amazing women in history

Michelle Obama (b. 1964) is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. With a BA degree in Sociology from Princeton, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a career as a lawyer and city administrator in Chicago, she is one of the most educated and accomplished First Ladies in history.

Throughout her time as FLOTUS she was actively involved in campaigns promoting physical activity and healthy eating, in an effort to tackle the obesity crisis in the US. Other initiatives she led and supported include promoting the arts, helping women achieve a proper work and life balance, and encouraging national service.

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amazing women series
Toni Morrison 


Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye and Beloved.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities.

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family. Her parents moved to Ohio to escape southern racism and instilled a sense of heritage through telling traditional African American folktales. She read frequently as a child; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. According to a 2012 interview in The Guardian, she became a Catholic at the age of 12 and received the baptismal name “Anthony”, which later became the basis for her nickname “Toni”.

Morrison taught English at two branches of the State University of New York and at Rutgers University: New Brunswick Campus. In 1984 she was appointed to an Albert Schweitzer chair at the University at Albany, The State University of New York. From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, Morrison held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University.

She has conceived and developed the prestigious Princeton Atelier, a program that brings together talented students with critically acclaimed, world-famous artists. Together the students and the artists produce works of art that are presented to the public after a semester of collaboration. In her position at Princeton, Morrison used her insights to encourage not merely new and emerging writers, but artists working to develop new forms of art through interdisciplinary play and cooperation.

In April 2015, speaking of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Walter Scott—three unarmed black men killed by white police officers—Morrison said “People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race.’ This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back. And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, 'Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

Ruth Shady (b. 1946) is an archaeologist and anthropologist from Peru. She is the founder and director of the archaeological project at Caral – the most ancient city in the Americas, and the site of the Norte Chico civilisation.

She has directed numerous archaeological projects around Peru, offering valuable information about the history of the Americas and the civilisations that once inhabited it. She also served as the director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of Peru, and professor at the National University of San Marcos.

Edith Sampson (1898-1979) was the first black US delegate appointed to the United Nations. She was also an attorney, having completed Law School with a special dean’s commendation, all while working full-time as a social worker.

In 1924 she opened a law office that served the African-American community of Chicago. In 1943 she became a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers, one of the first WOC to do so. She was elected by President Truman to serve on the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee of the UN in 1950, and 11 years later she became the USA’s first black representative for NATO.

What's Our Next Step?

Donald Trump is the president-elect. This is the last thing many of us wanted or imagined, and the world is shaking in its boots. Where do we go from here? Here’s where we begin:

-Recognize that what Hillary Clinton did for women in politics was amazing. She has solidified her place in history as the first major party female nominee for president. Remember that she was a person, a person with real ideas and love in her heart for the American people.

-Recognize that Donald Trump is #notyourpresident. A man who does not care for or respect you does not deserve your respect in return. It does not matter that he will hold the highest office in the land (barring impeachment). He is just a man, just another human being, with real weaknesses. We shall continue to expose those weaknesses and his black heart for the whole world to see. You do not owe him anything. He does not represent you.

-Appreciate everything the Obama administration has done. Hell, write him and Joe a thank-you card. The man who forced him to release his long form birth certificate has now been elected into office, and that is a sucker punch to Barack Obama and his legacy. He deserved better than this. Get everything done in the next couple months that you can that may be harder to do after January 20th, such as getting an IUD and help from Planned Parenthood, or get your physical while you’re still covered.

-Realize that the electoral college? Is bullshit. It no longer works. If we had gone off popular vote, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton would be our president, because that’s who the majority of Americans voted for. Protest the hell out of the electoral college.

-Support your community. Whether you’re LGBT, Muslim, a woman (cis or trans), Mexican, or any other minority that Trump and the Republicans have disgraced. We’re stronger together, and if we work together, nothing can stop us.

-LEARN THAT VOTING THIRD PARTY KINDA RUINS IT FOR EVERYBODY. How’s your conscience feel now, huh?

-Keep fighting for what’s right. Fight for the plans and ideas Clinton and the Democrats were running to support.

-Remember that you have a voice. You have rights. The Constitution secures many of them for you, and the most freeing ones come in that first amendment: religion, speech, press, protest. You’re going to need all of them to overcome the challenge of living under a president that wants to take that away from you.

-Support the press. They kinda fucked up covering Trump. They gave him the upper hand with all this air time, treating him like he wasn’t a threat. Because he really is now. But, now they have the chance to make it right by really digging up some serious dirt on him and making his life in office a living hell.

-This is a revolution. And what made the past beautiful was that people got off their asses in order to make their voices heard about issues they cared about. They gathered. They marched. And they didn’t keep quiet. Am I suggesting we protest Trump (or Pence’s) inauguration? Am I suggesting we march on Washington to show our unity? Do you need to stop talking about your displeasure on social media and actually physically get out there and get shit done? Yeah, you do. Let’s get together.

-Women and minorites have a long way to go. It feels as if the last victory women got was 96 years ago when we got the vote. We still haven’t broken the highest glass ceiling. But we will. We absolutely will. So we need to get together and make sure we all get the justice we deserve and lead EVERYONE forward. We need to educate people on equality. Not condescend to them.

