Aileen Hernandez

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Aileen Clark Hernandez (May 23, 1926 – February 13, 2017) was an African-American who fought for the rights of women and people with less rights. During her life, she was the president of the National Organization for Women and also worked in government for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Early life[change | change source]

Hernandez's parents were Charles and Ethel Clark. They moved from Jamaica to the United States. Hernandez grew up in Brooklyn, New York City with her two brothers. Ethel Clark was a worker in a clothing factory. Charles Clark was a worker for an art supply store. All of the children in the Clark family learned to do work around the house such as sewing and cooking.

Education[change | change source]

Hernandez went to Bay Ridge High School. She was a successful student and almost at the top of her class. Later, she went to Howard University, in Washington, D.C. She was educated at other universities, such as University of Oslo, New York University, and the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1959, she received a master's degree from University of California at Los Angeles.

Career[change | change source]

Her first job was with the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union. She also worked with Alan Cranston and at the Fair Employment Practice Commission. Later, she was the first female on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hernandez started working with businesses to help them hire more women and people with less rights in 1966. She was vice president of the National Organization for Women in 1967 and became president in 1971.

Death[change | change source]

Hernandez died from complications related to dementia at the age of 90.[1]

Honors and awards[change | change source]

  • Woman of the Year, Community Relations Conference of Southern California; 1961
  • Howard University Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement in Labor and Public Service; 1968
  • Ten Most Distinguished Women in the San Francisco Bay Area (The San Francisco Examiner); 1969
  • Honoree of the National Urban Coalition for Distinguished Service to Urban Communities; 1985
  • Regents Scholar in Residence, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Silver Spur Award (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association); 1995
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Award (Democratic Women’s Forum in California); 1996

References[change | change source]

  • "Aileen Clarke Hernandez." Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 13, Gale, 1996. Biography in Context. Accessed May 4, 2018.
  • "Aileen Hernandez." UXL Biographies, UXL, 2011. Student Resources in Context. Accessed May 4, 2018.
  • "Aileen Clarke Hernandez." DISCovering U.S. History, Gale, 1997. Student Resources in Context. Accessed May 4, 2018.
  • Sandomir, Richard. "Aileen Hernandez, Ex-NOW President and Feminist Trailblazer, Dies at 90." New York Times, Mar. 1, 2017, p. A28(L). Student Resources in Context. Accessed May 4, 2018.