(KNOXVILLE, TN) May 29 — President Obama is posthumously awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. This highest civilian award in the United States, recognizes people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“Juliette Gordon Low was a visionary, whose legacy lives on in the 59 million former American Girl Scouts,” said Booth Kammann, chief executive officer of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians. “It is so fitting that during our 100th anniversary year, Juliette should be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
From the beginning, Girl Scouts has insisted on being a voice for all girls. Juliette Gordon Low’s first 18 Girl Scouts included girls from influential Savannah families, and girls from the Female Orphan Asylum and Congregation Mickve Israel. As early as 1917, the first African American troops were established, as well as troops for disabled girls. One of the earliest Latina troops was formed in 1922. Girl Scout troops supported Japanese American girls in internment camps in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, Girl Scouts was leading the charge to fully integrate all of its troops. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Girl Scouts “a force for desegregation.”
Low’s exemplary life, work, and legacy have received many forms of recognition in the past. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill authorizing a stamp in honor of Low. On October 28, 1979, Low was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and on December 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill naming a new federal building in Savannah in honor of her—the second federal building in history to be named after a woman. Additionally, a bust of Low is displayed in the state capitol of Georgia.
About the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians…
The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians has more than 20,000 members from Southwest Virginia, through all of East Tennessee, and into North Georgia. Its vision is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting is open to all girls ages 5 – 17, and financial assistance is always available to ensure that every girl can be a Girl Scout.