Hard times are ahead, pals. But we can do this. We can make Donald Trump wish he was never born, let alone that he won the presidency. And I’m serious when I say that if you’d like to organize something, from a web page to a publication to protest in some form, message me.

We can do this. Because we’re stronger together.

thanks to the amazing Lin-Manuel Miranda and his masterpiece that is Hamilton, more people are taking an interest in colonial american history. I think I should share some of the historical anecdotes and fun facts I’ve picked up over the years because of my history obsession… 

  • One of John Adams’ sons, Charles Adams, once ran naked across Harvard Yard.
  • We all know Hercules Mulligan, but did you know he owned slaves? (your opinion of him just changed a little didn’t it?) Anyway… he had a slave named Cato who worked with Mulligan for the patriot cause. Cato was a double agent and he gave vital information to Lafayette that would eventually lead to the victory at Yorktown. 
  • When Thomas Jefferson’s wife died in 1782 he locked himself away in their room at Monticello and refused to leave for weeks. He burned all her letters and some of her belongings and rarely spoke of her for the rest of his life. 
  • Benjamin Franklin liked to take what he called “air baths” in which he sat naked in an empty bathtub with a window open for a couple hours a day
  • Abigail Adams was amazing. She taught herself to read (even though women were not allowed/afforded a proper education back then), she was active in the patriot cause, spoke openly against slavery and was for equal rights for women and people of color. 
  • Abigail and John Adams were strongly against slavery and refused to live in the white house because it was built by slaves. 
  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence)… only FIVE hours apart from each other. 
  •  When Lafayette went back to France he took soil from Bunker Hill with him and was buried in it when he died. So even though his grave is in France, he’s buried in American soil and to this day he always has an American flag waving next to him :’) 
  • Lafayette’s ship was called the Hermione. Sadly, the original no longer exists but an exact replica was built and spent this past summer travelling all over the United States and Canada 
  • Many historians believe (myself included) that George Washington was probably not straight (along with many other founding fathers) 
  • John Adams was actually a pretty cool guy but Alexander Hamilton was salty that Adams fired him and that’s why he made fun of him all the time (Which I don’t blame Alex for, it was a pretty jerk move of Adams to fire him, but keep in mind that Adams WAS a cool guy and maybe the fandom shouldn’t make fun of him so much…) 

there are so many more but I wanted to focus on some that most people probably don’t know already… feel free to add to my list if you think of any more

(I could cite all these to prove their accuracy but I’m lazy and hopefully you people know how to google)

[EDIT: I realized that I wasn’t clear enough on a few of these. 

  • Abigail Adams did not have any formal education. She worked very hard to develop her reading skills and taught herself in many areas. She read avidly and became a very well educated and accomplished woman. 
  • Yes Adams is credited as being the first president to live in the White House, but he didn’t live there. While in office his primary residence was his home in Quincy, Massachusetts and he only stayed at the White House while he was in DC. Combined with the fact that slaves built the White House, DC was also a swampy and not-so-fun place to be back then. As a result, no, John Adams did not technically live in the White House. ]  
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Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) was a sculptor working mostly in the Neoclassical style, who was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to gain international fame in this art. She emerged as a figure in American mainstream art during the Civil War, and was the only black female artist recognized to any degree on the artistic scene.

She studied at Oberlin College, one of the first institutions to admit women and people of different ethnicities. She went on to begin a career in sculpting in Boston, and opened her studio to the public for her first solo exhibition in 1864. She later moved to Rome, Italy, where she created most of the works for which she became internationally known (such as Death of Cleopatra, photo above).

Gwen John - Self Portrait (1902)

Gwen John was a Welsh artists whose legacy mostly consists of portraits of anonymous female sitters. During her lifetime she was overshadowed by her bother Augustus, however, today it seems that his prophecy that “in 50 years I will be known as Gwen John’s brother” has come true since most contemporary art critics see her as the more talented of the two.

At 27 she permanently moved Paris since it was easier there for young women to make a living. She lived a fairly solitary life with her cats, devoted most of her time to painting and had several passionate love affairs with men and women. She created several thousand art works that have been praised for their atmosphere of serenity and a reduced colour palette, and are presented in major contemporary collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate Gallery.

Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919) is remembered today as one of the first and most successful female entrepreneurs, one of the wealthiest African American women of the century, and the first female self-made millionaire in the USA. Her fortune was the result of her highly popular business venture, the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, which sold beauty and hair products for black women.

She was the first in her family to be born free, after the Emancipation Proclamation. She began by selling hair care products door-to-door, and eventually opened a beauty parlour that grew into a steady, multi-million-dollar business. At its height, the company employed 20,000 women, and spread across the Americas. She became a patron of the arts and a philanthropist devoted to helping the black community around her.

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amazing women series
Maya Angelou    
   
Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, dancer, actress and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
    In 1982, she earned the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was activist in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties.
   She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou’s major works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel.