By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator
History merged with the present on the evening of Oct. 9th, as NWHM and guests celebrated the tremendous achievements of its 2013 de Pizan Honorees Phylicia Rashad, Dr. Etta Pisano, Denyce Graves, and Ken Burns, as well as the legacies of Lena Horne, Dr. Helen Taussig and Marian Anderson. Over 200 guests filled the Fischandler auditorium at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, where they took part in an eye-opening experience that celebrated American women who have enriched the fabric of our nation through their life’s work. Phylicia Rashad was the recipient of the Lena Horne Living Legacy Award, Dr. Etta Pisano won the Dr. Helen Taussig Living Legacy Award, Denyce Graves received the Marian Anderson Living Legacy Award and Ken Burns won the Henry Blackwell Award. Comedy duo Frangela made their third appearance as the program’s emcees and kept the audience in stitches.
A major highlight of the evening were the heart-felt and stirring acceptance speeches given by each honoree. Each spoke to value and importance of honoring and telling the rich and diverse stories of the women who built this nation. They also reflected on inspirational women in their own lives.
“Too often, women’s history is marginalized as a separate, politically correct, addendum to American history,” said Ken Burns. “Marian Anderson’s voice was so powerful that music just happened to be the vehicle thru which we knew her,” noted Denyce Graves. “Women in STEM find it too hard to succeed…I’ll work hard to change what’s possible for women and girls in science,” declared Dr. Pisano. “Where the women go, the culture goes, and it’s important to commemorate the contributions women make each day,” said Phylicia Rashad.
Prior to the program the Museum held a silent auction with a number of exciting prizes including a series of hand-crafted hats designed by Laura Spears, a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin’s MFA program in design and technology, a Washington Redskins package, an Ultimate National’s Baseball fan package, a weekend in Miami and Broadway in New York City, among other prizes. Frangela announced the lucky winners at the end of the show.
Guests also enjoyed a beautiful reception with an eclectic and delicious menu that included, grilled chicken, roast beef, snapper, macaroons, fruit, cheese and much more.
NWHM would like to thank all who were able to attend the show and to give a special thanks to the event’s honorary co-chairs, Senator Elizabeth Dole and Mrs. Lyda Bird Johnson Robb. We’d also like to thank our all of our sponsors.
Please check our Facebook page for an upcoming album with lots of fun photos from the evening!