Although, we should use every day to remember and learn from all of the glorious women who have paved the way for our world today, it is amazing that we have this month to highlight the strong, passionate, brave, hard working women that fill our history....and not necessarily our history books! Everyday this month we will be sharing the story of a woman who has changed the world for the better. We hope to continue their fight and efforts because we still have a long way to go.
Day 1: Michelle Obama
Our forever First Lady, Michelle Obama, was born in Chicago, IL. She graduated from Princeton University where she majored in Sociology and minored in African-American studies. Michelle then went on to earn her law degree from Harvard University. She worked at a law firm in Chicago, where she met her husband...you might know him. She served as Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and the VP of for Community Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
As First Lady, Michelle used her position to speak out for the rights of so many including working families, the LGBTQ community, and education. She also co-founded the Joining Forces program to expand educational and employment options for veterans. She formed the Higher initiative to inspire young people to explore higher education and career-development opportunities. Also, she chose to encourage healthy eating habits and exercise with her Let's Move campaign. (She planted an organic garden at the White House! 🥦🥬🥕)
Since her first appearance on the national stage, Michelle Obama has been an icon and inspiration for so many women and young girls around the world. With style, grace, and the intelligence to challenge everyone, Michelle Obama taught us a very important lesson about how to navigate in this world: "When they go low, we go high." 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #michelleobama
Day 2: Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1924, Shirley St. Hill was a first generation American. Her parents were both Caribbean born, hard-working, and proud. Shirley attended the Girls’ High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooklyn College and her Masters Degree in Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University.
While working as a director of a school in Brooklyn, Shirley became interested in politics. She started working as a volunteer in white-dominated political clubs in Brooklyn. Soon after, Shirley became a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly from 1965 to 1968. She was honored in a “Salute to Women Doers” in New York. While working in the Assembly, Shirley argued against the state’s literacy test requiring English. She said that just because a person “functions better in his native language is no sign a person is illiterate.” She fought to extend unemployment benefits to domestic workers and the SEEK program for disadvantaged students to enter college while receiving remedial education.
In 1968 she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 12th District in New York. Her campaign slogan was “Unbought and unbossed”. 💪💪💪 She won that race making her the First African-American woman elected to the United States Congress. She kept that seat for 14 years. She served on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. In 1971 Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus as one of its founding members. In the same year she was also a founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Shirley Chisholm ran for President of the United States in 1972. She was the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and the first black major-party candidate.
In November 2015, President Obama awarded Shirley the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.
A famous quote of Shirley Chisholm’s is “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” That is exactly what she did. In every effort in her education, her professional career, and her political life, Shirley Chisholm paved the way for all of us. She defied expectation and convention. We stand on the shoulders of giants like Shirley. Because of her we now have the 116th United States Congress with more women serving than ever before. I think she would be proud. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #shirleychisholm
Day 3: Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially in the education of women and children in her native Pakistan.
While riding on a bus at 15 years old Malala was shot a number times in an assassination attempt by the Taliban. Malala had risen to some fame after doing interviews with international press regarding what life was like for her family while living in an area where the Taliban had taken control. Her parents ran a chain of schools in the region and Malala was always encouraged to pursue her education even though this was a dangerous prospect.
During the assassination attempt, Malala was hit in the head with a bullet and remained unconscious and in critical condition. She was transferred to a hospital in the UK where her condition later improved.
Following her recovery, Malala became a prominent activist for the right to education. Her family had to stay in the UK due to the threat by the Taliban of another assassination attempt if they returned to Pakistan. She founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization, and in 2013 co-authored the international best seller I am Malala.
In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. At 17, Malala became the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Prize. She has been named one of the most influential people in the world.
“So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.” A young woman who has wisdom beyond her years because she has had to fight insurmountable odds just to go to school. Women like Malala are the reason we fight for all that need their voices uplifted and heard. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #malalayousafzai
Day 4: Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was a beloved Trans rights activist and is credited with starting the gay rights movement. Marsha is credited by throwing the first brick at the police at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Sick and tired of being harassed by the police, Marsha picked up a brick and in one move lit a fire that had been slowing burning for far too long.
Marsha moved to New York City in 1966. Johnson identified herself as gay, as a transvestite, and as a Queen. She performed in drag queen shows and was photographed by Andy Warhol as part of his “Ladies and Gentleman” Polaroid series.
On the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the uprising occurred at the Stonewall Inn. The first two nights of rioting were intense, but the clashes with police would result in a series of spontaneous demonstrations and marches through the gay neighborhoods of Greenwich Village for weeks afterwards. These events have been collectively described as a “riot,” a “rebellion,” a “protest,” and an “uprising.” Whatever the label, this was certainly a watershed moment in LGBT history.
As an African-American trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson has consistently been overlooked both as a participant in the Stonewall uprising and more generally, LGBTQ activism. As the broader gay and lesbian movement shifted toward leadership from white cisgender men and women, trans people of color were swept to the outskirts of the movement. In 1973, Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were banned from participating in the gay pride parade by the gay and lesbian committee who were administering the event stating they "weren't gonna allow drag queens" at their marches claiming they were "giving them a bad name". Their response was to march defiantly ahead of the parade. During a gay rights rally at New York City Hall in the early '70s a reporter asked Johnson why the group was demonstrating, Johnson shouted into the microphone, "Darling, I want my gay rights now!"
Following the events at Stonewall, Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and they became fixtures in the community, especially in their commitment to helping homeless transgender youth. Many in the community, including Marsha, were sex workers. STAR provided services, including shelter to homeless LGBTQ people in New York City, Chicago, California and England for a few years in the early 1970s but eventually disbanded.
