This month is Black History Month: Black Women Who Paved the Way
Let remember those black women that have paved the way for all of us. No matter, race, color, creed, nationality. They were strong, independent women that fought for equality and justice. They also made great contributions to American Society and often some those contributions have been forgotten.
- Sojourner Truth (b.1797-d.1883) , a nationally known speaker on human rights for slaves and women, was born Isabella Baumfree, a slave in Hurley, New York, and spoke only Dutch during her childhood. Sold and resold, denied her choice in husband, and treated cruelly by her masters, Truth ran away in 1826, leaving all but one of her children behind. After her freedom was bought for $25, she moved to New York City in 1829 and became a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In 1853, she helped form a utopian community called "The Kingdom," at Sing Sing, New York, which was soon disbanded following the death and possible murder of its leader. Truth was implicated in the scandal but courageously fought the falsehoods aimed at her.
- Ida Wells-Barnett (b.1862-d.1931)Born to a slave cook and a slave carpenter, Ida Wells was a prominent antilynching leader, suffragist, journalist, and speaker. At age 16 she took over the raising of her siblings after the death of her parents to smallpox. With the help of the black community, Wells attended Rust College, afterward finding employment as a teacher.
- In May 1884 Wells sued and won a case against a railroad for forcefully removing her from a segregated ladies' coach. The incident served as a catalyst to a more militant Wells. As part owner and editor of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight, she spent much of her time writing about the poor conditions for black children in local schools. After the 1892 lynching of three of her friends, she was diligent in her antilynching crusade, writing Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. In 1893 Wells carried her fight for equality to the Chicago World's Fair, then remained in Chicago and helped spawn the growth of numerous black female and reform organizations. Wells marched in the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., and was one of two African American women to sign the call for the formation of the NAACP. She married Ferdinand Barnett, owner of the Chicago Conservator, in 1895, and continued her "crusade for justice" until her death in 1931.