Women Who Dared Tour Videos


For over a decade Delta College’s Women’s History Month Committee placed life-sized cutouts of women who dared to step outside their cultural confines and make history around campus. In 2022, the committee decided to transition the tour to a digital format and re-envision the cutouts for new ventures. These videos were taken of their last time together as one grouping.

Part One: Artemesia Gentileschi, Benzir Bhutto, Claudette Colvin, Frances Perkins, Harriet Tubman, Jacqueline Cochran, Jane Addams, Joan of Arc, Marie Curie, Myra Bradwell, Nawal el Saadawi, Rosa Parks, and Xiang Jingyu https://youtu.be/bDKOHigreu8

Part Two: Alice Paul, Anna J. Cooper, Anne Hutchinson, Christine de Pisan, Condoleeza Rice, Hildegard of Bingen, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Kathrine, Switzer, Pauli Murray, Rosie the Riveters, Wangari Maathai, and Zitkala-Sa https://youtu.be/dKxiRUtns2E

Part Three: Abigail Adams, Annie Clemenc, Betty Friedan, Delores Huerta, Edith Clarke, Emma Goldman, Fannie Lou Hamer, George Sand, Hazel Ying Lee, Hypatia, Katherine Johnson, Katherine Von Bora, Margaret Sanger, and Mary Harris “Mother” Jones https://youtu.be/MSWyvUAqNQQ

Part Four: Aleda Lutz, Billie Jean King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Gloria Steinem, Hatshepsut, and Madame C.J. Walker https://youtu.be/rsHjSdRBW34

Part Five: Cindy Sherman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frida Kahlo, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, Margaret Thatcher, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony https://youtu.be/aLUTyYMaFAQ

For additional information, see: https://womenwhodared.omeka.net/

Abigail Adams

(1744–1818) Adams was an activist for women’s rights, reminding her husband to “remember the ladies” as our forefathers created a new code of laws for the nation. As first lady by virtue of her marriage to John Adams, Abigail advocated for married women’s property rights and for the educational rights of women. She is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband where she counseled his political actions; their correspondence was filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics

Aleda Lutz

(1915-1944) Lutz was the first American woman to die in combat in World War II. She was born in Freeland, Michigan and graduated as a nurse from the Saginaw General Hospital School of Nursing in 1937. In 1942, Lutz enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. She was trained in the Aerial Evacuation Service, which revolutionized military medical care by providing flying ambulances controlled by flight nurses. The service saved the lives of many wounded soldiers by staffing the planes with flight nurses and getting the wounded to hospitals far from the front lines. On November 1, 1944, she was flying patients from the front lines to a hospital in Italy when severe storms downed the plane. At the time of her death, Lutz had flown 196 missions and evacuated over 3500 men.

Alice Paul

(1885-1977) Alice Paul was a suffragist who famously split from the state-by-state campaign of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association to form the National Woman’s Party, which was dedicated to a constitutional amendment. The NWP picketed the White House and many women, including Paul, were arrested for obstructing traffic. Paul began a hunger strike while in prison to protest the conditions there. Their campaign kept the cause of suffrage in the news during World War I and contributed to the passage of the 19th amendment enfranchising women. Not satisfied with women’s still inequitable status, Paul shifted her focus to the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA called for the rights of U.S. citizens to not be denied or abridged on the basis of sex. Although ERA has been continuously discussed in Congress since 1924, to this day there is still no amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting rights on account of sex. Paul was a well-educated women who took a B.A. in Biology, a M.A. in Sociology, a Ph.D. in Economics, and three law degrees (LL.B., LL.M., Doctorate in Civil Laws) from various colleges.

Anna J. Cooper

(1858-1964) Cooper was born to an enslaved mother; she spent her life redefining opportunities for women of color. A distinguished scholar, activist, and educator, she saw the status and agency of black women as essential to a more equitable society for everyone. She founded the Colored Women’s League of Washington in 1892 and also published A Voice from the South calling for equal education. She was the fourth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D.

