Overlooked Obituaries of Important Female Figures Are Finally Getting the Limelight They Deserve

The New York Times editor, Amisha Padnani has started a project that celebrates and reminisces upon successful, strong-minded women whose deaths were ignored by the once male-dominated newsrooms. Many brilliant and influential women were slighted by the patriarchal system that deemed their obituaries and life stories unimportant or uninteresting. After reading through some of the stories incorporated in this project, it became very prevalent how many women were denied the privilege of an obituary. It’s incredible how many well-established and accredited women were neglected and forgotten after their deaths and were denied the reconciliation they deserved. Padnani’s goal throughout this endeavor was and continues to be, to write obituaries that reflect upon the success and importance of the lives of women who were cast away under the shadows of marginalization. Padnani wanted to honor all the influential women who were omitted by The Times and left unremembered on the obituary page. After reaching out to friends, families of the diseased and colleagues, Padnami reported that the stories started to flood in, all in regard to immensely important people of color as well as women, and all who were left without an obituary.

Courtesy: The New York Times

Inspired by Padnani’s endeavors, I started to do some of my own research concerning remarkable women who were seemingly invisible to Florida’s rich history. The list of noteworthy females who were ultimately dismissed from Florida’s past goes on and on. There is a type of database known as the Florida Historical Marker Program that commemorates and honors figures, events and places that were prominent throughout Florida’s history. The project labels them as ‘markers’ yet of these markers, only six represent women. This minute number leaves many female notables out. Of these women includes Clara C. Frye, an African American nurse of the early 1900s. Frye worked out of Tampa, Florida where she opened her own hospital that provided care for people of all ethnicities. This took place in 1901, a time when the leading Tampa Municipal Hospital denied people of color. No notable obit on Frye was to be found, nor is she considered a historical marker.

Courtesy: Jackie’s Historical Facts

Thanks to Padnani’s thoughtful project, important and impactful women are finally receiving the recognition they deserve, providing a sense of closure for those who've passed on as well as those who remember them. Padnani is also inspiring research. After taking a deeper look into the rich history of Florida, I have found many incredible stories about the feats of women that have sculpted our rich culture and progression of this state and encourage everyone to do the same. Padnani has unraveled a whole new component of history that will hopefully aid in our progression towards gender equality and remembrance of the great and deserving associates of history.

Make sure to check out Amishda Padnani’s inspiring project in the New York Times.