Meet Influential Woman Alice Rabson (1920-2012)

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by Rebecca Barnes


Alice Rabson attending my Grandfather’s 90th Birthday party.

“Even if it’s unpopular, you have to stand up for what you believe in.”

Prince William Living has an Influential Women Award. So I thought I would share with you some of the influential women in my life. Meet Alice Rabson.  Alice was a petite, outspoken, powerhouse of a woman.  One of the most intelligent women I have ever met, Alice was kind, listened, but was always firm and unwavering in her convictions. Here are just a few highlights of her life:

  • Marched in the rain in downtown Fredericksburg with a sandwich board for equal rights while people threw things at her.
  • Helped found NOW in Fredericksburg
  • Picketed a barbershop that would not cut black hair
  • Founded the Rappahannock Area Council on Domestic Violence, now known as Empowerhouse
  • An avid supporter of allowing men from UVA to take classes at Mary Washington, she was dismayed that UVA would not allow women. She contacted the ACLU (She would later be president of the local chapter), and the US 4th circuit court ruled that no state-supported college or university could practice gender discrimination.
  • Was a professor of psychology and helped to form what is today the core of the psychology department at the University of Mary Washington.
  • Joined the Peace Corps at the age of 65 and worked in the Marshall Islands

What I learned from Alice:

  • Never be afraid to do what is right
  • Always use your voice when others have none
  • Look for opportunities that others may miss
  • You must help others
  • Educate yourself and those around you.
  • Always strive for equality and opportunity for all.
  • Never do anything without going all-in
  • You are never too old to make a difference

Nominations for our Influential Women Awards are now open!


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