Gov. John Carney announced on July 23 that eight women were selected for induction into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame for 2020 and 2021. The Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee, Carney said, elected the women for their remarkable achievements and contributions to the State of Delaware.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two historic honorees will be inducted in 2020, and six contemporary honorees will be inducted in 2021.
This year, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. In honor of the anniversary, the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee is partnering with the Delaware Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee (https://archives.delaware.gov/women-vote-100/) to induct two Delaware women’s suffragists into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame: the late Margaret Burton White Houston and the late Mary Seward Phillips Eskridge.
The 2020 induction ceremony will take place during the historical marker dedication to women’s suffrage in Delaware on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. on the East Market Street side of the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown. The public is welcome to attend the free event, however, attendees must observe public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that may be in place during this event.
The 2021 inductees include:
• Fayetta M. Blake, entrepreneur, and founder and executive director of Pathways to Success, Inc;
• Marianne Blackburn Drew, first female line rear admiral in the Naval Reserve, retired military, and former president of Lord Baltimore Women’s Club and Air Warrior Courage Foundation;
• Ann Jaffe, a retired teacher, Holocaust survivor and inspirational speaker;
• The Hon. Valerie Longhurst, Delaware House Majority Leader, executive director of the Police Athletic League of Delaware, and advocate for equality;
• The Hon. Stephanie T. Bolden, member of the Delaware House of Representatives, founder of Burton-Phelan Memorial Scholarship Program, and senior citizen and foster care activist; and
• The Hon. Jennifer Cohan, community leader and Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation.
The 2021 inductees will be recognized at the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Event details, including tickets and sponsorships, will be available in the coming months at de.gov/women.
“As we mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, it’s only fitting to induct Delaware suffragists — Margaret Burton White Houston and Mary Seward Phillips — into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women,” said Carney.
“These two leaders worked tirelessly to ensure the women of the future would have the rights they should have had all along. And the 2021 inductees have made tremendous impact in Delaware — from inspiring and educating others, to being trailblazers in their fields and working to make Delaware a stronger state. Congratulations on your selection, and thank you to the Women’s Hall of Fame Committee for choosing another round of remarkable Delaware Women for induction into the Hall of Fame.”
The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was established in 1981 and is the oldest annual celebration of its kind commemorating Delaware women. Eligible women must have been born in Delaware or resided in the state for a minimum of 10 years.
“During this unprecedented time, it’s important that we take a moment to pause and celebrate the achievements of these outstanding Delaware women,” said Kay Keenan, chair of the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee.
“These women not only overcame obstacles, but broke barriers, and have left their mark on our state, nation and world,” said Melanie Ross Levin, director of the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy. “We encourage the public to sign up at de.gov/women to receive notification when tickets become available for the 2021 event.”
For more information about the honorees and the upcoming induction ceremonies — including how to receive notifications for when tickets are available to purchase — go to de.gov/women.
Bios of the 2020 inductees are online at https://dhr.delaware.gov/women/halloffame/inductees-2020.shtml. Bios of the 2021 inductees are online at https://dhr.delaware.gov/women/halloffame/inductees-2021.shtml.