Phenomenal Women (L to R): Rachel Oden, Gladys Andrews, Francesca Ciolino-Volano, Deplesha McGruder, Mariah Bullock, Shanna Graham, Dr. Marva Gumbs-Picou, Danna Wood Webb, Cheryl Wills, Cynthia Gresham, the Hon. Kathie Davidson, Marilyn Ward Ford, Melanie Schnoll Begun and Anna Velez (Beth Dunphe photo) (131337)

March came in like a lion and it didn’t metamorphose into a lamb. Not being fooled by the few warm days, the ladies who lunch haven’t checked their furs into storage yet and a good thing, too. They needed their furs to attend the many events and tributes that have been taking place in celebration of Woman’s History Month.

Billie Holliday Hayes, president of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan branch, welcomed members to a “Celebration of NAACP Women of Excellence,” beginning with a moment of silence for dearly departed member Elizabeth “Betty” Sanders, former executive committee member and chair, Press and Publicity. Sandra May Flowers gave a tribute in music before the tributes began. Presentations were made by Kyndell Reid, Esq., assistant treasurer; Geoffrey Eaton, first vice president; Dr. Dottye Seales, membership chair; Mia-Michele Russell, vice president, Youth Council; Loshanda Loftin, Youth Council; and Billie Holliday Hayes to the Hon. Laura Blackburne, the Hon. Hazel Dukes, Gloria Benfield, Mildred Roxborough, Paula Brown Edme and Shirley Stewart Farmer, respectively.

Shirley Scott was honored twice this month, first by the Rev. Susan Johnson Cook at a special Woman’s History Month event held at the Apollo Theater and again by the National Action Network’s Women’s Auxiliary’s 13th annual Women of Excellence Awards, headed by Kathy Jordan Sharpton, which was held at Astoria Manor.

Another group of women work very hard yet get very little recognition, if any. It’s time they get their just due. These women are known as the nannies. A few are seen at work in our communities, but take a short ride to the downtown residential areas and they can be seen in droves. Working from sun up to sun down, in all types of weather, they watch over their charges, taking them to school, to play dates, to wherever, doing whatever mommy demands (I mean ask, or do I mean demand?).

Do you know in some households there is a nanny for each child? Quite often when a child’s cold gets passed around to all of the family members, the nanny has to take care of them all, but who takes care of the nanny when she, too, catches the cold? As a rule, they go without benefits and although they may accompany the family on vacations, they themselves are not on vacation; for them it’s a working holiday. Although it is not for me to say whether nannies should be content or to even comment on their plights, I will say let’s give them a round of applause.

Here’s an interesting story. An opening reception was recently held for “A Tribute Exhibition to Anthology Film Archives and Jerome Hill” at Maya Stendhal Gallery, located on 545 W. 20th St. The exhibition runs through April 18. The anthology covers the history of filmmaking. As the story goes, the anthology film archives is the brainchild of Jerome Hill, who is described as being “a filmmaker, a painter, a collector of information and curious.” Very rich and very independent, he lived a very privileged life, which allowed him to explore, create and relish in his glory. After having won an Academy Award for his documentary on Dr. Albert Schweitzer, he eventually founded the anthology film archives by providing its initial funding.

So who is this Hill person, and why should you care? Hill was the son of Louis Hill, cousin of Peter Beard, a famous photographer, married to a supermodel and grandson of James Jerome Hill, also known as “the Empire Builder,” one of the great American railroad barons. James Jerome Hill’s claim to fame is that during the last quarter of the 19th century, he acquired much of the land that runs across the Pacific Northwest and into Canada (at the expense of the Native Americans?).

My history teacher told me that the money and the land to build the railroads came from the fund that had been set aside to give every freed adult male slave 40 acres and a mule, but somehow the funds got diverted to build the nation’s railroads. Interesting. Pictures from the opening night reception failed to show any people of color in attendance. I wonder what the archives hold?

Until next week … kisses.