Hailed as “the first woman of South Coast politics,” Margaret “MarDee” Xifaras (1945-2019), New Bedford lawyer and stalwart Democrat, was a driving force behind creation of the state’s first public law school, the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth.
As first chair of the Holocaust Education and Memorial Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, Mary Schwartz (1920-2015) led efforts that created the Holocaust Monument at Buttonwood Park in New Bedford in 1998.
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.
When Nora Ouimette (1909-1987) was born in New Bedford, women could not vote! By the time of her death, she had voted in every election she was eligible for, become a labor union organizer, run for Congress and become one of the first female industrial engineers in companies on both the East and West Coasts.