Alice Mary Robertson – First Woman to Preside Over the House

Fighter For Social Justice


Sioux Indians, Engraving. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)

Alice Mary Robertson’s story is a remarkable testament to human willpower and the strength of good over evil. Born into a family that celebrated diversity and human rights, the young activist sought a career path that would enable her to help weaker ethnic groups while maintaining her patriotism. Her story is replete with instances where she had to overcome prejudice and accepted social norms, etching out her path and changing the course of history.

Young Alice grew up listening to Indian lore: stories of cunning, bravery, and sacrifice. Her parents were both Christian missionaries who made educating and helping integrate Creek Indians into American society their life labor. They worked tirelessly to help ease the plight of the tribesmen, educating the Indians, and translating many literary works, including the Bible, into the Creek Indian dialogue.
Her maternal grandfather, Samuel Worcester, was amongst the early missionaries who envisioned a society where Native Americans tribes would not have to suffer countless injustices and could raise their kids as equal citizens. He accompanied the Cherokees on the infamous Trail of Tears in 1838 as the tribe was forcefully removed from its ancestral lands to make way for the Georgia Gold Rush. As many as 8,000 out of the 16,543 Cherokee tribesmen perished along the way from malnutrition, disease, and exposure to the brutal elements.

Alice’s family lived amongst the Creek Indians, and the young girl quickly mastered five Indian dialects. She was homeschooled by her parents, and, at the age of 18, went on to study at Elmira College in New York, graduating near the top of her class.

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