(From the History Makers column in Power For Today Magazine, May 2009, Copyright 2009 Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries. All rights reserved.)
Nina Evans Allender
(1872-1957)Born Nina Evans in Auburn, Kansas, Nina Evans Allender was a longtime suffragist and member of the National Women’s Party. As she had studied art, the National Women’s Party was able to boast that it was the sole women’s organization with its own cartoonist. She served as the president of the Washington, D.C. branch National American Woman’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and of the Stanton Club, a local suffragist club. In 1914, Alice Paul successfully convinced Nina to draw cartoons for The Suffragist – and her cartoons remained featured in this and Equal Rights long into the 1920s.
It was thanks to the work of Nina Evans Allender that the image of the suffragist changed from roudy, unattractive, and selfish to dignified and strong. As suffragism gained ground during World War I, Nina continued to support these women with her strong cartoons and image known as the Allender girl – in which a suffragist was portrayed as slender, dignified, and energetic. Nina also used images of women as mothers, students, activists, and feminists to showcase the whole spectrum of women and their positive capabilities.
What are you gifted to do? So often we don’t use the gifts we have because we think it would be more desirable to have another gift – a different gift that someone else has and displays well. Nina Evans Allender shows us the power of using the gifts that we have for a greater purpose. We don’t have to compare what we can do to what someone else can do; if we do what we are able, we can rest assured that we have done what we can, and we have done enough. We also see the importance of standing up for what’s right even if it is unpopular.
The image today features one of Nina Evans Allender’s “Allender girl.” It is one of her famous cartoons.