On July 6th, 1992, Marsha’s body was found floating in the Hudson River. She was 46 years old. Police initially ruled her death a suicide, but many of her friends and other members of the community insisted Johnson was not suicidal and noted that the back of Johnson’s head had a massive wound. Some locals stated they thought the police were not interested in investigating the case about a “gay black man”. Johnson was cremated and her ashes were released over the river by her friends following a funeral at the local church.
Marsha P. Johnson started a movement in this country that so many had been waiting for by throwing a brick and screaming, “I got my civil rights!”. She sparked a fire in everyone in the gay community to stand up and fight for their rights. Because of Marsha many started fighting and haven’t stopped. Trans Women of Color are still the most underrepresented and unheard group in the LGBTQ community. We need to continue Marsha’s legacy today and everyday by fighting for these women and their rights. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #marshapjohnson #payitnomind
Day 5: Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. At the time of her death in 1919 she was considered the wealthiest African-American business woman and self-made woman in America.
Sarah Breedlove was born in 1867 in Delta, Louisiana. The last of six children Sarah was the only child born into freedom. Both of her parents died young and Sarah was an orphan by the age of seven. At 10 years old, she left her family to become a domestic worker in Mississippi. Her only education was a short three months where she learned literacy at Sunday school.
Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker in 1906. Through this marriage, she became known as Madam C.J. Walker. The couple divorced in 1926.
As was common among black women of her era, Sarah experienced severe dandruff and other scalp ailments, including baldness, due to skin disorders and the application of harsh products such as lye that were included in soaps to cleanse hair and wash clothes. Other contributing factors to her hair loss included poor diet, illnesses, and infrequent bathing and hair washing during a time when most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity. Madam learned about hair care from her brothers that were barbers. In July 1905, Madam developed her own line of hair care products. She sold the products door to door, teaching black women how to groom and style their hair.
In 1908, Walker and her husband opened a beauty parlor and established a college to train “hair culturists”. In 1910, Walker relocated the business to Indianapolis, where she established the headquarters for Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She later built a factory, hair salon, and beauty school to train her sales agents, and added a laboratory to help with research. Many of her company's employees, including those in key management and staff positions, were women. As an advocate of black women’s economic independence, she opened training programs in the "Walker System" for her national network of licensed sales agents who earned healthy commissions. Walker trained other women to become "beauty culturists" using "The Walker System", her method of grooming that was designed to promote hair growth and to condition the scalp through the use of her products. Between 1911 and 1919, during the height of her career, Walker and her company employed several thousand women as sales agents for its products. In addition to training in sales and grooming, Walker showed other black women how to budget, build their own businesses, and encouraged them to become financially independent. In 1917, inspired by the model of the National Association of Colored Women, Walker began organizing her sales agents into state and local clubs. The result was the establishment of the National Beauty Culturists and Benevolent Association of Madam C. J. Walker Agents (predecessor to the Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culturists Union of America).
"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there, I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there, I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground.” We celebrate Madam C.J. Walker for her determination and fighting spirit! Not only did she build an empire, but by sharing her knowledge and educating other women she lifted them up. When you lift up women, you lift up families. When you lift up families, you lift up communities! 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #madamcjwalker
Day 6: Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Maria Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice named to the United States Supreme Court and 3rd female justice in U.S. Supreme Court history. She was born in the Bronx, New York in 1954 to Puerto Rican parents who moved from Puerto Rico to New York during World War II. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school in 1972, received her B.A. in history from Princeton University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was recipient of the University’s highest undergraduate honor, the Pyne Prize, awarded to the senior who has shown to portray excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. She went on to receive her law degree from Yale Law School where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal.
During her days at Princeton, she found that she was in the minority not only as a Latina but as a woman as well, even among the faculty and staff. It may be what led her to found the Latino Student Organization at Princeton and become the co-chair of a student group, Accion Puertorriquena, that worked to uphold opportunities for Puerto Ricans.
She spent much of her early law career in private practice before being nominated by President George H.W. Bush as federal judge to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York where she served from 1992 – 1998. She was then nominated by President Bill Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit where she served from 1998 – 2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court in 2009. She was confirmed 68-31 by the Senate and was sworn in in August 2009. A New York Times article from May 2009 when she was a candidate for the Supreme Court stated, “In many ways, she is walking through a door she pushed open herself.”
During her confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court, she was repeatedly questioned about and made to defend what is now one of her most famous statements, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”, which she stated during a speech to law students in 2001. Senator Jeff Sessions repeatedly brought this up as an indication of bias on her part. As a strong advocate for the Latino population, she explained, "I was trying to inspire (students) to believe their experiences would enrich the legal system. I was also trying to inspire them to believe they could become anything they wanted to become, just as I have."
She has gone on to be an advocate on the court for issues of race, gender and ethnic identity. She administered the oath to Vice President Joe Biden for the inauguration of his second term, becoming the first Hispanic and fourth woman to administer the oath to a president or vice president. She has also had appearances on Sesame Street, continuing to educate and uplift children of all races and ethnicities. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #soniasotomayor
Day 7: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or simply AOC, as she is referred to by her fans, has made history by becoming the youngest woman, at 29 years old, to be elected to the United States Congress as the U.S. Representative from New York’s 14th congressional district. But its clear this will not be the last of the history-making we see from her.
Born in the Bronx, New York City in 1989 to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a working-class home and community. She graduated cum laude in 2011 from Boston University where she majored in international relations and economics. She worked in the offices of Senator Edward M Kennedy during college and as an organizer for Bernie Sanders during his presidential bid. But running for office was not what she had planned for herself. Always candid, she has stated, “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.”
She was moved by a trip to Flint, Michigan, where she spoke to residents there affected by the water crisis and by the activism she saw when she took a trip to North Dakota to join the protest at Standing Rock in 2016. It is this experience that she says inspired her to run for office and she was soon recruited by the progressive PAC, Brand New Congress.