Anne Hutchinson

(1591-1643) Hutchinson was a pioneer and preacher who called for equality and rights for women.  Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in Massachusetts.  Anne was tried in 1638 by the General Court of Massachusetts for “step[ping] out of your place…being a husband rather than a wife, a preacher than a hearer, a magistrate than a subject.”  She was banished from the colony.

Annie Clemenc

(1888-1956) Clemenc was a labor organizer who played an important role in shaping the labor movement in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She fought for coal miners during the 1913-1914 by organizing the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners in support of the miners’ cause. She marched at the front of the line on the day that the miners went on strike, carrying the flag proudly in front of the workers. A follower of Mother Mary Harris Jones, Eugene Debs, and socialism, she was arrested and jailed twice for her efforts to help unionize Michigan’s Copper Country. The violent and, sometimes, deadly strike put Clemenc in harm’s way, but she persevered. Although the miners did not gain the right to unionize, they were successful in securing higher wages and a shorter work day.

Artemisia Gentileschi

(1593-1656) Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque painter, she is considered one of the most accomplished painters of her generation.  She was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte delDisegno in Florence.  Gentileschi painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible.  That she was a woman painting in the 17th century and that she was raped and prosecuted her rapist adds to her remarkable history.

Benazir Bhutto

(1953-2007) Bhutto was the first woman in an Islamic country to serve as prime minister.  She became the youngest chief executive in the world at the age of 35.  She brought electricity to the countryside and built schools in her country.  She was assassinated by a man who shot up her car before detonating a bomb that killed more than 20 bystanders, Bhutto, and himself.

Betty Friedan

(1921-2006) Friedan was an American feminist, activist, and writer.  Her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, is considered an important impetus to the women’s rights movement of the late 20th c.  Friedan’s book opened the way for women to rethink their places in the family, the community, and the world at large.  Friedan co-founded the National Organization of Women, the largest political organization today fighting for women’s equality.

Billie Jean King

(b. 1943) King is a world-class professional tennis player having won numerous titles and championships.  She is an ardent advocate for gender equality and her win in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs in 1973 has greatly forwarded the way that society views female athletes.  She has battled for social equality both on and off the tennis court.  In 2009, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work advocating for the rights of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Christine de Pisan

(1364-1431) Pisan was an author, poet, political advisor, and head of a substantial household. Christine used her education to support herself and her household. She became the official biographer of Charles V and official court historian. Christine wrote traditional works, such as war manuals, poems, biographies, and histories, but she often wrote in a woman’s voice from a woman’s perspective. For example, she wrote a poem in praise of Joan of Arc. Christine’s status as a renowned writer, whose works were sought after by royalty, nobles, as well as other scholars, makes her unusual for her time. That she supported herself, her children, and her widowed mother through her work is even more unusual.

Claudette Colvin

(b. 1939) Colvin was born in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955, at age 15, she stood up against segregation by refusing to give up her seat on a bus. She was arrested on several charges, including violating the city’s segregation laws. Her action took place nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing.

Cindy Sherman

(b. 1954) Sherman is an American photographer who began studying photography while at the University College of Buffalo in New York. Sherman has played with revered images in order to challenge popular culture and the power of mass media. Some of her most famous works include photographs of herself as characters from “B” movies as well as photographs of herself imitating paintings from the Old Masters, including works of Caravaggio.

Condoleeza Rice

(b. 1954) Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. Rice was the first female African-American Secretary of State, as well as the 2nd African-American Secretary of State, and the 2nd female Secretary of State (after Madeleine Albright).  Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University.

Delores Huerta

(b. 1930) Huerta is probably best known for her fight alongside Cesar Chavez to bring some of the nation’s most downtrodden workers, farm employees, collective bargaining. Huerta was an extraordinarily influential advocate for farm-workers, but later in her life she took a leave of absence from labor activism to fight for women’s rights. She encouraged Hispanic women to run for political office; her campaign resulted in a significant increase in the numbers of women representatives at local, state, and federal levels. Huerta continues to advocate for women, children, and the working poor.

