While many science and space enthusiasts were celebrating the landing of the Mars rover Perseverance recently, the staff at Forsyth County Public Library were busy planning a series of seven events that celebrate women’s contributions not only to NASA and space exploration, but also their achievements in leadership, art, literature and culture.
The series, “Celebrating Women’s History Month,” will be presented entirely online and begins with “A Conversation with Nancy Mansfield” at 7 p.m., Monday, March 1.
Nancy Mansfield, J.D., is a professor of legal studies in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and the founder of WomenLead, a program that equips female students to excel in school, enter the workforce with developed skills, and find their place in leadership positions.
“Our conversation will include Nancy’s personal memories of second-wave feminism in the 1970s and how women today can find their voice as leaders in their businesses, organizations, and communities,” said Tracy Walker FCPL programming manager.
On Monday, March 8, Laura Forczyk, founder of the space consulting firm Astralytical, presents “Women in the Space Industry,” a conversation about female astronauts and women leaders in industry and government. Forczyk will also discuss Artemis, NASA's program to send the first woman to the Moon.
“Laura has such an interesting perspective on space. She’s researched astrophysics and planetary science at three NASA centers, flown two parabolic "Zero G" campaigns – otherwise known as the ‘vomit comet’ – plus, she’s written a book and appears regularly in national media to discuss both space science and policy measures,” Walker said.
Taking a turn from the space-age back to the Middle Ages, Johanna Luthman, Ph.D., will present “Monstrous Regiment of Women: Queens in Europe” at 7 p.m., Monday, March 15.
Luthman, author of 'Love, Madness & Scandal: The Life of Frances Coke Villiers,' Viscountess Purbeck’ and professor of history at the University of North Georgia, explains that the period from the 1400s to the 1700s actually witnessed more ruling queens and female regents than in the 1800s, or even most of the 1900s, in Europe. Luthman will describe how queens like Elizabeth I of England, Isabella of Spain, Christina of Sweden, and Catherine the Great of Russia fought to stay on their thrones, wield power, and have their peers and subjects take them seriously.
Award-winning fiber artist Kianga Jinaki will present “Storytelling through Quilts: The Daughters of Harriet Powers” at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 20.
“Kianga Jinaki creates art quilts, dolls, and mixed-media works that tell the story of her heritage as an African-American. Her conversation will explain how Harriet Powers, a woman born into slavery in the mid-1800s in Athens, Georgia, rose to prominence by telling personal and biblical stories through imagery in the panels of her quilts,” adds Walker.
Continuing in the theme of storytelling through quilts, Ian Afflerbach, Ph.D., assistant professor of American Literature at the University of North Georgia, will lead a conversation about Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 21.
“Dr. Afflerbach is a popular facilitator of discussions on literature at the library,” Walker said. “This discussion will cover a short story Alice Walker wrote a few years before her best-known novel, 'The Color Purple,' was published in 1982.”
Copies of “Everyday Use” are available at the Ask Us desk of all FCPL branches, or registered participants can receive a copy via email.
Historical performer Tracy Lee White will present “Rosie the Riveter” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 23.
“Tracy Lee White will give an online living history performance about the real ‘Rosies’ who helped win World War II,” Walker said. “Using authentic items such as currency, ration books, government publications, news reels, music, and clothing, she’ll transport our audience back to 1943 and give them a glimpse into war-time life.”
Registered participants will receive a "time travel packet" to fully immerse themselves in 1943 and White will also conduct raffle drawings for five 1943 steel pennies and Rosie the Riveter pins.
Celebrating Women’s History Month concludes with “Women Painters and the Figure” presented by Vivian Liddell at 7 p.m., Monday, March 29.
“Vivian Liddell is the host of the podcast Peachy Keen, where she interviews women on art and the South. She talks with fellow artists about their inspiration and how their individual opinions reflect changes in the region,” Walker said.
Liddell, also an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University of North Georgia, will explore issues of class, gender, and power through images of figure paintings created by women artists in the Western world from the Renaissance to the present day.
Admission to each online event in the “Celebrating Women’s History Month” series is free and open to the public, though several require advance registration. For more information or to register, visit the events calendar at www.forsythpl.org.