The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest.
The legendary crusade for women's suffrage began in 1848 at a historic meeting in Seneca Falls, New York. Following the convention, the demand for the vote became a centerpiece of the women’s rights movement. Activists began raising public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. The lengthy battle culminated in 1920 when the country ratified the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the Experience Cortland staff will be releasing a blog series celebrating the achievements of Cortland County women throughout history. From an Army general to a women's rights advocate, to a charity executive and Television's first Better Crocker, "Iconic Cortland County Women: Celebrating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment" will showcase the area's rich women's history.
Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody is a retired general of the United States Army, who was the first female four-star general. She dedicated 38 years of her life to military service, and helped pave the way for future female leaders in the military and beyond. Though Dunwoody resided in Cortland County for only a short time, it was a stepping stone toward her unprecedented accomplishments.
Dunwoody was born at Fort Belvoir, Va. in 1953, where her father was a career Army officer. She lived in Germany and Belgium while growing up, and graduated from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe American High School in 1971. After high school, she attended SUNY Cortland with the intention to become a physical education teacher and coach, but she found her real passion when she attended a four-week Army introductory program her junior year, followed by an 11-week Women's Officer Orientation Course. After graduating from SUNY Cortland with a degree in physical education in 1975, she was direct commissioned into the Women's Army Corps.
Dunwoody’s military career is very impressive. She was in charge of Army Logistics where she handled budgets of over $60 billion. Dunwoody was a Parachute Officer and an Executive Officer to the Director, and also served as Commander of the Army Materiel Command, one of the largest commands in the army. In 2008, after 33 years of service, Dunwoody became the first woman in U.S. military history to be promoted to four-star general.
After a distinguished 38-year military career, Dunwoody retired Aug. 15, 2012. During her retirement ceremony, Raymond Odierno, who served as the Chief of Staff of the Army said, "You have shown pride in your units, you have challenged your subordinates, you have been loyal to your leaders, you have been a friend to your colleagues, and you have been a selfless servant to those who have been placed in your charge. You have made every unit you have been in a better unit. Your legacy is clear."
Since her retirement, Dunwoody has published A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General in 2015. In 2019, Dunwoody was the recipient of the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the United States Military Academy at West Point, given to an individual who personifies the motto of the academy: “Duty, Honor, Country."
Check back next week for the first blog of the series. I will be highlighting Homer native, Adelaide Hawley Cumming, a Willet, NY native who went on to be television's original Betty Crocker.
1. "File: Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody.jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Gen._Ann_E._Dunwoody.jpg&oldid=285301008.
2. "File: Dunwoody GenAnn 4stars 081114-N-2855B-170.jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Dunwoody_GenAnn_4stars_081114-N-2855B-170.jpg&oldid=248596524.
3. "File: U.S. Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding Gen., of Army Materiel Command listens to remarks, at 3rd Annual Sexual Harassment-Sexual Assault Prevention Summit, in Arlington, Va., Mar 100330-A-VO565-005.jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:U.S._Army_Gen._Ann_E._Dunwoody,_commanding_Gen.,_of_Army_Materiel_Command_listens_to_remarks,_at_3rd_Annual_Sexual_Harassment-Sexual_Assault_Prevention_Summit,_in_Arlington,_Va.,_Mar_100330-A-VO565-005.jpg&oldid=292721156.
4. "File: Ann Dunwoody (1994).jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ann_Dunwoody_(1994).jpg&oldid=285053641.
5. "File: Ann Dunwoody. Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm.jpg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ann_Dunwoody._Operation_Desert_Shield,_Operation_Desert_Storm.jpg&oldid=285051229>.
6. “General Ann Dunwoody Biography.” West Point Association of Graduates, Retrieved June 8, 2020 from https://www.westpointaog.org/events/thayer-award-ann-dunwoody-2019-biography.
7. Lopez, Todd. “First Female Four-Star General Retires from Army.” Www.army.mil, 16 Aug. 2012, www.army.mil/article/85606/.
8. Jacqueline, Kylie. “First to Four.” Women in the Military, 12 Dec. 2016, sites.psu.edu/bootsandbuns/2016/11/04/first-to-four/.
9. Palmer, Mark. “GENERAL ANN DUNWOODY TO RECEIVE 2019 WEST POINT SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD.” West Point Society Of Washington, 27 Apr. 2019, wpswps.org/?p=1612.
10. Schneider, Michelle. “First Female Four-Star General Dunwoody Shares Army Career Insight and Advice with USMA.” 10 Oct. 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020 from www.army.mil/article/228392/first_female_four_star_general_dunwoody_shares_army_career_insight_and_advice_with_usma.
11. Wikipedia contributors. "Ann E. Dunwoody." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Mar. 2020. Web. 8 Jun. 2020.
Interested in Cortland County history? Check out the websites of our local museums to unearth some some delightful historic treasures!