Edith Clarke

(1883-1959) Clarke was the first female electrical engineer and the first female professor of electrical engineering. In 1919, Clarke became the first woman to earn an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Unable to find work as an engineer, she went to work for General Electric as a supervisor of computers. In her spare time, she invented the Clarke calculator, a graphical device that solved equations involving electric current, voltage and impedance in power transmission lines. In 1922, she was hired by GE as an electrical engineer in the Central Station Engineering Department. Throughout her career, Clarke earned many honors and recognition for being the first women to break down gender barriers in engineering.

Eleanor Roosevelt

(1884-1962) Roosevelt was born in New York City and married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, she was a controversial First Lady who spoke out for civil rights for women and African Americans.  She was outspoken on human rights issues and worked extensively for the League of Women Voters.  She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace.  At the end of her political career, she became chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Elizabeth Blackwell

(1821-1910) Blackwell was the leading health activist of her generation and the first woman to graduate from medical school in the US. In the 1853, she opened a clinic that was known as the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children. In the late 1860s, she opened a medical school for women. She had private practices in New York City and in London.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

(1815-1902) Stanton was a women’s rights advocate who organized the first women’s rights convention. Along with Susan B. Anthony, she traveled the country holding more conventions. In 1869, she founded the National Woman Suffrage Association, holding the position of president until 1892. She helped compose the first three volumes of the six-volume History of Woman Suffrage.

Emma Goldman

(1869-1940) Goldman was an atheist, anarchist, and supporter of women’s rights. An advocate for the working class, Goldman spoke on issues of free speech, homosexuality, free love, marriage, and gender politics. Although she separated herself from the mainstream suffrage movement, Goldman fought for women’s emancipation, including access to birth control.

Fannie Lou Hamer

(1917-1977) Hamer was a civil rights activist who spent her life in service to issues of segregation and injustice.  In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.   Her epitaph reads, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Frida Kahlo

(1907-1954) Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her surrealist self-portraits.  She had a volatile marriage with Diego Rivera.  Her work is celebrated for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form. This painting—the Broken Column—was painted shortly after she had undergone surgery on her spinal column and was left bedridden and enclosed in a metal corset.

Frances Perkins

(1880-1965) Perkins was the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945; she was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. Perkins championed the labor movement by overseeing New Deal legislation that safeguarded labor unions, established pensions, thwarted child labor, and ensured a minimum wage and a maximum work week.

George Sand

(1804-1876) Born Amadine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, she later changed her name to George Sand so she could have her newspaper articles and novels published. After she retired, she wrote a 20-volume bibliography expressing sexual freedom, equal rights for women, and urging an end to arranged marriages.

Gloria Steinem

(b. 1934) Steinem is a familiar face of the women’s rights movement.She is a prominent writer and political figure who is well-known for campaigning for women’s liberation in the 1960s and 70s. As a young girl, Steinem noticed social injustices to women.As a Smith College graduate and budding journalist, she encountered career setbacks due to her sex.Determined to reveal sexism in the workplace, Gloria publicized sexual harassment.She later co-founded Ms. magazine, a publication dedicated to exposing gender inequality.

Harriet Tubman

(1820-1913) Tubman is the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad and is said to have helped over 300 slaves escape to freedom in the North.  A deeply religious person, Harriet was given the nickname Moses for her work leading her people to freedom. She was born a slave and escaped in 1849, at which time she changed her name, choosing Harriet after her mother and Tubman from her husband.  Harriet had a strong sense of social justice from an early age. At the age of 12 she stepped between an overseer and a fugitive slave and was hit with a heavy weight, which caused a head injury from which she suffered her entire life. During the Civil War, Harriet served as a nurse and then a spy.  She continued to help slaves gain freedom. After the war, Harriet remarried to a former slave and Union soldier and settled in Auburn, New York, where she farmed and was a philanthropist. She also toured and advocated for women’s suffrage. Although she herself was illiterate, Harriet worked with Sarah Bradford to write her autobiography.   In her later years, she founded the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent People, to which she herself retired before dying of pneumonia in 1913.

