Lima women honor trailblazers

Mar. 22—LIMA — Virginia Crouse, Alberta Shurelds and Martha Farmer are just a few of the women from Allen County who have made a lasting impact. In honor of Women's History Month, several trailblazers were remembered at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce's Wake, Rattle and Roll on Friday morning.

"Maidie Norman was born in 1912," Julie Klinger, director of programs and community development said. "Her father helped found the Bradfield Center. He also was one of the first African American police officers here in Lima — she went on to go to the West Coast and become a famous Hollywood actress."

Liz Winhover, head of public relations at the Lima Public Library and Lima City Schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman shared the stories of women who paved the way in their field of expertise.

"Georgie McAfee was an early director of the Lima Public Library," Winhover said. "It was just astounding to learn about how many branches she opened in her 26 years at the library, how she spread a love for literacy and put books in the hands of people throughout the community during World War I and the Great Depression."

Ackerman shared the history of a woman who was one of fewer than 20 students to finish school.

"Lizzie Powell was a member of the 1888 graduating class of Lima High School," Ackerman said. "It was interesting to learn about Lizzie because at that time, that graduating class was only made up of about 14 students — Lizzie persevered through all of it — she also was the person that delivered the commencement speech from the Faurot Opera House and it was titled 'What a girl can't do.'"

Ackerman also said Lizzie believed a woman could become anything if she "put her mind to it."

"It (Lizzie's story) is interesting because when we think of that period, I think we think of very complacent women who were homemakers and that was not the mentality. Women knew back then what they were able to do and they were trailblazers," Ackerman said.

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.