Mildred Jefferson’s US Senate campaign hat, and photo with Phyllis Schlafly, 1998
Among her many firsts, Mildred Jefferson (1927–2010) was the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first woman employed as a surgeon by Boston University Medical Center. Her involvement in the right-to-life movement began in the 1970s. Among the groups she helped to establish and to lead were Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the Right to Life Crusade, Inc., and the Value of Life Committee.
Her commitment to the antiabortion movement led to her political activism in the Republican Party. A self-described Lincoln Republican, she campaigned for pro-life candidates and thrice ran—unsuccessfully—to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate. This hat is from one of those bids for office. In the photograph from 1998 (below), Jefferson poses with Phyllis Schlafly.
Mildred Jefferson Papers, Schlesinger Library
See the Schlesinger Library's research guide on Republican and politically conservative women.