No one had challenged the ten-time incumbent, Joe Crowley, since 2004. Nor did Ocasio-Cortez have the financial advantage that he did. But her grass-roots campaign, where she and her team knocked on doors in the under served communities of the Bronx and Queens and used social media to reach out to younger voters, won her the primary in 2018. She was outspent by a margin of 18-1 but beat her opponent by almost 15 percentage points. She went on to easily win the general election, even taking a break from campaigning just days before election day to protest family separation along the Texas border.
She ran on a platform of, and continues to push for a progressive agenda to abolish ICE, work for economic, social and racial justice, pass Medicare for All, and offer tuition free public college.
You can often find her wearing hoop earrings and red lipstick in the halls of congress which she has received much criticism for. Her response, “Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.” 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #alexandriaocasiocortez #AOC
Day 8: Sally Ride
Sally Ride helped set the stage for female astronauts when she became the first American woman to travel to space in 1983. At a time when astronauts were decidedly white males, she jumped at an opportunity to join a new team in 1978 after seeing a NASA advertisement recruiting women for the first time. She was one of six women chosen to the NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first class to include women. She took two flights to space during her career with NASA and went on to influence young people, especially girls, for the remainder of her professional career. She was the third woman overall to go to space.
Born in Encino, CA in 1951, she graduated High School in 1968 and later attended Stanford University where she received a master of science degree and a PhD in physics, focusing on astrophysics, in 1978.
Her first flight was on the space shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983 and she would take a second flight during her career with NASA in 1984.
In 1960, an independent study, conducted by the same doctor testing American male astronauts, to test the rigors of female pilots, proved that women would do just as well with the harshness of space travel, if not better than their male counterparts. It wasn’t until two decades later, however, that women were allowed into the space program. It was widely presumed that a woman would not be able to handle the job in space if she was menstruating. Sally Ride was not immune to the scrutiny. Before her first mission to space, the media focused mainly on her gender, asking her such questions during a press conference as, "Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?" and "Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?" One biographer noted that she became a master at “giving cheerful non-answers to prying questions.”
Sally Ride died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer. Having been very good at keeping her personal life private, it wasn’t until after her death that it was revealed that her business partner and very good female friend was also her life partner. She is the first known LGBT astronaut. She has left a legacy as a role model to young women everywhere and has been honored with many accolades both during her career and since her passing. In November of 2013, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Her life partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, accepted the medal on her behalf. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #sallyride
Day 9: Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth devoted her entire free life to advocating for women’s rights and the rights of women of color. She is considered one of the “most powerful advocates for human rights in the nineteenth century”.
Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery in or around 1797 in Ulster County, New York State. She was sold a total of 4 times, the first at the age of 9. She was forced to do harsh physical labor and endure beatings and violence. Though she fell in love with a slave from a neighboring estate, she was forced to marry one from her own estate. Together they had 5 children beginning in 1815.
She freed herself in 1826, walking away from her master’s estate with her infant daughter and seeking refuge with a nearby abolitionist family. She moved to New York City where she joined the religious movement and became a Methodist. In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth, declaring that she was called to preach the truth. She became involved in the antislavery and women’s movements and began speaking across the country. She travelled for years speaking out against slavery and sexism, funding her travels by selling photo cards, or cartes de visite, as souvenirs, depicting different photos of herself, a novel idea at the time.
At the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, OH in 1851, she gave the speech that she is most famous for. While not invited to speak at this event, she participated in the discussions and spoke about equality between men and women. The speech we have come to know as hers, “Ain’t I a Woman”, was actually published 12 years after Truth gave her speech. According to The Sojourner Truth Project, the accurate speech was published within weeks of her address at the convention by a friend of hers. It is unclear why Frances Dana Gage would want to alter her speech so dramatically, even writing in the dialect of a southerner, which Truth was not. It may be that she was simply using it as a means of pushing the Women’s Movement forward. According to The Sojourner Truth Project, “The preference for the Gage version of Truth's speech speaks to our nations need for symbolism and mythology in our historical narrative. However, to only see Sojourner through this lens is an oversimplification of her identity and minimizes her real life struggles and hard won human accomplishments. It is important to see her as a real person who, despite starting life enslaved, rose-up and fought tirelessly with incredible conviction, faith and courage for human rights and personal freedoms.”
Almost 40 years after Truth died, women finally won the right to vote. In 2020, the U.S. Treasury will honor Truth, along with other suffragists, on a new ten dollar bill. It will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #sojournertruth
Day 10: bell hooks
bell hooks is an author, lecturer, and feminist whose central thesis has been to bring intersectionality to the feminist movement. Her theories and writings on gender, race, class, and the role of black women and women of color in the feminist movement have changed the conversation around feminism and its dominance by white women. She has authored more than 30 books, including children’s books, all tackling the subjects of gender, race, sexuality and feminism and the importance of the intersectionality of race and gender to the movement.
She was given the name, Gloria Jean Watkins, but later changed it to bell hooks (in all lower case). Many women during the feminist movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s, as a way to honor where they came from, began adopting the names of their female ancestors. Spelling in all lower case became popular as a way of taking away from the identity of the person to get people to focus more on the substance of the works behind the person. Gloria Jean Watkins adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name.
bell hooks received a B.A. from Stanford University, where she began writing her first book “Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism”, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“Ain’t I a Woman” was finally published in 1981 when hooks was 29. She has been a professor and lecturer at several universities including, Yale University, Oberlin College, and City College of New York. She now teaches at Berea College, a liberal arts college that does not charge tuition to its students, in her home state of Kentucky. She founded the bell hooks institute at Berea College in 2014. The central thesis of her works, that race, gender, sexual identity and class, are all interconnected (intersectional) goes further to shed light on the fact that not recognizing this connection is what oppresses women, especially women of color, and changes the role of women in society. She calls out the feminist movement for being dominated by upper class white women which created an even greater divide between them and women of color. But she believes that women of color need to join the movement and to bring intersectionality to it, that strong black feminists need to be a part of the feminist movement.
