The Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame (TWHOF) held its 2013 inductee luncheon on October 28th. Among the six women inducted was Inez Crutchfield.
Mrs. Crutchfield is a Nashville resident with a long and storied history of breaking social and political barriers. She was the first black woman to become a member of the Democratic Women’s Club of Davidson County as well as the first black woman to serve as president and as a member of the organization’s executive board. She is also the first African American to hold an appointed and elected statewide position in the Tennessee State Federation of Democratic Women.
At the national level, she served more than 40 years on the Democratic Party’s Executive Committee. Locally, Crutchfield has had 20 plus years tenure on the board of Meharry Medical College. Mrs. Crutchfield is a graduate of Tennessee State University and a retired faculty member after 40 years of service.
These outstanding women have a life-long legacy of strong personal and professional involvement with their communities; they have excelled in their chosen profession and have had a wide impact on the social, artistic, cultural and economic well-being of our state. Most significantly, they are leaders who have championed other women, elevated the statures of women in Tennessee and continue to consistently advocate for women and family. The six inductees have blazed new trails and helped to improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans.
The remaining five persons inducted were:
• Margaret Behm who has long been a driving force in helping women to overcome barriers to the practice of law, to secure appointments or win judgeships and other elected offices. In 1980, she co-founded Shipley & Behm, the first all-woman law firm in Nashville.
• Dr. Wilsie S. Bishop has risen to great heights and broken the glass ceiling in several positions at East Tennessee State University. She is the first woman to hold the position of Chief Operating Officer and vice woman into leadership positions. She is a charter member of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.
• Dr. Shirley Raines served as President of the University of Memphis. As a result of her leadership, the University of Memphis has the largest honors program in the State of Tennessee and has been recognized as one of the top ten schools in the country for students participating in internships.
• Becca Stevens is the founder of Magdalene House, in Nashville, a sanctuary for women who were on the streets, and the community has thrived under her guidance. Stevens also founded Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that provides a means of employment for the residents of Magdalene. To date, Stevens has raised more than $14 million for the organizations she founded and supports throughout America and overseas, and has never accepted a salary from Thistle Farms.
• Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg founded the local Panel of American Women, the year of MLK’s death, and helped facilitate racial reconciliation, bridge differences, and bring some sanity to a city that was devastated. Her distinguished role as a civil and women’s rights activist; community leader; and a force for social justice is unparalleled.
Women who have been inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame prior to this year were: Martha Craig Daughtrey (2010), Jane Eskind (2010) and Pat Head Summitt (2011).
The Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame (TWHOF) was established in 2012 and is a registered program of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. It is housed at the offices of the TECW in Nashville, Tennessee. The purpose of the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor women who are exceptionally accomplished and have made outstanding, unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political, cultural and political well-being of Tennessee. These women have individually elevated the status of women and championed other women, women’s issues and served as advocates for issues important to women and families. They have helped forge new frontiers and improved quality of life in general so meritorious that it deserves commemoration