Over a five-year period, thousands of volunteers from across the country packed boxes of black hair care products and shipped them to to the Middle East, Asia and Africa. People came together in church groups, and book clubs, and at first, they packed products they bought themselves, but the movement slowly grew.
In return, they received heartfelt thank-you notes, letters, cards, emails and photographs from soldiers expressing gratitude for the supplies and sharing the experience of serving their country far from home. In an era which still questions women's ability to engage in active combat, the Sister Soldier project acknowledged their unique hardships, and allowed them to shed light on their own experiences.
The stories of these women, thier notes, postcards, and letters have been preserved for future generations. The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute acquired the documents in July from Myraline Morris Whitaker, a Californiar esident who founded the Sister Soldier Project. The library, which houses more than 3,200 manuscripts, 100,000 volumes of books and periodicals, and films, photos and audiovisual material, has installed the documents into its collection, along with other documents chronicling the lives of American women who have made outstanding contributions.
To celebrate veterans day, Myraline Morris Whitaker and Schlesinger Library curator, Katheryn Jacobs, joined Callie Crossley to read letters, discuss the project and share in some of the stories of these woman.