Strong Women in History
It just made sense to write a little listicle featuring some amazing women from our past and present for women’s history month. This list is in no particular order, but all of these women are either activists, revolutionaries, or artists.
- Harriet Tubman (c. 1822-1913): Harriet Tubman was born into slavery as Araminta Ross in Maryland. She changed her name to Harriet Tubman after entering a marital union with a free Black man named John Tubman. She is known for her abolitionism work, particularly for being a conductor in the underground railroad, a Union spy and scout, and a nurse. During her time in the underground railroad, she brought 70 people to freedom and never lost a single person or got caught doing so. She also managed to do this while suffering from a disability: in her youth, she was inflicted with a head injury that resulted in her having chronic headaches and narcolepsy.
- Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Sojourner Truth was born into slavery as Isabella Bomfree in New York, and she changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843 with the belief that it was her religious obligation to speak out against oppression and speak the truth. She was an ardent abolitionist and women’s rights activist. In 1927, she managed to escape to freedom with her infant daughter and then successfully sued a white man for the return of her 5-year-old son, who was illegally sold in Alabama. She worked with Fredrick Douglass for a time, but the two parted because Douglass believed that the suffrage for freed Black men should come before Black women, while Truth thought that the two movements should happen simultaneously. During the Civil War, she helped organize supplies for Black soldiers and rallied men to join the Union army to fight for people’s freedom.
- Frida Kahlo (1907-1954): Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose art is known for frequently featuring themes of identity, pain, and the human experience. When she was a child, she suffered from polio, leaving her with a withered leg. She also got into a bus accident later in life, which lead to her teaching herself the arts while she was stuck in bed for a year. Her art became essential to the feminist movement because she never drew herself in a manner that would be considered appealing by society–she drew herself how she saw herself.
- Malala Yousafzai (1997-): Malala is a Pakistani woman who fights for equal rights for women worldwide. She started her activism by advocating for girls’ equal educational opportunities, which almost cost her her life in 2012. She began the Malala Fund in 2014, and in December of the same year, she became the youngest Nobel laureate when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics in 2020. She consistently traveled to various countries to meet and help girls suffering through oppression and hardship worldwide by sharing their stories before the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Maya Angelou (1928-2014): Maya Angelou was an actress, dancer, poet, and civil rights advocate. Her body of work included seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several poetry books, and several acting credits that spanned over the course of 50 years. Most people may know her for her memoir published in 1969 titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which went into detail about a young Maya overcoming the trauma from the racism and rape that she endured as a child. One of the biggest feats in her advocacy was being the northern coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also became one of the earliest members of the Harlem Writers Guild, which was founded to help nurture Black writers and get their works published. She received dozens of awards for her acting, singing, and writing, and over 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime.