Lt. Gen. Nadja West Becomes First Black Female Three-Star General
Military pioneer continues to break diversity barriers in higher ranks

“Lt. Gen Nadja West will be honored February 10, 2016 in an official ceremony formalizing her promotion to three-star general, making her the first African American woman to achieve that rank in the United States Army. She is also the highest-ranking woman of any race to have graduated from West Point, according to reports.

Late last year, the 54-year-old military leader was confirmed by the Senate as the new Army surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).  

“I was once an orphan with an uncertain future,” West told theGrio. “And I am incredibly honored and humbled to lead such a distinguished team of dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the care of our nation’s sons and daughters, veterans, and family members.”

West’s military career includes deployments during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and she was part of a medical mission with the 5th Special Forces Group. She has held command at two army medical centers, as well as the Europe Regional Medical Command. She has also served as joint staff surgeon at the Pentagon.” 

Read the full piece here

Congratulations General West!

speaking of which, Carol Riddell is a good case study in why it’s completely pointless to argue with TERFs: she is using basically the exact same arguments that most of us are today, and they obviously have not really changed any TERFs minds.

in a certain sense, our theoretical frameworks and self-understandings can remain stunted in the 70′s and 80′s by continuing to engage with them and write apologia

The study of women’s history is comparatively new and it’s shocking how often their lives are simply retold in the same ways, without attempts being made to get inside their heads and see things from their perspectives.
—  Amy Licence, MA in Medieval and Tudor history, author of “The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women’s Stories” ,”Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings“, “Anne Neville: Richard III’s Tragic Queen”, “Elizabeth of York: Forgotten Tudor Queen” x
70 years ago, six Philly women became the world's first digital computer programmers
Without any real training, they learned what it took to make ENIAC work – and made it a humming success. Their contributions were overlooked for decades.

”In 1945, the U.S. Army recruited six women working as computers at the University of Pennsylvania to work full-time on a secret government project. For the next year, they used their creativity, tenacity and solid backgrounds in mathematis to become the original programmers of the world’s first electronic general-purpose computer, called ENIAC.

“These women were hired pretty much to set this machine up, but it turns out that no one knew how to program. There were no ‘programmers’ at that time, and the only thing that existed for this machine were the schematics,” said Mitch Marcus, the RCA Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania. “These six women found out what it took to run this computer — and they really did incredible things.”

“They stepped in to do a job that they didn’t understand, that nobody understood,” said Bill Mauchly, a Berwyn resident who hopes to put together a Philadelphia-area museum honoring ENIAC. “So they had to invent, discover, and learn how to work this machine without any real training. In that sense, they were real trailblazers.”

He believes they were probably the first people to have “programmer” as a job title, even though it was nothing like the occupation of today. Babysitting this giant, complex computer was very physical work, requiring them to haul cables and trays to different parts of the room-sized machine to get it to run programs correctly. They would even crawl inside the hug structure to fix faulty links and bad tubes.

“The first time I talked to Betty Holberton, who wrote the demo program for [the Feb. 15 ENIAC public unveiling], she said to me, 'There was this big dinner that night, and we girls were not even invited,'” said Marcus, who had confirmed this fact earlier by looking at the guest list in the Smithsonian archives. “The women were viewed as operators of the machine. They were there to help men figure out how to use the computer and were given basically no credit, and their role was entirely minimized. The fact that they weren’t invited to the dinner is pretty telling, I think.”

Read the full piece here

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anonymous asked:

Why was Barnie a field player that one game?

I mean, I was at that game so I should be able to give a proper response of what it was like but I’ll be real with ya, I was a) like 10 or 11 and b) more focused on Mia. So instead I’m just gonna copy-paste what the USSoccer site had to say about things:

Thus commenced a bizarre set of circumstances that came together to give Barnhart the most unusual first cap for a goalkeeper in U.S. Women’s National Team history.
With only 13 players available for the match, former U.S. head coach April Heinrichs used both her substitutes at halftime, taking off Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.  Then with about 10 minutes left in the game, midfielder Angela Hucles went out with an ankle injury.  She could not return.  
“Mia, Brandi and Joy Fawcett (who was injured) and I were just hanging out on the bench chilling,” said Barnhart.  “After Angela started limping off the field, we kind of realized that she wasn’t going be able to play again.”
Unbeknownst to Barnhart, the coaches then started talking about putting her in.  Chastain was all for it.
“Brandi looked at me and said, ‘Barnie, can you go in?’,” said Barnhart.  “She asked me what I was wearing, and I said black socks and black shorts, and she started taking off her socks.”
Barnhart then changed into Fawcett’s shorts under a big stadium jacket and pulled on Fawcett’s No. 14 jersey.



