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Historic Huntsville to Open Free ‘Rooted in History’ Exhibit Honoring Area’s Historic Women

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The City of Huntsville continues to observe National Preservation Month and the Huntsville Historical Foundation has announced that it will open a new exhibit with the theme “Rooted in History.” This year, it will pay tribute to the women leaders of Huntsville in the 20th century.

“This exhibit is a tribute to the people who just refused to take no for an answer and kept moving forward,” Donna Castellano, executive director of the Huntsville Historical Foundation, told News 19.

“It’s to show the diversity of artists, to show the diversity of women changemakers in our region,” said Tiavalya Befecadu, a textile artist from Huntsville.

The historic Harrison Brothers Hardware in Huntsville Square will honor figures ranging from Madison County’s first elected woman, Alice Boarman Baldridge, to other suffragists and activists from multiple eras.

“This exhibit takes them back to the 1980s, where they were civil rights activists, where they stood up for equal pay for women, and where they fought for social justice,” Castellano said. “We thought that was an important part of our preservation mission, is to bring out the history of not just black women and women and what they have done for our national, local and national history. And we wanted to go beyond the suffrage movement because these women didn’t stop their activism, and their story didn’t end in 1920.”

From clay pottery to quilts, artists featured in the exhibit with deep ties to Huntsville believe that visitors young and old can be inspired while visiting.

“They are meant to be used,” potter Laura Silberman said of her pottery, which will be available for purchase after the exhibition. “So the message is there visually, so if someone could just display it, they can also use it on a day-to-day basis. So the message is reinforced again and again and with someone who is lucky enough to use it in their daily life, you suddenly make the message known again and again and again.

“I just think there’s always a chance to educate our young people about what’s going on, where we came from and how we’re going to move forward with our future,” Befecadu said.

Exhibit hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week until September 6. Free entry.


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