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Today in Women’s History September 28, 2007

Posted by ShirleyTemple in Meetings.
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Two stories for you today – Both begin with hardship but one ends with redemption while the other ends as one of the greatest criminal cases in our nation’s history – and possibly one of it’s greatest injustices.

On this day, back in 1974, Betty Ford (Known for her husband, the President, and for her lovely center) had a radical mastectomy, and later became active in educating about breast cancer.  How interesting then that this month we get both notification that too many drinks per day may lead to cancer (though another study the same day said 2 were just dandy – mental note girls…sip, don’t chug) and in 2 weeks is the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure.  Is it a coincidence that it all goes back to Betty?  Hmmmm….

Next – on this day in 1915 Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg was born. (See picture) As one of four children living with their parents in an unheated NY tenement building, life was a constant struggle. She grew to be a smart girl, graduating high school at just 15.  She worked for 4 years at a shipping company but was fired after organizing a strike of 150 workers. She married in the summer of 1939 shortly becoming a stay at home mom.  

Ethel & Julius

When the children were still young, her brother, who was being investigated by the FBI for espionage and admitted to stealing secrets for the Soviets, pointed to Ethel’s husband Julius as being a part of the spy ring.  Julius claimed innocence, so Ethel was arrested as well, August 11, 1950, in hopes of making Julius talk. They were offered a deal that if they told of others in the ring, Ethel would be released and Julius would only serve a few years – but they refused, swearing their innocence.  They were brought to trial – with the only evidence of their guilt coming from her brother and his wife who admitted to actively participating in delivering nuclear secrets. Ethel’s great offense was that she supposedly typed up notes from their meetings. April 5, 1951 Ethel and her husband were convicted of espionage – and sentenced to death. 

After being on death row at Sing Sing for 26 months, Ethel and Julius, still claiming their innocence, were both executed on their 14th wedding anniversary – becoming the only Americans ever executed for spying.

Ethel’s story is amazing.  If you’re interested in learning more about Ethel & Julius, the shock of the nation at their deaths, and even comments from one of their grown sons I suggest this resource (http://www.spartacus.school…) as one of the better 1 stop sites.

LUPEC Phoenix suggests that everyone find something that gets them excited, passionate and all riled up this weekend!

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