(Top: Gwendolyn Fowler in Honolulu. Bottom: Fowler in Saigon with President Ngo Diem.)

Gwendolyn Wilson Fowler was the first African American woman to be certified as a pharmacist in the state of Iowa. Unable to find employment in her field, Fowler was hired as a maid by Winnie Coffin. From 1936 until Coffin’s death in August of 1937, Fowler and Coffin traveled around the world (stopping in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, and Sydney among other places) while Coffin purchased artwork for the Des Moines Art Museum.

From Fowler’s diary, February 7, 1937: “I am asked a lot what I am. When they see an American passport they next think I am from Manila. When I say no they can’t believe it. I have lots of fun with the natives because this is a colored country with colored officials everywhere. It is an agreeable change from so many white faces in America.”

In 1944, Fowler obtained a position as a pharmacist’s clerk in the State of Iowa Department of Health, later working as a chemist for the Iowa State Department of Agriculture. After attracting the attention of the Eisenhower administration, Fowler was assigned to work in Saigon, Vietnam as a program analyst. She lived and worked in Vietnam for four years.


Gwendolyn Fowler papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Today’s Black Futures Month artwork celebrates women and was created by Naima Penniman @stitched-stories. It’s titled Origins of Black Futures [or “Origins”]. Find her at instagram.com/naimainfinity or twitter.com/climbingpoetree.

The accompanying article, written by Elle Hearns & Treva B. Lindsey can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elle-hearns/sister-to-sister-black-women-solidarity_b_9213772.html

#BlackFutureMonth #BlackLivesMatter #VisionsOfABlackFuture


Before the Civil War, women were basically second class citizens. They couldn’t vote and had very few rights outside of the home.

In the mid 1800s, women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton began organizing a women’s rights movement and a few women began living on their own and working in textile factories.

But it wasn’t until the outbreak of the Civil War that women were able take on roles that they hadn’t in the previous decades.

With most men of fighting age leaving home and going to war, women had to be responsible for all the farms and businesses the men left behind.

Yet many women wanted to be more involved in the war effort. Thousands of women became nurses and relief workers supporting the troops on the front lines—despite strong opposition from some of the men.

But some women wanted to fight. Although women were prohibited from serving in the army, a few determined women disguised themselves as men and fought in the war, distinguishing themselves in battle.

However they served, women during the civil war were able to challenge deep-seated misconceptions of what they can or can’t do.

Beyonce Gets Political, and I Get Snatched Bald: An Overview of Themes and Motifs in the Formation Music Video

It is important that you know, I am not even a Beyonce stan like that. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the post I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced of Jacob Marley’s death before the play began, then there would be nothing remarkable about him showing up at his “business” partner’s house to bitch him out in the middle of the night.

It’s also important to note that Beyonce usually doesn’t go in for this sort of thing. She’s not really the Artist/Activist type. This video is the most political she has ever gotten, and I swear it took the convergence of Black Lives Matter, Black History Month, Mardis Gras, a Nat Turner Rebellion movie, the blatant disrespect of casting a white man to play Michael Jackson, and all the planets to bring us this blessing. Many have said Formation is the phrase, “I love my blackness, and yours.” given physical form. It is all that and more.

Originally posted by lahnvahn

This opening line prepares us for the realness to come

Let’s start with the fact that Formation features a voice over by Big Freedia the Queen Diva of NOLA Bounce. If you don’t know Bounce music, or you don’t know Big Freedia–and if you don’t know Bounce, you won’t know Big Freedia–let me direct you to Youtube so you can educate yourself. I recommend you start with Excuse, and Y’all Get Back Now. Big Freedia also has a very nice feature in Ru Paul’s Peanut Butter.