In her writings she poignantly states that “freedom as positive social equality that grants all humans the opportunity to shape their destinies in the most healthy and communally productive way can only be a complete reality when our world is no longer racist and sexist”. It could not be truer today. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #bellhooks
Day 11: Ada Lovelace
Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace also known as Ada Lovelace, was a gifted mathematician and credited with writing instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800's. The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Ada showed an aptitude for mathematics at an early age. She introduced many computer concepts and was considered the first computer programmer.
Growing up as an aristocrat she was tutored from a young age in subjects such as math and science. Although unusual for girls to study these subjects at the time it was her mother who insisted upon it because she didn’t want her to develop her father’s moody temperament. Incidentally one of her tutors was Mary Somerville, a Scottish astronomer and mathematician and was one of the first women to be admitted into the Royal Astronomical Society.
At the age of 17 years old, Ada met Charles Babbage who was a mathematician and inventor . He became a mentor to her and it was through him that she was able to study Advanced Mathematics with University of London professor Augustus de Morgan.
Babbage, father of the first computer invented the difference engine, which was designed to solve mathematical equations, in addition to the Analytical engine which could solve more complex equations. Ada was tasked with translating an article on the analytical engine from French to English. While doing so she added some of her own thoughts on processes including what modern day computer science now refers to as “looping”. Her article was largely ignored at the time it was written, and only rediscovered in the 1950’s. As a result she received posthumous honors for her work, and in 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named a computer language “Ada” in her honor. Ada died in London from Uterine Cancer in 1852. She paved the way for young women to be able to excel in areas of study such as math and computer science. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #adalovelace
Day 12: Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai was an internationally known activist who fought for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization focusing on poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. She was also the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Born in Kenya, she obtained her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and went on to become the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn her doctorate degree. She was deeply committed to the environment and climate change and in 2009 she was appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace.
She garnered many other personal achievements, awards and professional affiliations throughout her career including founding the Nobel Women’s Initiative with her sister laureates and becoming trustee of the Karura Forest Environmental Education Trust. Professor Maathai was also the first woman to become chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor at University of Nairobi.
In 2010, in partnership with the University she founded the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI). She also authored four books, was featured in a number of books and she and the Green Belt Movement were the subject of a documentary film called “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai”.
Wangari Maathai died in 2011 after battling ovarian cancer. She left behind many notable quotes including the following “ In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.” 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #wangarimaathai #thegreenbeltmovement
Day 13: Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent author of African-American Literature known for books that reflected the racial struggles in the American South in the early 20th century. Although most well known for her popular novel, “Their Eyes were Watching God” she also published short stories, plays and essays, as well as research on Haitian and Jamaican voodoo and rituals. She was also a notable Anthropologist.
Hurston was born in Alabama and was the grandchild of slaves. Her family moved to Eatonville, Florida at a young age. Eatonville was one of the first all black towns incorporated in the United States. Subsequently, Eatonville would become the locale for many of her stories. To this day the Zora! Festival, a yearly festival in Eatonville is held in Hurston’s honor. She attended Howard University where she co-founded the student newspaper called The Hilltop. She was then offered a scholarship to Barnard College which is where she conducted her anthropologic and ethnographic research. While residing in New York she became a notable figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Shortly after she moved back to Florida and published her first three novels as well as her research on Haiti and Jamaica.
Hurston’s novels reflected the African American experience, in particular her struggles as a woman of color. She went unrecognized in the literary world for most of her life until another author, Alice Walker, published an essay in Ms. Magazine in 1975 titled “In Search Of Zora Neale Hurston”. This publication, as well as the rise of African American authors such as Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, revived interest in Hurston’s works. Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960, but received much recognition posthumously for her work, including the publishing of both a manuscript found in the Smithsonian archives and a nonfiction book titled “Barracoon.” 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #zoranealehurston
Day 14: Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo (de Rivera) was a Mexican artist known for portraits, self portraits, and other works inspired by artifacts and nature in Mexico. She used bold, vivid colors and was lauded by feminists for her representation of the female experience and form. She also drew on the inspiration of Mexicanidad a form of romantic nationalism that came about in the aftermath of the revolution as well as Mexican Folk art. These influences helped her develop a unique style that mixed elements of reality with surrealism and often reflected pain and death.
Kahlo was born in 1907 and was stricken with polio as a child. As a teenager she was in a bus accident and suffered multiple injuries including spine fractures and a broken pelvis. It was during the recovery from this accident that she began to focus on painting. She often detailed the injuries to her body in many of her self portraits. However, she mimicked the styles of many 19th century Mexican painters who were heavily influenced by the European Renaissance artists of the time. Kahlo was also interested in politics and in 1927 she joined the Mexican Communist Party, where she met and later married Diego Rivera, another Mexican artist. Their relationship was tumultuous with affairs happening on both sides. Frida was known to have affairs with men and women. Their marriage eventually ended in divorce.
In 1938, a surrealist by the name of Andre Breton arranged for her first solo exhibition in New York which was a great success. Others soon followed including one in Paris which led to the purchase of her work “The Frame” by the Louvre. This made her the first Mexican artist to be featured in their collection. She also garnered appreciation for her work in Mexico, and was offered a teaching position at the National Preparatory School . She continued to make a living from her art as she had a steady stream of private clientele who commissioned family portraits.
Although the popularity of her work continued her health steadily declined. The bus accident she was involved in plagued her throughout her life and she had to undergo many operations. As a result, her failing health kept her confined to her home. She died at the age of 47 and although her official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, her nurse, who monitored her drug use, maintained that she died of an overdose of painkillers.
