Virginia Changemakers
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Virginia Women in History 2015

Rebekah Dulaney Peterkin

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Concerned about the plight of the working poor in Richmond, Rebekah Peterkin organized Sheltering Arms Hospital to provide free medical care.

Elizabeth Bray Allen Smith Stith

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At a time when married women had few rights, Elizabeth Bray Allen Smith Stith used her own funds to establish a free school for poor children.

Dorothy Shomeaker McDiarmid

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As a member of the House of Delegates for more than twenty years, Dorothy S. McDiarmid championed the rights of women and children through…

Ruth Coles Harris

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The first African American woman to become a certified public accountant in Virginia, Ruth Coles Harris was also the founding director of the Sydney…

Karenne Wood


As director of the Virginia Indian Program, Karenne Wood ensures that the history, traditions, and contributions of Virginia's Indians are…

Vivian W. Pinn

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Vivian W. Pinn works to expand women's health programs and leadership roles for women in the field of medical research.

Nikki Giovanni

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Nikki Giovanni uses her poetry to raise awareness of social issues, particularly those of gender and race.

Nancy Melvina "Vinnie" Caldwell

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When elected to the House of Delegates in 1927, Nancy "Vinnie" Caldwell became one of the earliest women to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.