Russian-born Golda Meir (1898-1978), who would become the fourth Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974), grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a youth, she created a fundraising project that successfully raised money for textbooks to be given to Milwaukee classmates who could not afford them.
At the age of 15, she left Milwaukee for Denver because, at that time in Milwaukee, married women were not allowed to be teachers. Though she was not married yet, her parents had already chosen a husband for her, in keeping with their Jewish tradition. Golda Meir aspired for more in her life. In time, she would become Israel’s first woman prime minister and the third woman to hold that title worldwide, after Sirimavo Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka) and Indira Ghandi (India).
Golda Meir’s bestselling autobiography, My Life, speaks to her aspirations, accomplishments, and thoughts about world politics and government philosophies. In it, she states that Denver was where her true education began. Her remarkable story became a staple in homes around the world.
It is fitting that the home where she lived in Denver is now part of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership on the campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver. You can read about it here: msudenver.edu/golda/house/museum. According to its website:
“The Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership at MSU Denver provides a comprehensive and unique program that examines the role and meaning of leadership in both public affairs and the arts. The Center conveys its message that leadership matters at all levels of civic life through conferences, an academic course of study and guest speakers.
“Established in 1993, the Center is a nonpartisan, educational project. The not-for-profit Center is connected to the Political Science Department at MSU Denver and offers programming for the historic Golda Meir House and Museum located on the Auraria Campus in Denver. Because Golda Meir was twice an immigrant to new lands before becoming a world leader, the Center pays particular attention to the idea that leadership can emerge from the most unlikely places.”
The Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership is the third stop on our Colorado Trail!