Historic Washington women: Lillian Walker and Bonnie Dunbar

Historic Washington women: Lillian Walker and Bonnie Dunbar

Civil rights pioneer Lillian Walker (Photos courtesy of Legacy Washington)

March is Women’s History Month, and you don’t have to look far to find amazing and in-depth stories about notable Washington women who have left their mark.

We’re proud that our Legacy Washington team has produced several outstanding biographies and oral histories on women who were trailblazers in one way or another.

We’re remembering two pioneering women, one in civil rights, the other in space exploration.

Long before Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks gained fame, Lillian Walker and her husband, James, were organizing and “educating” Bremerton residents about racial equality. They staged sit-ins and pickets, and eventually integrated lunch counters and other business establishments, worked with schools and promoted equality through their YWCA, NAACP, their church, and other organizations. Lillian passed away in 2012 at age 98.

To learn more about the civil rights leader, read the biography and oral history about her, “Lillian Walker: Civil rights pioneer,” written, by John C. Hughes, chief historian for Legacy Washington.

Bonnie Dunbar, the first female astronaut from Washington.

Bonnie Dunbar grew up in the Yakima Valley and graduated from Sunnyside High School before becoming the first female astronaut from Washington and only the seventh American woman ever to fly in space when she was part of a space shuttle mission in 1985. Dunbar flew in five space flights, logging more than 1,200 hours in space.

Go here to read the profile on the space scientist, entitled “Bonnie J. Dunbar, PhD: An adventurous mind.” It’s written by Legacy Washington Director Trova Heffernan.

You can find other biographies and profiles by Legacy Washington on noteworthy Washington women (and men) by going here.

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