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Arts, Architecture, and Literature

Zoë Byrd Akins (1886–1958)

Zoë Byrd Akins was born on October 30, 1886, in Humansville, Missouri, the second of three children of Thomas Jasper and Sarah Elizabeth Green Akins, who was for many years the chair of the Missouri Republican Party. Through her mother, Akins claimed kinship to a number of prominent Americans, including George Washington and Duff Green.

Kate Chopin (1850–1904)

Kate Chopin began and ended her life in St. Louis, with an interlude as a young wife and mother in New Orleans and rural Louisiana. Her stories of Creole life in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, established her as a talented local-color writer in the southern tradition. Some of her lesser-known stories explored the complexities of the emerging urban culture of the late nineteenth century. The Awakening, her second novel, won her a place in history, both as a writer and as a critic of women’s roles in the family and the community.

Patricia C. McKissack (1944–2017)

Patricia C. McKissack dedicated her career as a writer to showcasing black voices through children’s books and biographies that highlighted prominent African American figures. The prolific author wrote over one hundred books, coauthoring many with her husband, Fredrick L. McKissack. She received some of the highest honors in children’s literature, including a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor, and, with Fredrick, nine Coretta Scott King Author Honors and Awards.

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