All throughout this video we are treated to imagery from Black queer culture, from Big Freedia’s voice-over, to dancers, to queens just slaying in the beauty shop. Again, if you are unfamiliar with the richness of Black queer culture, I direct you to the internet, because there’s just too much to explain. Start with Paris Is Burning on Netflix and go from there I guess? Like, literal books have been written and it is too big an undertaking for me alone. But Formation is an anthem for Black Femmes as much as it is for Blackness in general.

Originally posted by yoncehaunted

Beyonce heard all y’all talking that shit about “Why is her hair always done, but she can’t make sure her baby’s hair is done?” Uh, because Blue is a child, and that is her NATURAL HAIR, and she clearly is ROCKING IT.

In fact, this video features A WEALTH of natural hair, textured hair, weaves, perms, braids, Black hair in general.

Note: Baby hairs are small, fine, wispy hairs on your hairline that your mother would brush or gel in a specific way. If you don’t know what a baby hair is, ask a Black person, or someone with “ethnic” hair (gag).

Originally posted by yoncehaunted

Originally posted by freekumdress

Originally posted by 711vevo

In fact, every single person in this video is Black except for the cops.

And let’s talk about that scene

Originally posted by ecstasyformyears

A little black boy dancing his heart out in front of a line of cops in riot gear,

and the cops put their hands up. YES YES YES YES YESYEYSYESYES!!!!!

Originally posted by dorawinifredread

Please note the multiple nods to Majorette culture (okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, prove to me you got some coordination, slay trick or you get eliminated) which is very southern.

Formation is very southern

Originally posted by nerd4music

From Southern Gothic imagery

to people dressed for Mardis Gras

To the scenes with people dressed in 19th century Creole garb, in their parlors, with fans.

Now let’s examine some of the lyrics:

My Daddy Alabama, Mama Louisiana

This is more than a statement about Beyonce’s roots. The vast majority of Black Americans can trace their ancestry to the South, after many of us moved to northern cities in the Great Migration. To this day, the majority of Black people in the US live in the South. I’m a New Yorker for generations back on either side, but guess what? The family reunion each year is held in Virginia, because that’s where my people come from.

I like my negro nose and Jackson Five nostrils

There has literally never been a more full-throated, stalwart, stark as hell positive affirmation of Blackness in mainstream, popular media since the original Black Is Beautiful movement in the 60′s. Maybe not since the Harlem Renaissance? I predict In a few years, people will be inverting their contours and getting plastic surgery to achieve the coveted Jackson Five nostril. Only by then they’ll rename it something more palatable to the mainstream (Read: white people).

I got hot sauce in my bag

Let me tell you something about my septuagenarian Grandparents: they literally always have a bottle of hot sauce in their car. Like many retirees, they like to travel, take cruises, do old people stuff. Never have they ever gone anywhere without a bottle of hot sauce. Never has my grandfather been in a restaurant and not requested hot sauce–even though he always has his own.

As I type this, I have a bottle of hot sauce on my night stand, next to my bed. Why? Because I put that shit on everything, and it’s just more convenient to keep it handy. I put hot sauce on pepperoni pizzas. Sometimes I sip out of the hot sauce bottle like it’s a fine wine.

I make all this money, but they’ll never take the country out me

A reminder to never forget your roots, a statement about preserving your identity under the pressures of assimilation, or commentary on respectability politics–no matter how much money you make, how famous you become, you’ll always be Black to the powers that be? Trick question. It’s all three

Originally posted by northgang


Note: Red Lobster is known to be the de-facto Black date night restaurant. I have no idea why.

All of this culminates in Beyonce, sprawled atop a NOLA police car, sinking into the flood waters of Katrina. She metaphorically drowns the police in a flood caused by the colossal abdication of responsibility by those in power at the expense of the disenfranchised. She is prostrated on the symbolic corpse of the oppressor as it is subsumed by water.

I Literally Can Not.

Other images that made me want to praise dance:

  1. Black man riding a horse down the street. Little known fact, Black people were some of the first cowboys in the American west. For the most famous example, see the actual man The Lone Ranger is based off of.
  2. The newspaper with the picture of Martin Luther King and front page headline that read, “More Than A Dreamer.” A reference to the #ReclaimMLK movement, which is about countering the sanitized, white-washed, commodified version of his message with the reality of his radicalism.
  3. The fact that the portraits on the walls of the mansion are of Black women
  4. I slay, I slay, I slay

@crissle, @melinapendulum, @chescaleigh, @jemandthediazepams