Hatshepsut

(1479-1458 BC) Hatshepsut reigned as the first female pharaoh during the 18th Egyptian dynasty. She was considered by her subjects to be an extremely successful ruler. As pharaoh, Hatshepsut reestablished trade routes, commissioned many architecturally grand buildings, and brought peace to her nation.

Hazel Ying Lee

(1912-1944) Lee was a Chinese-American pilot who flew for the U.S. Army Air Forces during WWII. Lee was a favorite with just about all of her fellow pilots. She had a great sense of humor and a marvelous sense of mischief. After confusion on the part of a control tower, Lee’s plane and another collided and were engulfed in flames. Lee died in 1944 as a result of her burns.

Hildegard of Bingen

(1098-1179) Bingen was a medieval abbess, mystic, composer, and author. She became head of her monastic community at Bingen in present-day Germany and began writing music for her nuns to sing as prayer. She wrote a medical treatise for her community as well as recorded her visions after receiving encouragement. She became an important cultural figure whose advice was sought after by the movers and shakers of her day.

Hillary Clinton

(b. 1947) Clinton is one of the most powerful women of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. A life-long activist for women’s rights, Clinton served as a New York Senator and Secretary of State under Barack Obama. Clinton’s biography is a story of one woman who challenged gender norms and social confines. She continues to fight for women’s issues.

Hypatia

(351-415) Hypatia was a Greek philosopher who was also the first woman to be well-documented in the field of mathematics. She was the head of the Platonist School in Alexandria where she also taught philosophy and astronomy. Her beliefs encouraged logic and mathematical study in place of empirical inquiry, and strongly enforced the need for governing laws in society. She was eventually killed by a mob after she was accused of exacerbating a political conflict in Alexandria.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

(1862-1931) Ida Wells-Barnett was born a slave and rose to become a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, and civil rights leader. An activist for civil rights for women and people of color, her writings exposed racial and sexual discrimination. Two of her pamphlets were quite influential, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Parts and A Red Record, 1892-1894, both of which described lynching and the struggle of black people since emancipation. Her protest influenced the NAACP to take up an anti-lynching campaign. She was actively engaged in women’s clubs and formed the Women’s  Era Club, the first civic organization for African-American women. In 1896, she co-founded the National Association of Colored Women. A suffragist, she fought to make sure that women of all races secured the vote.

Jacqueline Cochran

(1906-1980) Lt. Col. Cochran was one of the nation’s leading female aviators and the leader of the Women Air Service Pilots of WWII. In 1939, Cochran approached General Hap Arnold to suggest that female pilots be used in the war, but was dismissed. In 1940, Cochran broke the speed record. General Arnold recognizing Jackie’s persistence and superior aviation skills sent her to England to study women pilots flying with the Royal Air Force.  Cochran returned and was given permission to organize a Woman’s Flying Unit. In 1943, Cochran was appointed to the U.S. Army Air Force staff as Director of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Her dedication to making sure these women were trained the same as men and were prepared for all situations made this group of approximately 1000 pilots an elite force. In 1953, she became the first woman to break the sound barrier. From 1959-1963, she was the first female president of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. In the early 1960s, Cochran was involved in efforts to test the ability of women to be astronauts.

Jane Addams

(1860-1935) Addams was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, which she was given in 1931. She was best known for her reform efforts, and for being a pioneer in social work. She was also a women’s rights activist who took part in the women’s suffrage movement urging politicians to grant women the vote.

Jeannette Rankin

(1880-1973) Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States Congress (1916). A lifelong pacifist, she was one of fifty members of Congress who voted against entry into World War I in 1917, and the only member of Congress who voted against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  Rankin was also a suffragist and an important lobbyist for women’s right to vote.  She influenced her state, Montana, and also the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, which gave all women the vote in 1920.

Joan of Arc

(1412-1431) Joan was a visionary who led the French army to victories that ended the Hundred Years War with England. Joan dressed as a man, addressed men as equals, and led men into battle. After leading the French to victory, she was captured by enemy forces and handed over to the English, who orchestrated her trial for heresy and eventual burning at the stake. Joan’s judges were troubled by her dressing as a man and forced her to wear women’s clothing, at which point she was raped by her jailers and returned to male dress for protection.

