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Oklahoma’s First Female Trailblazer


At a time when women could not vote, Kate Barnard blazed a path of activism and reform.

Kate was 16 years old when she moved to Oklahoma City in 1891. She taught school and trained as a stenographer, but turned to a career in labor organization and charity work by 1906 when she became a champion of reforms such as child labor laws, compulsory education and the eight-hour work day. She was elected one of Oklahoma’s first state officials, but defeated when she spoke up against the exploitation of Indian orphans.

Kate Barnard was the conscience of her generation.

Bob Blackburn, Oklahoma Historical Society

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