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Famous Women (Leaders, Heroes & Humanitarians)

Born in a time, place, or circumstance that called for action, these women heeded the call and answered. This board presents photographs or images of women who have made a positive difference in the world and have gifted us - in words & deeds - by changing the world for better or providing models of courage for us to follow.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, photo by Johannes Beckmann ca. 1936.

“Zitkala-Ša (1876–1938) (Dakota: pronounced zitkála-ša, which translates to “Red Bird”), also known by the missionary-given name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist. She wrote several works chronicling her struggles in her youth as she was pulled back and forth between the influences of dominant American culture and her own Native American heritage, as well as books in English that brought traditional Native American stories to a widespre

Portrait of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, and her two daughters, Eve and Irene, in 1908

© Richard Avedon, 1955, Portrait of Marian Anderson --- 20 years ago yesterday, African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century, Marian Anderson died. May her soul rest in peace.

Jim Marshall, 1960, Miriam Makeba, Monterey Jazz Festival; Miriam Makeba ("Mama Africa"), was a South African singer and civil rights activist. She actively campaigned against South African system of apartheid. As a result, her passport had been revoked in 1960 and South African government revoked her citizenship & right of return in 1963. As the apartheid system crumbled she returned home for the 1st time in 1990. Today would have been her 81st birthday. May her soul rest in peace. #portrait

First Black women to vote in Ettrick, Virginia, 1920 These women, left to right, are Eva Conner, Evie Carpenter, Odelle Green, Virginia Mary Branch, Anna Lindsay, Edna Colson, Edwina Wright, Johnella Frazer, and Nannie Nichols,

Sophie & Hans Scholl, their friend Christoph Probst, and several others were members of the White Rose, a group Hans and three fellow medical students founded to declare opposition to the Hitler regime and rally the resistance movement. They were subsequently imprisoned, tried, and executed in February 1943.

Can’t Forget, Won’t Forget: 18 February 1943

Annie Oakley (1860-1926), born Phoebe Ann Mosey, was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. As she was becoming known, Frank Butler, a traveling show marksman, had bet he could beat any local fancy shooter. He lost to Oakley but began courting her. They married on June 20, 1882. Oakley's amazing talent and timely rise to fame led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which propelled her to become the first American female superstar. Oakley's most famous trick is p...

Annie Oakley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) was the most prominent female American chemist of the 19th century, and a pioneer in sanitary engineering. Her family was relatively poor, so she had to work to save enough money to attend Vassar College. She earned earned a Bachelor of Science in 1870, and was most attracted to astronomy (as a pupil of Maria Mitchell) and chemistry. After being rejected by various industrial chemists, she ...

Mary Somerville (1780-1872) was an innovative and talented science communicator, with an extraordinary (and mostly self-taught) grasp of mathematics in an era when most women had no access to formal education. As a direct result of her work, calculus was introduced to the English-speaking scientific world, the idea of physics (as a single subject containing topics such as optics, thermodynamics and astronomy) was invented, and the term “scientist” was coined ...

Audrey Hepburn was still a young teenager when she began to help the Dutch resistance during WWII. An accomplished ballerina by age 14, she started out helping the resistance by dancing. She danced in secret productions to raise money for the resistance. Hepburn also occasionally ran messages for the resistance. Had she been discovered doing either of these things, a swift execution would have followed.

WWII Files: Audrey Hepburn and the Dutch Resistance

Irshad Manji is a Muslim and founder and director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University's School of Public Service.

Desmond Tutu: I'd Choose Hell Over A Homophobic Heaven

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a leader in the civil & women's rights movements who constantly called out American media for downplaying white-on-black violence throughout the late 1800s. As a journalist, Wells-Barnett documented each & every lynching with graphic details and headlines, helping to expose the country to the reality and brutality of racism.

Delilah L. Beasley. "She was the first black woman to write regularly for a major daily newspaper when her celebrated column, 'Activities Among Negroes' started in the Oakland Tribune in 1923. She continued her careful coverage of the black community until shortly before her death in 1934. She was instrumental in persuading the national press to stop using racial slurs...[and] became an outspoken activist for civil rights for both black people and women."

Wonderful photo of Madam Elizabeth Keckley, former slave, dressmaker/designer and faithful friend to Mary Todd Lincoln. Look at her style! In her later years, she taught home economics at Wilberforce University in Ohio.

"I don't really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me that tells me that there is a problem, and I have got to do something about it. I think that is what I would call the God in me." ~ Wangari Maathai

Unbowed - Wangari Maathai

"Night Witches - for those not in the know, night witches were russian lady bombers who bombed the shit out of german lines in WW2. Thing is though, they had the oldest, noisiest, crappest planes in the entire world. The engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid flight to restart the props. to stop germans from hearing them coming and starting up their anti aircraft guns, they’d climb up to a certain height, coast down to german positio...

Meet Caroline Norton. If you have gone through a divorce and had someone advocate for your rights, you have her to thank for it. In the mid 1800's Caroline was in a loveless marriage to a man who beat her savagely. On several occasions she was thrown out of her own home, and forbidden access to her children. In those days, married women were put into the same category as "lunatics, idiots, outlaws and children". Their rights were in the hands of others. Caroline petitioned...

The wife who changed history - by asking for the first divorce

Juana Galán was known for  beating Napoleon’s troops out of her village during the Battle of Valdepeñas in June, 1808. There weren’t enough men to defend the village from invading French. Juana, 21, immediately rallied all of the women in the village. When the French troops marched in, the women dumped boiling oil on top of them. Juana stood in the street with a large club and beat seven shades of @#$%out of any French soldier that crossed her path. The French never returned.