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The Story That Must Be Told: True Tales of Transformation, Vol. I Writers on the Edge Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages The Remnant The Mark

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Black History Month: Black Women Who Have Inspired



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.

I will make a weekly post from now until the end of the month recognizing a handful of those women that you may know or may not know.
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  • Harriet Ross Tubman (b.1820- d.1913) was a black American who, as an agent for the Underground Railroad, a clandestine escape route used to smuggle slaves to freedom in the North and Canada, helped hundreds flee captivity.

  • Daisy Bates (b.1914- d.1999) civil rights leader whose tireless efforts led to the desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas' Central High School. She guided nine students in their 1957 crusade to enroll in the white school. The students' initial effort was rebuffed, and the governor, Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to stop the students at the door. President Eisenhower intervened, and the students were admitted. She reported when schools violated the Supreme Court's 1954 decision, Brown v. the Board of Education, that outlawed segregation, in Arkansas State Press, the newspaper she and her husband published. Her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock, won a 1988 National Book Award.


  • 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.
 
  • Evers-Williams married civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1951. The couple worked for the NAACP against segregation and discrimination in Mississippi. After Evers was assassinated in 1963, Evers-Williams moved to California, where she continued her civil rights work. In 1967 she coauthored a book, For Us, the Living, with William Peters. Evers-Williams became the first black woman to serve on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. She was elected the first woman to chair the NAACP in 1995. In 1999, her memoir, Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, was published.

  • Rosa Parks ( b.1913– d.2005, American civil-rights activist, b. Tuskegee, Ala., as Rosa Louise McCauley. A seamstress and long-time member of the Montgomery, Ala., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), her Dec. 1, 1955, arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. This successful protest, which lasted just over a year, marked the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence as a civil-rights leader and provided the model for future nonviolent movement actions. Fired from her job and unable to find work, Parks moved in 1957 to Detroit, where she remained active in the civil-rights movement and worked (1965–88) as an aide to Congressman John Conyers. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest honor, in 1999.

  • Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (chiz'um) (b. 1924–d. 2005) U.S. congresswoman (1969–83), b. Brooklyn, N.Y. An expert on early childhood education, she worked (1959–64) as a consultant to the New York City bureau of child welfare before serving (1964–68) in the state assembly. Elected (1968) to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, Chisholm became the first black woman to serve in that body. She quickly gained national attention as a vocal critic of the war in Vietnam and the House seniority system and as an outspoken advocate of the interests of the urban poor. An active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chisholm made an unsuccessful bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. In 1993 she was nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Jamaica but withdrew because of ill health. She wrote Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).
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