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Anna Mae Clarke; Fighting for Equality

October 8, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, Military history

When looking for a historical woman of  influence from Kentucky, I came across the brave and honorable Anna Mae Clarke.  Born in Lawrenceburg KY in 1919, Clarke was constantly facing descrimination in her struggle for gender and race equality.  After getting a degree in Economics from Kentucky State University, Clarke struggled for work until landing in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).  In 1943 after only a couple years of her being part of the WAC, the WAC joined forces with the United States Military.  Seeing this as an opportunity, Clarke successfully gained a posistion as an Officer and thus became the first black female to be in command of an all white company.  I think that while doing this, Clarke was able to effectively fight for equality on more levels than one.  She not only pushed the boundaries of the traditional military ideal that it’s only for men, she did it as an African American woman in 1943!  When Anna Mae Clarke first began her career she likely had no idea what kind of influence she would have or the figure that she would eventually become for women -as well as African Americans- in the fight for equality.  However, the obstacles that she overcame and achievements she made during her lifetime makes her quite the historic icon.  If not for the contributions Clarke made, the way that the military treats women, as well as African Americans, could be much different than they are in today’s society.

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