The Extra Mile, Points of Light Volunteer Pathway, is just a few blocks from the White House. This one-mile pathway includes 33 bronze medallions on the walkways, commemorating 37 great Americans who established social movements and dedicated their lives to serving and turning America into a better country.
The Points of Light Foundation created this monument, honoring its leading members, George Bush, 41st President of the United States, and Barbara Bush, for supporting and promoting volunteer work for the greater good. The Bushs dedicated the path on October 14th, 2005.
It begins at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street and continues north on 15th Street to G Street, NW. You can find more information about it on the official website.
Here are the eleven women you will meet on the Extra Mile Path:
Ethel Percy Andrus
Founder of the American Association of Retired Persons
Andrus (1884-1967) was an educator and the first woman high school principal in California. Noticing that retired teachers have a low pension and no health insurance, in 1947, she founded the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA). Eleven years later, she expanded NRTA membership to all professions and founded the AARP. In 2018 there were more than 38 million AARP members.
Hull House Co-Founder
Addams (1860-1935) was a social reformer who dedicated her life to social activism; for her actions, she received the Nobel Peace Prize (1931), the first American woman.
Her activism and leadership activities included founding the social work profession in the United States, co-founding the Hull House settlement (1889) in Chicago, and serving as one of the leaders of the suffrage and peace movements.
Susan B Anthony
Prominent Suffrage Leader
Anthony (1820-1906) was a social reformer who started her activism journey in the abolition and temperance movements. After the Civil War, she revived the suffrage movement by co-founding the American Equal Rights Association; it was one of the many organizations she founded. As a national leader, she organized conventions, toured the country, lectured about the cause, helped establish women’s rights newspapers, lobbied Congress and state legislatures, and participated in many states’ suffrage campaigns.
The 19th Amendment became known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. It was ratified in the U.S. Constitution on August 26th, 1920.
Ruth Standish Baldwin / Dr. George Haynes
Founders of the National Urban League
In 1905, the same year her husband, the railroad tycoon, had passed away, Baldwin (1865-1934) helped form the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, helping African American women to find employment. Five years later, she continued her commitment to African American education and co-founded with George Edmund Haynes in 1910 the civil rights organization, National Urban League, empowering African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights. The National Urban League is still “dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice” and works to elevate underserved groups.
Leader of the Anti-Lynching Movement
Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) was a fearless journalist and activist who dedicated her life to speaking, organizing, and leading the civil rights and women’s movements.
As a journalist, she researched hundreds of racist lynchings, traveling across the country, investigating each case, publishing her findings, and raising national and international awareness of the injustice. Her campaign helped decrease the number of lynchings.
Deaf-Blind Political Activist
Following a childhood illness, Keller (1880-1968) became deaf-blind before she turned 2. By the age of 7, she met Anne Sullivan, a visually impaired young teacher who became her teacher and companion for 49 years. Keller learned to speak English and to ‘hear’ by touching people’s lips. In 1904, at 24, she graduated from Radcliffe College and became the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After college, she dedicated her life to improving the lives of others, especially disabled people. She wrote books, toured the world, lectured, and advocated on behalf of deaf and blind people.
The American Red Cross Founder
Barton (1821-1912) expressed compassion and entrepreneurship skills from a young age. In her early twenties, Barton founded a school for workers’ children and later established the first free school in New Jersey. During the Civil War, she worked as a nurse; her dedication got her the nickname ‘The angel of the battlefield.’ After the war, she established the Office of Missing Soldiers, helping identify soldiers, reunite them with their families, or bring them to appropriate bury. In 1881, the American Red Cross was formed, and Barton became its first president.
Maud and Ballington Booth
The Founders of Volunteers of America
Booth (1865-1948) started her social work when she was 17, as an officer of the Salvation Army in London slums. In 1887 she and her husband, Ballington Booth, relocated to the US following the Salvation Army mission. Nine years later, they left the Salvation Army and co-founded the Volunteers of America. Over the years, the organization has established many philanthropic programs, including clothes distribution, Thanksgiving meals, soup kitchens and “Penny Pantries,” thrift stores, and affordable housing.
Volunteers of America is still one the largest charities in the US.
Carson (1907-1964) was a marine biologist and nature writer. Her book, Silent Spring (1962), reviewed the harmful effects of synthetic pesticides on the environment, warned the public about the dangers of environmental pollution, and encouraged scientists and governments to take action and find environmentally friendly solutions. Silent Spring sparked the ecology movement in the US and abroad.
Linda and Millard Fuller
Habitat for Humanity Founders
In 1976 the Fullers founded the Christian organization of Habitat for Humanity, helping people to: “achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.“ As of 2020, it has been operating in more than 70 countries worldwide, helping 39 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes.
Among their ongoing programs are Women Build, which educates women on construction skills and organizes the National Women Build Week, and the Youth Programs, which involves young people in Habitat’s mission and work.
Charlotte & Luther Gulick
Camp Fire USA Founders
In 1910, the Gulicks founded Camp Fire Girls as the sister organization to the Boy Scouts of America; it was the first nonsectarian, multicultural organization for girls in America.
In 1975 it became a co-ed organization and was renamed Camp Fire Boys and Girls; in 2001, it was renamed again to Camp Fire USA.
Camp Fire offers youth development, empowerment, and leadership programs, encouraging them to find their voice and spark while educating them to care for nature and others.
Social Reformer and Advocate for the Proper Treatment of the Indigent Mentally Ill
After Dix (1802-1887) witnessed the inhumane conditions of the mentally ill, she dedicated her life to reforming the system to provide adequate care. Dix toured the United States and Europe, visited hundreds of facilities, wrote reports to state legislatures, and worked with the committees to draft the legislation. In addition, she founded thirty-two hospitals.
Notable Underground Railroad Conductor and Civil Right Activist
Tubman (c.1822-1913) lived about 30 years in slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After she escaped and became a free person in Pennsylvania, she returned to Maryland more than 13 times over a decade as a conductor of the Underground Railroad – a secret network of routes to escape slavery. She not only rescued hundreds of enslaved people, but she also assisted them in their new life as free people.
Mary White Ovington
Co-Founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Ovington (1865-1951) was a journalist and activist; She dedicated her life to fighting for social and racial justice. In 1909, she was one of the founding members of the NAACP and served in several roles within the organization for 38 years. Ovington encouraged women to join the organization, toured the country, gave lectures, and wrote several books and articles about the subject and the movement.
She is sharing her medallion with W. E. B. Du Bois, who was a sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, the first African-American to earn a doctorate, and one of the founders of the NAACP.
Juliette Gordon Low
Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA
In 1912, inspired by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides movements in Europe, Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927) established the Girl Scouts of the USA in her hometown, Savannah, GA, and with her money and connection, grew it into a national movement. Her goal was to teach the girls life skills, empower them, and build their independence and leadership while having fun. Girl Scouts has become an integral part of the lives of millions of girls because of her efforts.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Founder of the Special Olympics
Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009) was a member of the Kennedy family, social worker, and philanthropist. Her eldest sister was born with intellectual disabilities, inspiring Kennedy Shriver to change the public’s perception of people with disabilities.
In 1963 Kennedy Shriver started running a day camp for children with intellectual and physical disabilities at her home in Maryland, giving children with disability the opportunity to participate in organized athletic events. Five years later, the annual event evolved into the first Special Olympics games in Chicago, attended by 1,000 athletes from the U.S. and Canada. In 1988, International Olympic Committee recognized the Special Olympics.
Continue your exploration of women’s landmarks in downtown DC following this self-guided tour to visit seven renovated call boxes commemorating prominent women.