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Laurinda C. Andrade

From immigrant textile mill worker to Ivy League student to pioneering New Bedford educator, Laurinda C. Andrade (1899-1980) overcame barriers of tradition, poverty, language, and discrimination to establish the first high school Portuguese language department in the United States at New Bedford High School.

Sarah Rotch Arnold

Nineteenth-century New Bedford’s Sarah Rotch Arnold (1786-1860) was dedicated to her community, social reform, religious tolerance, and horticultural beauty.

Sister Aurora Helena Avelar

New Bedford’s Mother Teresa, Sister Aurora Helena Avelar (1903-1999) was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to the underserved.
Awashonks

Awashonks

Awashonks was a Native American woman who served as a chief of the Sakonnet (variations include Sogkonate, Seconit, Seaconnet, etc.) people in what is today Little Compton, Rhode Island before, during, and after King Philip’s War (1675-1676). The name Awashonks appears in official records more than the name of any other Native American woman.

Emily Howland Bourne

Emily Howland Bourne (1835-1922) showed the same careful planning in her inspired philanthropy as her father Jonathan showed as one of New Bedford’s most successful whaling merchants.
Loretta Bourque

Loretta Bourque

A dedicated activist who advocated for New Bedford’s neighborhoods, Loretta Bourque (1920-2018) was referred to as “Mayor of the South End” for her special commitment to this section of the city. Through the Cove Street Neighborhood Association, Loretta led efforts against such problems as negligent absentee landlords, crime and drugs. Loretta’s influence was a key factor that led the New Bedford City Council to pass the city’s Problem Properties Ordinance.

Martha Bailey Briggs

Born in 1838 to Black abolitionists, Martha Bailey Briggs (1838-1889) realized at a young age that education was essential to ending slavery.

Rosalind Poll Brooker

Rosalind Poll Brooker (1928-2016) was a trailblazer for women in the fields of law and politics.

Lydia Grinnell Brown

New Bedford’s Lydia Grinnell Brown (1895-1945) became the first African American graduate of Simmons College in Boston.

Maria (Maja) Capek

Unitarian church leader Maja Capek (1888-1966) served New Bedford’s North Unitarian Church, where daughters of immigrant mill workers from Central Europe could meet for games and classes in sewing, millinery, and cooking.
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