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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. Her work extended beyond the classroom to the streets of New Bedford, where she networked for those in need. In 1996, the Sister Aurora Helena Avelar Community Center at Crapo and Thompson Streets was named in her honor.

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.

Elizabeth Terry Delano

Fairhaven artist Elizabeth Terry Delano (1845-1933) created still-life paintings, portraits and landscapes in her studio at 91 Pleasant Street.

Rosetta Douglass

Abolitionist and social reformer Rosetta Douglass (1839-1906) continued a family legacy of activism that began in New Bedford with her father, Frederick Douglass.

Marie Equi

New Bedford prepared physician and political agitator Marie Equi (1872-1952) for a lifetime of social justice advocacy. Marie’s Oregon medical practice and nationwide activism were influenced by her working class experiences while growing up in New Bedford.

Sister Rosellen Gallogly

Considered a living saint in New Bedford, Sister Mary Rosellen Gallogly (1930-2018) was a pioneer in developing services for the homeless, notably as director of Market Ministries Meals and Shelter, known today as Sister Rose House.

Geraldine Gomes

Geraldine “Gerry” A. Gomes (1938-2011) was the first minority woman to run for political office in New Bedford.

Cornelia Grinnell

Abolitionist, women’s rights advocate and women’s club founder, Cornelia Grinnell Willis (1825-1904) advocated for and secured Harriet Jacobs’ freedom, making it possible for Harriet to write and publish what became an edifying “slave narrative.”

Mary Ann Flanagan Hayden

A “second mother to many South End boys” in New Bedford, Mary Ann Flanagan Hayden (1873-1946) founded the Donaghy Boys Club, becoming the first female director of a Boys Club in America.

Jennie Horne

The War on Poverty initiatives of the 1960s had a dedicated New Bedford foot soldier in Jennie Horne (1920-1998).
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