there for us. – D

My mom. She’s amazing. – H

My mom because she’s amazing. She’s always there for me. – A

Probably my sister because she’s always there for me. – E

My grandma. She’s the strongest person I know. – B

My mother. She taught me how to be strong and fight for what’s right. – J


Melva Black: Educator, encourager, radio DJ


Black, Melva

Photo via volstate.edu

By Riley Holcraft

Dr. Melva Black, chair of the communications department at Volunteer State Community College, is a woman of many talents, passions and experiences.

Her responsibilities at Vol State include supporting goals, interests and ideas of the department; hearing from students; and keeping up with the schedule.

She has worked for Vol State for six years but has consistently served others throughout her life.

Her parents, both educators, were always committed to community service, and she has followed their selfless example. Her giving spirit plays a large role in her life as she volunteers for multiple organizations.

Black volunteers at the First Response Center, a program responsive to the community’s HIV/AIDS needs. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated that participates in a number of service projects. She is the immediate past chair of the United Way Ryan White Program where she holds a roll in advising and overseeing grants. She organizes international education and health projects for her church. She is the president of the Faculty Breakfast Club, a collaborative club consisting of four historically black colleges and universities in Nashville.

Black is also the owner of a dog named Anastasia LaFontaine. Students can ask to see the pup’s picture if they ever stop by Black’s office.

While one would think all of these responsibilities would create a full-enough plate, Black is also a jazz radio DJ for WFSK at Fisk University. She has been volunteering at this radio station for 13 years. She also studied classical piano for eight years. However, music is not Black’s only area of expertise.

She began college at Dillard University in New Orleans and was recruited by LSU to study in East Berlin at Humboldt University, becoming the second African-American to study at the institution. She then attended the University of Illinois to study Germanic languages and literature where she returned to Germany to finish her master’s program in the city of Regensburg.

She came back to her hometown of Nashville after 13 years to complete a master’s degree in corporate communication at Austin Peay State University.

After this, she worked in nonprofits, travelling to South America and Haiti to focus on health and education.

In 2013, Black earned her doctorate in education from Lipscomb University.

Her undying passion for service combined with her brilliant mind makes Dr. Melva Black a valuable asset to the Vol State community. Her determination has taken her all over the world, but now Vol State is lucky to have her on staff.

She gave Len Assante, Vol State communication faculty member, all the credit for “taking a chance” on her and went on to explain that her job at Vol State has been one of the most inspiring and enriching professional experiences.

“I was interested in navigating out of the nonprofit world and into higher education. I really thought the work that I had done in the nonprofits provided a space for me to give through an educational landscape. Hopefully, one day you will have this experience in your professional career where you will feel like you were born for this. That’s how I feel: like I was born for this,”

said Black.


Book review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda


By Tayla Courage

Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is a contemporary, gay love story that examines the perils of coming out and emphasizes the importance of being authentic to oneself.

This book follows 16-year-old Simon Spier, a mostly-closeted Atlanta teen who would rather save the drama for his part as “Fagin’s boy” in his school’s production of “Oliver.”

In fear of not fitting the mold his friends and family have created for him, Simon chooses to keep his sexuality to himself; that is, until he comes across a poem on his high school’s gossip Tumblr blog revealing that he is not, in fact, the school’s resident gay kid.
Simon, or Jacques as he is better known online, messages the poet parading under the username “Blue,” and the pair sparks an anonymous email-based relationship, which quickly goes awry when the emails fall into untrustworthy hands.

To keep his secret safe, Simon is blackmailed into playing the role of wingman for fellow theater kid, Martin, who inevitably outs Simon to the entire school.

Following one audaciously mean-spirited Tumblr post, Simon goes from coasting through junior year as a well-liked Harry Potter nerd to being the absolute center of attention.

While he is generally well-accepted by his peers which is surprising considering the fact that he lives in Bible Belt, U.S.A. people treat him as though he’s made this life-altering proclamation.

In actuality, Simon is the same person he’s always been, but this new-found attention makes him question why he, of all people, is constantly forced to “reintroduce himself to the universe.”

While there could have been a stronger dynamic between the people Simon calls his best friends, and the identity of his secret lover is blatantly obvious in retrospect, this book gives a realistic depiction of adolescent woes.

The book’s film adaptation “Love, Simon,” starring “Kings of Summer” actor Nick Robinson was released to theaters March 16.