Rosalie Wahl was a pioneering figure in Minnesota law during the second half of the twentieth century. She became the state's first female Supreme Court justice at a time when there were no women on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the late 1970s, eight female employees from the Citizens’ National Bank in Willmar stirred up controversy in their town and across the country when they filed a complaint against the bank for unequal pay and gender discrimination. The Willmar 8, as they were called, formed their own union and went on strike for two years. MN90 producer Marisa Helms tells us the Willmar 8 came to symbolize the uphill climb many American women face when seeking equity in the workplace.
Known for their tight harmonies and vivacious personalities, the Andrews Sisters of Minneapolis topped the charts from the end of the Great Depression until the 1950s. MN90 producer Marisa Helms tells us that the three sisters, LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, had 15 gold records, 113 charted hits, and sold 100-million records in all, with more top-ten songs than Elvis Presley or the Beatles.
Martha Ripley was a nurse by training when she moved to Minneapolis with her husband in 1883. Her expertise in medical care and her commitment to the rights of some of the city's destitute young mothers led to her to open a hospital dedicated to their care. Allison Herrera tells us about her remarkable life.
Divorce in Minnesota's nineteenth century Norwegian-Lutheran community was a rarity. Legal separation between a leading pastor and his wife was unheard of. But an 1879 court case in Holden Township led to both those outcomes, and triggered a public debate about married women's legal rights.
For nearly two years, eight female employees of Willmar's Citizens National Bank, dubbed the Willmar 8, picketed in front of their downtown workplace seeking pay equity. They never got pay increases, they never got strike-related compensation, and after the strike, only one woman returned to work at the bank for more than a few months. But for the women's movement, the 1977-1979 strike was a resounding success. It was a chink in the armor of the institutional sexism women faced in the workplace.