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2020 “Badass Women of Chicago History” Event

What It’s About

We had our second annual storytelling event celebrating Women’s History Month on March 22, 2019. We SOLD OUT. We hope you’ll join us in 2020, and in the meantime, please read about it here. 

At “Badass Women in Chicago History,” the audience won’t hear names they already know, like Jane Addams and Gwendolyn Brooks. True to the Chicago Detours ethos of bringing people to explore stories and places locals don’t even know, the characters presented will be Chicago heroines on the peripheries of history.

We will donate a portion of the ticket sales to the Chicago Women’s Health Center, and everything from the raffle. 


This year’s presenters are in no particular order:

  • City of Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson will use his colorful, personal approach to history to share the larger-than-life tale of nightclub entertainer Texas Guinan’s time in Chicago’s infamous Green Mill.
  • Presenter Velma Gladney has been motivating and educating audiences through her storytelling for the past twenty years. Velma will tell the inspiring story of Bessie Coleman, an aviation pioneer and the first woman of African American and Native American descent to earn a pilot’s license.
  • Mary Lu Seidel is a lifelong community organizer and the Director of Community Engagement for Preservation Chicago. She is inspired by the life of Gale Cincotta, whose tireless fight to make housing affordable and equitable for all families made a lasting impact not just in Chicago but across the US.
  • Writer and artist Laura Hawbaker will tell the story of Leona Woods Marshall, the often overlooked American physicist who was the only woman present at the creation of the world’s first nuclear chain reaction.
  • Actor, scientist and storyteller Krista Damico will introduce the audience to the godmother of forensic science, Frances Glessner Lee. Her intricately detailed crime scene dioramas made her an expert on homicide investigation.
  • Elizabeth Harper is a Chicago poet and the host of Elizabeth’s Crazy Little Thing variety show at Phyllis’ Musical Inn. She’ll share how Phyllis Jaskot founded that historic institution in 1954 as a polka bar in what was then Wicker Park’s Polish Broadway.
  • Julia Berkowitz is an IBEW electrician and recording secretary for the Illinois Labor History Society. She will explore the organizing efforts of women steel workers in the Chicago area in the 1970s.

Call for Raffle Prizes

Do you work for a business, cultural organization, restaurant, bar, yoga studio or any other awesome place that might have gift cards or other prizes you would like to share? Email us [email protected] You will be supporting the Chicago Women’s Health Center.

Event Details

Stay tuned!

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This event in 2018 was a huge success! We sold out and had awesome speakers. Read about it in our recap here.




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Call: 312.350.1131
E-Mail: [email protected]