Her works are considered a part of Mexican Cultural Heritage and she is regarded as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Her legacy is commemorated in several ways. Her home in Mexico, La Casa Azul, is one of the most popular museums in Mexico City, and in the U.S. she was the first Hispanic woman to be featured on a postage stamp. She has also been the subject of novels, albums, stage performances and even a children’s book which focuses on the animals and pets in Kahlo’s life and art. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #fridakahlo
Day 15: Audre Lorde
Audrey Geraldine Lorde was an American writer, poet, teacher,lesbian, womanist, and civil rights activist. Her poems often reflected her experiences with issues related to civil rights, lesbianism, intersectional feminism and black female identity. She was a master at emotional expression in relation to the social and civil injustices she observed throughout her life as a black woman and a lesbian.
Audre Lorde, who dropped the Y from her name at an early age, was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants. She was nearsighted to the point of being legally blind. She learned to read and write listening to her mother’s stories of the West Indies, and in the eighth grade she wrote her first poem. Writing Poetry was Lorde’s main outlet of expression growing up. It was also a form of communication for her and she was known for answering questions by reciting poems that she memorized. She had a difficult relationship with her parents who were emotionally distant to her. This strained relationship, especially with her mother, would become a popular topic in her later poems. She attended Hunter College High School, which was a school for Intellectually gifted students. It was in high school that she published her first poem in “Seventeen” magazine. She often participated in poetry workshops sponsored by the Harlem Writers Guild, but often felt like an outsider due to the fact that as she put it “was both crazy and queer but they thought I would grow out of it all.”
It was during her year as a student at the National University of Mexico that she considered most critical to establishing her personal and artistic identity as both a lesbian and a poet. She went on to be a co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, as well as the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix with her life partner, black feminist Dr. Gloria I. Joseph. She was also a teacher and professor, eventually going on to her Alma Mater to teach as the distinguished Thomas Hunter Chair. She became a visiting professor in West Berlin and was both an influential part of as well as coining the term “Afro-German Movement”. This influence later became the topic of a documentary in 2012 titled, “Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992”.
Lorde often dealt with issues of racism in feminist thought. She held that a great deal of the success of white feminists only served to increase the oppression of black women. She maintained that the key tenets of feminism were that all forms of oppression were connected and in order to make change you had to take a stand. She rather identified as a womanist, a term coined by Alice Walker, to recognize the difference between the black/minority female experience and white “feminism”. Her work on black feminism continues to be studied to this day. She identified with all parts of herself and used this collective identity as the subject of her poems and books. She is often quoted as saying “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” in relation to non-intersectional feminism.
From 1991 until her death the following year she was the New York State Poet Laureate. She received many awards for her lifetime of achievements and in 1992 she succumbed to liver cancer. Before her death she took the name Gamba Adisa, in an African naming ceremony, which aptly translates to “Warrior: She who makes her meaning known”. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #audrelorde
Day 16: Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King known for her incredible backhand, breakneck speed, and athletic prowess earned thirty-five Grand Slam titles and a number one world ranking five times throughout her tennis career. But, her sensational ability on the court is only part of King’s story. From early on in her career, King advocated for women’s rights both in and out of the sports arena. At twelve, King saw the effects of gender bias first hand after being disqualified for wearing shorts during a tennis competition rather than the tennis skirts required. This moment became a catalyst that propelled King to work even harder as an athlete and led her on the path to social advocacy. She soon realized that that gender bias moved beyond clothing. Though King was the first woman to earn $100,000 in prize money from the Virginia Slims tennis tour for women, she learned that women earned less prize money for championships than their male counterparts. This disparity led King to fight for equal pay for female athletes. In 1973, King engaged in the famous “Battle of the Sexes,” against retired male tennis great, and male chauvinist, Bobby Riggs. The match wasn’t about beating Riggs, it was about raising self esteem for women everywhere. After beating Riggs, King continued to break down barriers and advocate for women and empower female athletes everywhere. King also led the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association and became instrumental in forcing the US open to address pay inequality. In addition to addressing inequality in pay, after coming out as gay after her divorce from Larry King, King is also a defender and supporter of the LGBTQIA community. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #billiejeanking
Day 17: Alice Walker
Celebrated writer and avowed feminist, Walker works to promote change in the world and is a staunch defender of both women’s and human rights. Walker studied at both Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence University where she actively participated in the Civil Rights movement. As an early activist, Walker helped register black voters in Georgia and participated in several anti-war protests with the Code Pink organization. She also coined the word “womanism” as a means to unite women of color with the feminist movement. In 1983, Alice Walker became the first African American to earn the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Her wide-ranging literary works include seven novels and several collections of essays, poetry, and short stories that explore race and gender. Some of her more famous works include The Color Purple, “Everyday Use,” and In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens. As a pacifist, Walker has been a long-standing supporter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Walker continues to travel to support those most marginalized and stand on the side of those leading the fight for equality and equity so that all people have the opportunity to thrive. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #alicewalker
Day 18: Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan
🌺 Mary Jackson was an African American Aerospace engineer and mathematician who earned her BS in Mathematics and Physical Science from the Hampton Institute. After working as a schoolteacher among other jobs, Jackson joined NASA in 1950 as the first black female engineer. Early in her career she worked on wind tunnels and flight experiments. Over time, she participated in the Federal Women’s Program at NASA to help promote and advance women in areas of mathematics, engineering, or science. Throughout her career she continued to advocate for women and minorities.
🌺 Katherine Johnson, an African American mathematician, started her career examining flight data and providing math equations for the Notes on Space Technology lecture series. Her most notable contributions include her orbital mechanics calculations for the Project Mercury space flights and her intricate computations used in pioneering computer use for trajectory analysis. In addition, Johnson’s work became instrumental in creating the Space Shuttle program. In 2015, President Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her groundbreaking and instrumental work.
