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NKU to host regional premiere of 'Dreamers & Doers: VOICES of Kentucky Women'

For immediate release…
Thursday – April 30, 2015

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Kentucky women and their achievements will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 6, when the public is invited to a free northern Kentucky premiere of the film Dreamers & Doers: VOICES of Kentucky Women, at the Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics George and Ellen Rieveschl Griffin Hall. The film will begin at 6:15 p.m., and will be followed by a discussion at 7:15 p.m.

The hour-long documentary is presented by the Kentucky Commission on Women. The regional showing is hosted by the Northern Kentucky Forum and sponsored by Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America. The documentary is the work of Lexington filmmaker Michael Breeding and showcases more than 40 women and their contributions to Kentucky.

The PBS-style documentary brings to the forefront the valuable contributions made by these women who pushed boundaries and left their signature on our state history. They have impacted science, literature, politics, arts, education, business, religion, athletics, entertainment, and the military in Kentucky. But often, their stories are not heard alongside the familiar names most associated with our Commonwealth’s rich history. The documentary will be provided to every middle and high school in the Commonwealth, as well as all public libraries in time for the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

Highlighted in the documentary are such personalities as:

  • Josephine Henry:  suffragette who led the charge for women’s rights
  • Martha Layne Collins: The first and only woman governor
  • Dr. Grace James: A pediatrician, she was the first African-American on staff at Louisville Children’s Hospital and on faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • Verna Mae Slone: Appalachian author
  • Nettie Depp: Education pioneer and reformist
  • Victoria “Tori” Murden McClure: The first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and the first woman and first American to ski to the geographic South Pole. She is currently president of Spalding University.
  • Mae Street Kidd: African-American politician and businesswoman
  • Willa Beatrice Brown: African-American aviator
  • State Sen. Georgia Davis Powers: Civil rights icon who became the first African-American and first woman elected to the Kentucky State Senate
  • Jennifer Lawrence: Academy Award-winning actor
  • Helen Thomas: A member of the White House press corps who covered the administrations of eleven U.S. presidents
  • Alice Dunnigan: An African-American news reporter and civil rights activist
  • Loretta Lynn: Country music singer/songwriter and four-time Grammy Award winner
  • Rep. Katherine Gudger Langley: The first woman elected to Congress from Kentucky

Portions of the documentary were filmed before a live audience last December at NKU, including reflections by former governor Martha Layne Collins, who was Kentucky’s first and only woman to serve as governor. Ms. Collins plans to attend the NKU showing, and will discuss the documentary with the audience afterward. NKU history professor Andrea Watkins will facilitate the discussion. Dr. Watkins is a contributor to the newly published Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times (The University of Georgia Press, 2015).

The Northern Kentucky Forum is a collaboration of Vision 2015, Legacy, and the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement. The Forum, which is nonpartisan, holds about 10 events each year, each of them free and open to the public.

“The Northern Kentucky Forum exists to learn more about public affairs in our state and region, and this film provides an important understanding of one very important aspect of Kentucky’s public affairs. That is, the long and sustained struggle of women to gain a voice,” said Carla Landon, president of the Northern Kentucky Forum. “The public should see this film. To understand today’s dialogues and debates about inclusion, it is important to know about the battles so many others fought to make advances in past.”

An informal reception with light refreshments will begin at 5:30 p.m. outside the Griffin Hall Digitorium and precede the film’s showing.

The event is free but seating is limited. RSVP at

Major funding for Dreamers & Doers: VOICES of Kentucky Women was provided by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., The Gheens Foundation, and Frontier Nursing University.

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