Komen founder, Martha Graham headed to Women's Hall of Fame

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2015 4:15 PM

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Inductees into the National Women's Hall of Fame this year include dance pioneer Martha Graham, breast cancer fundraiser Nancy Brinker and the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier.

The Hall of Fame plans a weekend of events at its Seneca Falls site, where the first known women's rights convention was held in 1848, highlighted by the induction ceremony Saturday.

"The Hall is a place where their stories will be added to those of 256 prior Inductees," Board of Directors President Jeanne Gioavannini said, "so that girls and boys, women and men, both nationally and globally, can be inspired to follow their own dreams and ambitions."

The 46-year-old hall honors a new group every two years, chosen by a national panel of experts.

"I'm very appreciative and just want to encourage all women, all young girls, to aspire to be all that they can be," LaNier said by phone Friday. She was 14 years old in 1957 when she and eight other African-American students integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"This is one of the highest rewards I have received" in the years since, said LaNier, who also has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

In addition to LaNier, this year's honorees are:

— Graham, whose modern dance choreography was compared to Picasso's paintings and Stravinsky's music in its revolutionary impact.

— Brinker, who began the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation as a promise to her dying sister and established the color pink as representing breast cancer awareness.

— Feminist Majority founder Eleanor Smeal.

— Olympic skater Tenley Albright, who in 1953 became the first American woman to win the world figure skating championships and later became a surgeon and leader in blood plasma research.

— Marcia Greenberger, who established the National Women's Law Center in 1972.

— Scientist Barbara Iglewski, director of International Programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

— Medical researcher Philippa Marrack, whose work on T-cells has helped shape medicine's understanding of the human immune system, vaccines and HIV.

— Jean Kilbourne, a media expert on the image of women in advertising.

— Mary Harriman Rumsey, who founded the Junior League in 1901.

All the living inductees planned to be at Saturday's induction, hall officials said. Graham died in 1991 at age 96. Rumsey died in 1934 at age 53.