Katherine Johnson

(1918-2020) Johnson has dared to step out of the cultural confines of her gender for most of her life. She was handpicked to be “one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools.” Katherine was the third African American to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics. She engaged in teaching before she joined the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA). Katherine became one of the “human computers” that made the Apollo space missions viable. She made a huge contribution to space exploration and for this was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 at age 97.

Katherine von Bora

(1499-1552) Von Bora was a one-time Catholic nun turned wife of Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer.  While many men sought her hand in marriage, Katherine insisted that only Luther would do.  She oversaw their growing family and ran several business ventures that allowed Luther to continue his work as a Protestant reformer.

Kathrine Switzer

(b. 1947) Switzer is best known for being the first woman to run the 1967 Boston Marathon as a numbered entry.  Registering under her first and middle initial with her last name, race officials assigned her a number even though women would not be formally allowed to compete in the marathon until 1972.  Switzer faced personal harm while running the race as an official attempted to physically remove her from the race and tear off her number.  She finished the race and continued to run marathons.  In 2011, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame for creating a social revolution by empowering women through running.

Madame C.J. Walker

(1867-1919) Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, is generally regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. She was an entrepreneur who saw a need and capitalized on it. There were few beauty products for black women. Walker’s hair products, then, reinforced the femininity and beauty of black women, while attempting to ease real problems like dry scalp. In 1905, she first released “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower.” Walker preached hygiene along with beauty and aided racial advance. She was a generous philanthropist who gave to civil rights organizations, social reform groups, and scholarships for young women.

Malala Yousafzai

(b. 1997) Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who became famous for her activism in the fight to allow girls in the Swat region to attend school.  In October of 2012, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.  She was shot in the head as she walked to school.  She recovered and formed the Malala Fund to support her efforts to make sure that girls receive education.

Margaret Sanger

(1879-1966) Sanger was a birth control advocate and nurse.  After seeing the physical and financial toll that large families placed on the working classes, she openly advocated that birth control information should be legal.  Sanger argued that knowledge of birth control would lead to greater social equality.  She founded the American Birth Control League.

Margaret Thatcher

(1925-2013) Thatcher was the first woman to lead a major Western democracy serving as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990. Nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her uncompromising political stances, Thatcher was one of the most influential political figures of her era. Through a series of controversial changes, she revolutionized the social and economic landscape. She advocated ideals based on free enterprise, public spending cuts, limited money supply, and raised interest rates. Although a polarizing head of state, Thatcher served as British Prime Minister for longer than any other official in the 20th century.

Marie Curie

(1867-1934) Curie was a Polish chemist and physicist who began her work in the sciences at a young age. She left Warsaw to pursue her degree at the Sorbonne, because women were not allowed to study at the University of Warsaw. Curie gained a graduate degree at a time when many women were banned from academic study. She is famous for her work with radium. She is not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but the only woman to win in two fields. Her work revolutionized scientific research.

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

(1837-1930) During the Industrial Revolution of the United States, women were treated as a second class of citizens and workers. They were paid approximately half the wages as men and few were organized into labor unions. Although men were paid better than women, they too suffered long hours, low wages, unsafe conditions, and a system that kept them dependent on their employers. Industrial workers had little, if any, control over work relations. “Mother” Jones, Mary Harris Jones, devoted her life to improving work conditions for men and women. After losing her husband and four children to yellow fever, Jones moved to Chicago where she ran a dressmaking business. Her husband had been an active union member and Jones threw herself into the cause. She traveled constantly—carrying everything she owned in a black shawl. A great orator, she could rally workers to the union cause. She organized workers regardless of race, gender, or age and fomented great change for workers.

