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Honoring Women From Galesburg's History

Photo from The Zephyr
The Mother Bickerdyke monument outside the Knox County Courthouse

Galesburg city council members approved a resolution in support of naming facilities, parks and streets in honor of notable women.

More than 50 women are listed in a document provided to aldermen. They are community organizers, athletes, artists, educators, and more from throughout Galesburg's 175 year history.

The document will be used when the city considers naming and renaming things.

Mayor Sal Garza said too few women have been recognized by the city.

"We have less than a handful of things that are named in honor of women here in the community of Galesburg," Garza said.

He said narratives about the women will be posted to the web, and the list could grow.

"The community now has the opportunity to submit other people for consideration," Garza said. "All we did was establish an initial list with the opportunity to engage the entire community."

Garza said Third Ward Alderman Russell Fleming voted against the ordinance because of concerns that men could be discriminated against.  Garza said there is no intent to exclude anyone from being honored - the idea is to be more inclusive so that people from all segments of the community have a chance to be recognized.

One of the few women already recognized in Galesburg is Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke, who lived from 1817 to 1901. A monument honoring her can be found outside the Knox County Courthouse.

The city document said she took food and medical supplies to Union soldiers at a base in Cairo, then started treating soldiers in field hospitals at various Civil War battle sites.  After the war she worked to make sure Union soldiers received back pay and pensions. She is buried in Linwood Cemetery.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.