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House Committee Passes Bills Honoring Former Members, Women’s History Month, Harriet Tubman

On March 13, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved several measures en bloc, by voice vote, including bills to rename post offices after Reps. Julia Carson (D-IN) (H.R. 5472) and Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) (H.R. 5489), and resolutions recognizing Women’s History Month (H. Res. 1021) and Harriet Tubman (H. Con. Res. 310).

Julia Carson Post Office Bill

Sponsored by Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), H.R. 5472 would designate a United States Postal Service facility in Indianapolis, Indiana as the “Julia M. Carson Post Office Building” in honor of Rep. Carson, who died on December 15. Congress passed a resolution (H. Res. 88) honoring Rep. Carson on December 17 (see The Source, 12/19/07).

Jo Ann Davis Post Office Bill

Sponsored by Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), the bill would designate a U.S. Postal Service facility in Gloucester, Virginia as the “Congresswoman Jo Ann S. Davis Post Office” in honor of Rep. Davis, who died on October 6. The House passed a resolution (H. Res. 717) honoring Rep. Davis on October 9 (see The Source, 10/12/07).

Women’s History Month

Sponsored by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • the purpose of National Women’s History Month is to increase awareness and knowledge of women’s involvement in history;
  • as recently as the 1970s, women’s history was rarely included in the kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum, and was not part of public awareness;
  • in 1981, responding to the growing popularity of women’s history celebrations, Congress passed a resolution making Women’s History Week a national observance;
  • the president’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History was established to consider how best to acknowledge and celebrate the roles and accomplishments of women in American history; and
  • the theme of National Women’s History Month for 2008 is visionary female artists and their contribution to our cultural heritage.

The resolution “supports the goals and ideals of National Women’s History Month; recognizes and honors the women and organizations in the United States that have fought for, and continue to promote, the teaching of women’s history; and reaffirms its commitment to promoting National Women’s History Month, which this year honors female artists.”

Harriet Tubman

Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • Harriet Ross Tubman was born into slavery in Bucktown, Maryland, in or around 1820;
  • in 1849 she escaped to Philadelphia and became a ‘conductor’ on the Underground Railroad;
  • she became an eloquent and effective speaker on behalf of the movement to abolish slavery;
  • during the Civil War, she assisted the Union Army as a cook, nurse, scout, spy, and became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, leading to the liberation of more than 700 slaves;
  • after the Civil War, she became active in the women’s suffrage movement and continued to fight for human dignity, human rights, opportunity, and justice; and
  • in 1896, Harriet Ross Tubman purchased 25 acres of land in Auburn, New York, to create a home and hospital for indigent, aged, and sick African Americans, which opened on June 23, 1908, as the Harriet Tubman Home for the Sick and Aged, becoming the only charity outside of New York City dedicated to the shelter and care of African Americans in New York.

The resolution “supports the designation of a national day of remembrance for Harriet Ross Tubman and encourages the people of the United States to support and participate in appropriate ceremonies, programs, and other activities to commemorate a national day of remembrance for Harriet Ross Tubman.”

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