🌺Dorothy Vaughan, an African American mathematician, worked at NASA and NACA throughout her career. After working as a math teacher, Vaughan signed on with the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory as a computer programmer. Additionally, Vaughan contributed to the Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test (SCOUT). Later, she became the first black supervisor for NACA in 1949 and advocated for promotions and salary increases for her staff. As a supervisor, she taught herself and her staff the FORTRAN computer language to prepare for the debut of machine computers.
Day 19: Ruth Carol Taylor
Ruth Carol Taylor made transportation history when she became the first African American flight attendant. She first worked with Mohawk Airlines and paved the way for other African Americans to have a place in the aviation industry. Taylor first began her career as a nurse, and then spent some time at the New York City Transit Authority before pursuing a career as a flight attendant. The New York State Assembly formally recognized Taylor for her instrumental role in integrating US airlines. In addition, after leaving the airline industry, she became a journalist covering the historic March on Washington. She also founded The Institute for “Interracial” Harmony, Incorporated, where she developed the concept of Racism Quotient Testing, and authored The Little Black Book: Black Male Survival in America, which provided young Black males instructions on surviving in the United States. Taylor continues to fight for racial equality today. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #ruthcaroltaylor
Day 20: Maya Angelou
Throughout her prolific writing career, Maya Angelou published several autobiographies, essays, and books of poetry. Early in her life, Angelou worked as a fry cook, dancer, performer, actress, journalist, and sex worker. In 1964, Angelou grew active in the Civil Rights Movement and earned the position of Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Dr. Martin Luther King’s request. During this time, Angelou began to write more and more. Her literary work often covered her early life experiences as well as covering themes of discrimination and racism. But, it was her first work, the memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, that propelled Angelo to literary fame. Following her newfound fame, many turned to Angelou for speaking engagements and university teaching assignments. Angelou continued to fight for civil rights throughout her career. In 1993, she recited a poem at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, and in 2011, Barack Obama presented Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor one can receive. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #mayaangelou
Day 21: Sara Seager
Sara Seager is a Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is known for her work on extrasolar planets and their atmospheres. Seager was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2013 citing her theoretical work on detecting chemical signatures on exoplanet atmospheres and developing low-cost space observatories to observe planetary transits.
Seager was born in Toronto, Canada. She earned her BSc degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Toronto in 1994, assisted by a NSERC University Undergraduate Student Research Award, and a PhD degree in astronomy from Harvard University in 1999.
NASA referred to her as "an astronomical Indiana Jones". Sara Seager used the term "gas dwarf" for a high-mass super-Earth-type planet composed mainly of hydrogen and helium in an animation of one model of the exoplanet Gliese 581 c. The term "gas dwarf" has also been used to refer to planets smaller than gas giants, with thick hydrogen and helium atmospheres. Sara developed an equation, known as the Seager equation, to estimate the number of habitable plants in the galaxy.
Seager was awarded the 2012 Sackler Prize for "analysis of the atmospheres and internal compositions of extra-solar planets", the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 2007 for developing "fundamental techniques for understanding, analyzing, and finding the atmospheres of extrasolar planets”, and the 2004 Harvard Bok Prize in Astronomy. She was appointed as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and elected to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as an honorary member in 2013. In September 2013 she became a MacArthur Fellow. She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.
“We stand on a great threshold in the human history of space exploration. If life is prevalent in our neighborhood of the galaxy it is within our resources and technological reach to be the first generation in human history to finally cross this threshold, and to learn if there is life of any kind beyond Earth.” 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #saraseager
Day 22: Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a transwoman activist and community leader for transgender rights, with a focus on women of color. She serves as the Executive Director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, which aims to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under the prison-industrial complex. Griffin-Gracy has participated in activism for a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime, including the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.
Griffin-Gracy believed she and her peers were unaware they were questioning the gender they were assigned at birth, and noted that much of the contemporary terminology surrounding gender identities did not exist. During her period of transitioning, Griffin-Gracy relied on the black market for her hormones. Over twenty years, she suffered from homelessness and participated in sex-work. She also participated in other illegal activities, including theft, in order to support herself.
Griffin-Gracy moved to San Diego in 1978 and organized community efforts and grassroots movements. She initially started with work at a local food bank and later provided direct services for trans womenwho were incarcerated, suffering from addiction, or homeless. While in San Diego, the AIDS epidemic struck the United States, and as a part of her service, Griffin-Gracy found herself providing additional healthcare and multiple funerals each week. Griffin-Gracy then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid 1990s where she served on multiple HIV/AIDS organizations including the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center.
In 2003, Griffin-Gracy began working at the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) shortly after it was founded by Alex Lee, although sometimes she is credited as the founder. She served as the Executive Director of the project, leading efforts to support transgender women who have been imprisoned, particularly women of color. Both within her organization and without, she has fought against criminalization and police brutality. She is credited for leading direct service efforts and personalized care to incarcerated trans women of color with TGIJP in addition to her leadership in previous organizations.
Griffin-Gracy has frequently criticized the LGBT movement based on its exclusion of transgender persons from participation and positions of leadership, particularly trans people of color, those with low income, and those who have been previously imprisoned. In addition to her focus on basic human rights, Miss Major advocates for radical change in her community. She strives to bring attention to the intersectionality of poverty, race, and gender in situations related to incarceration, employment, and mental and physical health.
"We're all part of one another. I would want people to understand who we are as human beings. I want us to look at the similarities more than the differences." Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is still an activist today. She has inspired so many trans men and trans women to live their lives in the open and to fight for their rights. Miss Major's tenacity and fighting spirit are an inspiration to all of us! 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #missmajor #missmajorgriffingracy
Day 23: Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Morrison's parents instilled in her a sense of heritage and language through telling traditional African-American folktales and ghost stories and singing songs. Morrison also read frequently as a child; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy.
