MT. PLEASANT, Mich. -- Not all heroes wear capes, and the best examples of this are mothers. From day one (literally), our moms do so much for us. They're our caregivers, our protectors, and our biggest fans. While these amazing women change our individual lives in so many ways, there are several whose actions ended up changing the course of history, whether they intended to do so or even knew it or not. It's just what moms do.
In honor of Mother's Day and women everywhere, Graff Mt. Pleasant 5 moms who changed the world.
1. FEBB BURN
In August 1920, Febb Burn of Mouse Creek, Tennessee was a mother of four and manager of a farm. Harry Burn, a representative of the Tennessee General Assembly and her son, was about to vote on the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. If passed, it would give every woman in the country the legal right to vote in political elections. If vetoed, as many other states had done already, it would be years before it would ever be brought up again. The vote from Tennessee would be the tie-breaker, so to speak.
Febb knew that a majority of the state's senators would vote in favor, but the decision in the House would be close, and that Harry could swing the vote and make history. She then sat her 24-year-old son down on her porch and passed him a sweet, motherly note telling him about goings-on at home, but also urging him to "be a good boy" and vote in favor of women's suffrage. When it came time to vote, with his mama's letter in his pocket, Harry Burns voted "aye" so quickly and unexpectedly that it shocked the legislature. The opposition was fierce, but Harry simply replied: "a mother's advice is always safest for a boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification".
2. VESTA STOUDT
During World War II, Vesta Stoudt was an ordinance plant worker in Chicago with two sons in the Navy, getting the job to help ease her worries about her boys while they were overseas. However, as she was inspecting and packaging a box of rifle grenade cartridges, she noticed a problem.
The cartridges were packaged in small, wax-coated boxes sealed with paper tape and a tab on the end. The idea was that the tab could be yanked back and open the box, but it often just tore off leaving the box still sealed. She then pictured hers and other mothers' sons dodging enemy fire while struggling to get the boxes open with a knife or their teeth. Fueled by her protective mama bear instincts, she designed an alternative to the paper tape in the form of durable, waterproof, cloth-based tape which could tear easily and give field operators split-second access to their cartridges.
Back then, Vesta Stoudt was just a mom trying to make sure her sons were safe. Little did she know she would end up changing the world with her invention we now know as "duct tape".
3. ERIN BROCKOVICH
In 1993, Erin Brockovich was a single mother of three trying to make ends meet working as a legal clerk at a private law firm in Thousand Oaks, California. Despite her lack of formal education in the law, she was instrumental in building a case and winning a lawsuit against the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, who was knowingly responsible for the contamination the water supply of the small, Southern California town of Hinkley with hexavalent chromium, which was proven to have caused serious, chronic health issues in the unsuspecting residents, including the children. It remains the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history.
Today, Brockovich continues her career as a legal clerk participating in several other anti-pollution cases and is an environmental activist. Her battle against PG&E was adapted into an eponymously-titled film starring Julia Roberts, which was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture. Back then, she was a mom who saw her own kids in those of Hinkley. Mom claws: engaged.
While in the process of penning the best-selling book series of all time, J.K. Rowling was a single mother and survivor of domestic abuse. In the early to mid-1990s, she wrote the first four books of Harry Potter between Scotland, London, and Portugal writing in many cafes with her baby daughter in toe, all while battling severe clinical depression, living on state benefits, and escaping an unhealthy marriage.
Since then, Rowling's billion-dollar empire of magic has produced seven books and movies with more on the way, video games, endless merchandise, and even a theme park! Harry Potter defined a generation of kids who grew up in tandem with the Boy Who Lived, now adults who still wear their Hogwarts house colors with pride over two decades later.
Rowling serves as the president of Gingerbread, an organization that works with single parents and their children to help them find resources and programs for success and support. "I am prouder of my years as a single mother more than any other part of my life", she says.
5. MARY KAY ASH
As a 45-year-old single mother of three in 1963, Mary Kay Ash launched her namesake cosmetics company that would give countless women the opportunity to work as sales consultants on their own time, being their own bosses, and using a business model that puts faith and family first. Mary Kay was also an advocate of female domestic abuse and cancer survivors and established the Mary Kay Foundation which has donated thousands of dollars for these causes.
This Mother's Day, we at Graff Mt. Pleasant encourage you to the take the time to learn about these 5 moms who changed the world. We also would ask that you make sure to thank your own mom and any other mom you meet for everything that they do, and the impact they have on our lives.
At Hank Graff Mt. Pleasant we strive to provide our customers with a car buying experience that is accommodating, stress-free and fun! Visit us at our Chevrolet dealership located at 4580 E Pickard Rd in Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858 or our Buick GMC Cadillac dealership located at 116 N. Mission St in Mount Pleasant, MI 48858.