Myra Bradwell

(1831-1894) Bradwell was a pioneer in the legal profession for women.  She had been well known in the legal community as the editor of the wildly successful, Chicago Legal News.  When she applied to the Illinois bar, she was denied twice.  She took her case to the US Supreme Court, where she was also denied 14th amendment rights.  After a long legal fight, she finally was able to practice law in Illinois.

Nawal el Saadawi

(b. 1931) Saadawi is a renowned Egyptian feminist, activist, physician, and psychiatrist. She confronts the various aggressions made against women’s bodies, including female circumcision (genital mutilation). Viewed as controversial and dangerous, she was jailed after publishing a feminist magazine, Confrontation. 

Pauli Murray

(1910-1985) Anna Pauline Murray, better known as Pauli, was a civil rights attorney, social justice activist, and Episcopal priest. Segregation kept Murray from attending the University of North Carolina, but she tried to gain acceptance (with the backing of the NAACP) in 1938. Her case received national publicity, although UNC didn’t accept an African-American student until 1951. In 1940, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit at the back of a Virginia bus. She enrolled at Howard University in 1941. While there, she formed CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) with James Farmer, Bayard Rustin, and George Houser. Murray published essays about the state of racial inequality in America raising attention to the need for equal civil rights. After graduating law school, she published States Laws on Race and Color which Thurgood Marshall (first African-American Supreme Court justice) described as the essential book for civil rights lawyers. In a law school paper, Murray argued that segregation violated the 14th Amendment. Her argument was used in Brown v. Board of Education—the case which overturned the “separate but equal” principle. After decades of fighting for civil rights for African Americans, she recognized the minor role that women were given in the movement and fought to forward women’s status in American society. In 1977, she became the first female African-American Episcopal priest.

Rosa Parks

(1913-2005) Parks was best known for refusing to sit at the back of a segregated bus, thus launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  What made Rosa turn her attention to bus segregation?  They were areas where black women were often harassed, beaten, or raped.  Parks had campaigned since the early 1940s to end sexual assault against women.  After her 1955 arrest, she fought the rest of her life to achieve civil rights and end violence towards women.

Rosie the Riveter

(1939-1945) Rosie symbolizes the many women who entered the workforce in World War II.  Although denied equal pay and discriminated against, American women fought the war from the plants, many of them choosing to stay in paid employment after the war.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

(1933-2020) Ginsburg was only the second woman named to the court, the first being Sandra Day O’Connor. She encountered gendered discrimination early in her legal career, starting with questions about why she was taking a man’s place at Harvard Law and continuing with struggles to find a job after graduating from law school. She co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter and founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.  She co-authored the first textbook on sex discrimination, published in 1974. She argued several cases involving sex discrimination in front of the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg is seen by many as a feminist icon and a champion of social justice.

Sojourner Truth

(1787-1883) Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Sojourner escaped from slavery and fought the illegal sale of her son through the court system. In 1851 she gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. From her speech: “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it. The men better let them.” After slavery was abolished, she turned her attention to woman suffrage and worked towards women getting the vote. She spent most of the life traveling around speaking on issues of social equality.

Susan B. Anthony

(1820-1906) A leader of the women’s suffrage movement, she was a tireless champion for women’s rights.  She co-founded the women’s rights journal, The Revolution.

Wangari Maathai

(1940-2011) Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist known for funding the “Green Belt Movement.”  She also focused on women’s rights and became the first African-American women to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.  She was elected a member of Parliament and served as an assistant minister for environmental and natural resources.

Xiang Jingyu

(1895-1928) Jingyu was one of the first women to be part of the Communist Party of China, she served as the Minister of Women’s Affairs.  Jingyu is widely regarded as a pioneer of the women’s movement in China.  She called for women to unite for social, political, and economic rights.  She founded the China Women’s Federation, initiated education for girls, and organized working women.

Zitkala-sa

(1876-1938) Zitkala-sa was a Native American writer most famous for her work in the preservation of Native American culture.  She was sent to a boarding school as part of an American movement to force assimilation on the Native population.  After graduation, she attended college and became a prolific writer.  Her work exposed major American corporations which defrauded Native Americans by using robbery and even murder to gain control of their oil-rich land.

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