In 1949, she enrolled at the historically black Howard University, seeking the company of fellow black intellectuals. The school is in Washington, D.C., where she encountered racially segregated restaurants and buses for the first time. She graduated in 1953 with a B.A. in English and went on to earn a Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. Her Master's thesis was Virginia Woolf's and William Faulkner's Treatment of the Alienated. She taught English, first at Texas Southern University in Houston for two years, then at Howard for seven years. She began working as an editor in 1965 for L. W. Singer, a textbook division of Random House, in Syracuse, New York. Two years later she transferred to Random House in New York City, where she became their first black woman senior editor in the fiction department.
In that capacity, Morrison played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream. One of the first books she worked on was the groundbreaking Contemporary African Literature (1972), a collection that included work by Nigerian writers Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe and South African playwright Athol Fugard. She fostered a new generation of African-American authors, including Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis, and Gayl Jones.
Morrison had begun writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work. She attended one meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. Morrison later developed the story as her first novel, The Bluest Eye, getting up every morning at 4 am to write, while raising two children alone. She went on to write 10 more novels, including Beloved, for which she won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1993, Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her citation reads: “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” She was the first black woman of any nationality to win the prize.
Toni Morrison would tell her students, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab bag candy game.” Truer words have never been spoken. To use your power to enable others to rise. To use your experience to bring others along. That is what we need to be doing in our lives. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #tonimorrison
Day 24: Henrietta Lacks
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research. An immortalized cell line reproduces indefinitely under specific conditions, and the HeLa cell line continues to be a source of invaluable medical data to the present day.
Lacks was the unwitting source of these cells from a tumor biopsied during treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. in 1951. These cells were then cultured by George Otto Gey who created the cell line known as HeLa, which is still used for medical research. As was then the practice, no consent was obtained to culture her cells, nor were she or her family compensated for their extraction or use.
Lacks grew up in rural Virginia. After giving birth to two children, she married David "Day" Lacks. In 1941 the young family moved to Turner Station, near Dundalk, Maryland, in Baltimore County, so Day could work in Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point. After Lacks had given birth to their fifth child, she was diagnosed with cancer. Tissue samples from her tumors were taken without consent during treatment and these samples were then subsequently cultured into the HeLa cell line. Even though some information about the origins of HeLa's immortalized cell lines was known to researchers after 1970, the Lacks family was not made aware of the line's existence until 1975. With knowledge of the cell line's genetic provenance becoming public, its use for medical research and for commercial purposes continues to raise concerns about privacy and patients' rights.
Lacks's cells were the first to be observed that could be divided multiple times without dying, which is why they became known as "immortal." The ability to rapidly reproduce HeLa cells in a laboratory setting has led to many important breakthroughs in biomedical research. For example, by 1954, Jonas Salk was using HeLa cells in his research to develop the polio vaccine. To test his new vaccine, the cells were mass-produced in the first-ever cell production factory. Additionally, Chester M. Southam, a leading virologist, injected HeLa cells into cancer patients, prison inmates, and healthy individuals in order to observe whether cancer could be transmitted as well as to examine if one could become immune to cancer by developing an acquired immune response. HeLa cells were in high demand and put into mass production. They were mailed to scientists around the globe for "research into cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuits". HeLa cells were the first human cells successfully cloned in 1955 and have since been used to test human sensitivity to tape, glue, cosmetics, and many other products. Since the 1950s, scientists have grown as much as 50 million metric tons of her cells, and there are almost 11,000 patents involving HeLa cells.
A journalist, Rebecca Skloot, documented extensive histories of both the HeLa cell line and the Lacks family in two articles published in 2000 and 2001 and in her 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The HeLa Project, a multimedia exhibition to honor Lacks, opened in 2017 in Baltimore at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. It included a portrait by Kadir Nelson and a poem by Saul Williams. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #henriettalacks
Day 25: Maria Louise Baldwin
Maria Louise Baldwin was an African-American educator and civic leader born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After teaching for a time in Maryland, she returned to Cambridge to teach at the Agassiz Grammar School. In 1889 she became principal, the first African-American female principal in Massachusetts and the Northeast. She became master of the school when it was expanded through high school grades and held that position for 40 years, establishing the Agassiz School as one of the best in the city. She was involved in black intellectual and progressive circles. During the summers, Baldwin taught teachers in other regions and also lectured publicly.
Under her leadership, Agassiz School became one of the best schools in the city, attended by children of Harvard professors and many of the old Cambridge families. She introduced new methods of teaching mathematics and began art classes. She was the first to introduce the practice of hiring a school nurse. Her school was the only one in the city of Cambridge to establish an "open-air" classroom. One of her students was poet, E.E. Cummings.
Baldwin was always learning. She took many classes at Harvard University and other colleges. She also was an instructor who taught summer courses for teachers at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and the Institute for Colored Youth in Cheyney, Pennsylvania.
Her home was the central meeting place for the Omar Khayyam Circle, an exclusive black literary and intellectual group. Notable members included Clement G. Morgan, William Monroe Trotter, and others who became active in working for civil rights.
She belonged to numerous civic and educational organizations, including the Twentieth Century Club, the Cantabrigia Club, the Boston Ethical Society, and the League of Women for Community Service. She lectured widely and spoke throughout the country on such Founding Fathers as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson, and on such themes as women's suffrage, poverty, and history. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #marialouisebaldwin
Day 26: Marie Curie
Marie Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium, and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies into the treatment of neoplasms were conducted using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centers of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.
Marie Curie shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This award was "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.” 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #mariecurie
Day 27: Patsy Mink
Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink was an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. State of Hawaii. Mink was a third generation Japanese American and member of the Democratic Party. She also was the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
While at the University of Nebraska, Mink faced discrimination. The university had a long-standing racial segregation policy whereby students of color lived in different dormitories from the white students. This annoyed Mink, and she organized and created a coalition of students, parents, administrators, employees, alumni, sponsoring businesses and corporations to change this policy. She was elected president of the Unaffiliated Students of the University of Nebraska, a "separate" student government for non-white students who were prevented from joining fraternities, sororities, and regular dormitories. Mink and her coalition successfully lobbied to end the university's segregation policies the same year.
After her successful fight against segregation at the University of Nebraska, Mink experienced a serious thyroid condition that required surgery and moved back to Honolulu to heal and finish her final year of college at the University of Hawaii. She earned bachelor's degrees in zoology and chemistry from the university. In 1948, none of the twenty medical schools to which she applied would accept women. A disappointed Mink decided the best way to force medical schools to accept women would be through the judicial process, so she decided to go to law school. Mink applied to the University of Chicago Law School. Unusually, the school had admitted women from its inception in 1902, and Mink attended law school with several other women. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree in 1951.
After passing the bar exam in June 1953, Mink continued to face gender discrimination in finding work as an attorney in the private or public sector. She created a solo practice with the help of her father. She was the first Japanese woman to practice law in Hawaiian territory.
As the Territory of Hawaii debated statehood in 1956, Mink was elected to the Hawaii Territorial Legislature representing her district in the territorial House of Representatives. In 1958, she was elected to serve in the territorial Senate. At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, a speech by Mink, a Hawaiian delegate, persuaded two-thirds of the party to keep their progressive stance on civil rights.
In 1964, Mink became the first Asian-American woman (and first woman of an ethnic minority) to be elected to the United States Congress. She served six consecutive terms. She supported the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, of which she was one of the principal authors and sponsors, prohibiting gender discrimination by federally funded institutions, an outgrowth of the adversities Mink faced through college. Mink also introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act and authored the Women's Educational Equity Act. All of these laws written by Mink were declared landmark laws by Congress as they advanced equal rights in America beyond what could be imagined during the time. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #patsymink
Day 28: Serena Williams
Beginning in the late 1990’s, Serena Williams became one of the world's most talented and exciting tennis players. Her skills on the court happen to be extraordinary, the result of years of training, natural ability, and a powerful determination to win. Williams has gained additional attention as an African American athlete in a sport generally dominated by white players. Her 1999 singles victory at the U.S. Open made her only the second black woman ever to win a Grand Slam title. The Grand Slam tournaments—the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open—are among the game's most visible and significant events for pros.
By Williams's side—and often across the net—has been her older sister, Venus, an equally commanding player. Both sisters spent several years at the top of the world tennis rankings, each reaching the number-one position in 2002. As of the summer of 2004, Serena Williams had won six singles titles in Grand Slam events as well as numerous doubles titles, including a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. An ambitious, multi-talented person, Williams has also, since 2002, explored acting, appearing in several television episodes and pursuing film roles as well. In addition, she has, along with her sister, studied fashion design.
Williams has become more involved in social change as her career has progressed, primarily using social media as a medium of expressing her views. In 2016 she posted her support of Black Lives Matter on her Facebook page, voicing her concern about her young nephew being in danger from police officers due to his skin color. 🌸🌸🌸#womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #serenawilliams
Day 29: Sharice Davids
Sharice Davids is an attorney, former mixed martial artist and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Kansas's 3rd congressional district since 2019. Davids is the first openly LGBT Native American elected to the United States Congress, the first openly gay person elected to the United States Congress from Kansas, and the first Native American woman elected to Congress (along with Deb Haaland of New Mexico).
Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) people, and an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. She was born in Shawnee and now lives in nearby Roeland Park.
Her maternal grandfather, Fredrick J. Davids, a United States Army veteran, was born into the Mohican Nation Stockbridge-Munsee Band, in Oneida, Wisconsin. Sharice was raised by Fredrick's daughter, her mother Crystal Herriage, a single mother who served in the U.S. Army.
Davids attended Leavenworth High School, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Kansas, Johnson County Community College, and the University of Missouri–Kansas City, graduating from the last with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2007. Davids earned her Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School in 2010.
In the 2018 election, Davids ran for the United States House of Representatives in Kansas's 3rd congressional district. She defeated fellow Democrat Brent Welder, who had been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, by a margin of 37% to 34% in the August primary election.
Davids defeated incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in the November 6, 2018, general election. She and fellow Democrat Deb Haaland of New Mexico, a Laguna Pueblo, are the first Native American women to serve in Congress. Sharice Davids became a member of the historic 116th United States Congress where there are now more elected women than any other Congress. 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #sharicedavids #116Congress
Day 30: Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks was a poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer.
Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death, and what is now the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas and at six-weeks-old was taken to Chicago, where she lived the rest of her life. Her parents, especially her mother encouraged her poetry writing. She began submitting poems to various publications, as a teenager. By the age of 16, she had already written and published approximately 75 poems. At 17, she started submitting her work to "Lights and Shadows," the poetry column of the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper. Her poems, many published while she attended Wilson Junior College, ranged in style from traditional ballads and sonnets to poems using blues rhythms in free verse. Her characters were often drawn from the inner city life that Brooks knew well. She said, "I lived in a small second-floor apartment at the corner, and I could look first on one side and then the other. There was my material."
After graduating high school during the Great Depression, she took a two-year junior college program, worked as a typist, married, and had children. Continuing to write and submit her work, she finally found substantial outlets for her poetry. This recognition of her work also led her to lecturing and teaching aspiring writers. Being the winner of multiple awards for her writing, several schools and institutions have been named in her honor.
“Do not desire to fit in. Desire to oblige yourselves to lead.” – Gwendolyn Brooks
Day 31: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice of four to be confirmed to the court. When Ginsburg was the only female Justice on the Court, she became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg turned to academia. She was a professor at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field.
Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970's. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg has received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she has been dubbed the "Notorious R.B.G." 🌸🌸🌸 #womenshistorymonth #womensmarchbroward #womensmarchflorida #ruthbaderginsburg #notoriousRBG