The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Women's History Month "H": Mia Hamm and The Harlem Renaissance


Mia Hamm during a pregame workout.

Mariel Margaret Hamm, better known as Mia Hamm, is a retired American soccer player and author of Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life. Hamm, who played the forward position, still holds the record of scoring more international goals (158) than any other male or female player soccer. Hamm was named the women’s FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and was named one of FIFA’s 125 best living players.

Hamm was born in Alabama to Bill and Stephanie Hamm in 1972.  Hamm has five siblings.  She spent her childhood traveling the world as a military dependent.  Hamm started playing organized sports at a very young age despite being born with a club foot.  Hamm joined the U.S. Women’s National Team at the age of fifteen, which made her the youngest player to ever play for the National Team.  Hamm also played for Notre Dame Catholic High School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s teams.  While playing for North Carolina, Hamm’s team only lost one game out of the ninety she played.

At the age of nineteen, Hamm became the youngest American woman to win a World Cup championship, when the U.S. Women’s National Team won the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  Hamm also helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics.  Hamm retired at the age of 32 after completing the Fan Celebration Tour to commemorate the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the 2004 Olympics.


Whether we call it a job or a career, work is more than just something we do. It is a part of who we are.
~Anita Hill, Professor at Brandeis University 

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.
~Audrey Hepburn, Actress

The thought that we are enduring the unendurable is one of the things that keeps us going.
~Molly Haskell, Film Critic and Author

Always aim for achievement, and forget about success.
~Helen Hayes, Actress

I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been.
~Billie Holiday, Jazz Singer and Songwriter


The Harlem Renaissance, also known as the “New Negro Movement,” was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York.  The Harlem Renaissance was a literary, artistic, and cultural movement that aimed to reject stereotypes.  Three Plays for a Negro Theatre (1917) featured African American actors “conveying complex human emotions” while “rejecting stereotypes of the blackface and minstrel traditions.”  Poems, plays, songs, cartoons, and fictional stories created by African American artists depicted the reality of African American life in Harlem during the 1920s.

The Harlem Renaissance gained national attention when Charles Spurgeon Johnson, director of the National Urban League, “encouraged aspiring writers to migrate to New York in order to form a critical mass of young black creative artists.”  Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are some of the artists that answered Johnson’s request.  Hughes, Hurston and others showed the world that African Americans are “self-assertive, racially conscious, articulate, and, for the most part, (can be) in charge of what they produced.”

Zora Neale Hurston was a folklorist, writer, and anthropologist during the Harlem Renaissance.  In 1925, during the peak of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston arrived in New York City.  Hurston, Langston Hughes, and other young African American writers produced a literary magazine called Fire!! in 1926 to showcase other Harlem Renaissance artists and writers.  Hurston published four novels and approximately fifty short stories, plays, and essays throughout her life.  She is perhaps best known for her novel Their Eyes Are Watching God.

Many artists during this time period focused on themes of alienation and marginality through folk tradition styles; folktales and jazz or blues composition. The literature produced during the Harlem Renaissance “reflects the multiple ways that black experience in America was perceived and expressed in the first decades of the twentieth century.”

To learn more about the Harlem Renaissance, please the Harlem Renaissance Multimedia Resource by John Carroll University.  To learn more about Zora Neale Hurston, please visit the Zora Neale Hurston website.

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