Champion of women’s rights. Pioneer in bilingual education. Three-term state legislator.“Her mere presence seemed to link the traditions of old Spain to this lost child, the city of Santa Fé.”
María Concepción Ortiz y Pino de Kleven was a legend in the state.
She was a very modern person, he added, “while remaining firmly anchored in the past. She saw herself as the bearer and preserver of the old Spanish culture.”…Concha’s roots in New Mexico go deep. Nine generations of her family lived in the state before her…
Just 17 years after women won the right to vote in 1919, she became New Mexico’s third female legislator, and by far its most influential…. In 1941, barely 30 years old, unmarried and Hispanic, she became Democratic majority whip — the first female in the U.S. to hold such a position in a state government. Her causes included letting women serve on juries, equalizing funding for urban and rural schools, and mandatory Spanish-language instruction for seventh- and eighth-grade students.
“All the legislation I introduced was to change things,” she later reflected….
Five U.S. Presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter — appointed her to national boards such as the National Commission on Architectural Barriers, the National Advisory Council to the National Institutes of Health (twice) and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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Concha Ortiz y Pino with Frank Baca at San Juan Pueblo (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), circa 1929. See also,
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