Mary Church Terrell
Dr. Francis Cress Welsing
The truth is that many American Indian and Indigenous women were warriors and explorers. And they have been activists and advocates for their people. Women such as Anacaona who was a Taino (indigenous) woman from the land that is now Haiti, Sarah Winnemucca whose name was Thocmentony–named after a flower–and was a member of a Northern Paiute tribe in Nevada, and Waziyatawin , a Dakota, member of a Minnesota tribe, and a professor activist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
Anacaona became a chief after the passing of one of her brothers, and represented her people to the Spanish. One could say that she had a close relationship with the Spanish. Ultimately, they betrayed her trust, and executed her by hanging.
Waziyatawin, a professor of Indigenous history, has been an outspoken activist and advocate for the Dakota people, and for all other indigenous people.
If you want to learn more about inspiring American Indian and Indigenous women, check out some resources in the Prairie State College Library!
March is a month beaming with historical pride and cultural celebrations . Not only have we come to accept it as the gateway to a new season, but as the birthing of “new” day. Born are not just the leaves and the flowers, but the American spirit that has been forged by the great works of those throughout history. This includes the works of phenomenal women who have become pioneers and leaders in fields that were once dominated by men. Their works have become a launching pad for future generations to soar into new heights. During the month of March, we celebrate their remarkable accomplishments:
1849 Elizabeth Blackwell receives her M.D. degree from the Medical Institution of Geneva, N.Y., becoming the first woman in the U.S. with a medical degree.
1869 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony organize the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for women’s rights, especially the right to vote. More than a century later, Anthony was honored when the U.S. Mint created a coin using her image.
1872 Victoria Claflin Woodhull becomes the first woman presidential candidate in the United States when she is nominated by the National Radical Reformers.
1885 Sarah E. Goode becomes the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet. Goode, who owned a furniture store in Chicago, intended the bed to be used in apartments.
1916 Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
1970 Diane Crump becomes the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby.
1981 Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, making her its first woman justice.
1983 Dr. Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman to be sent into space.
2005 Hillary Clinton becomes the first First Lady to be elected to public office. She joins Congress as a U.S. Senator from New York.
2009 Sonia Sotomayor is nominated as the 111th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic American and only the third woman to serve on the nation’s top court.
For more information on famous women in history, stop by PSC Library and check out some of the titles that we have on display:
March is Women’s History Month and so we have a variety of books about women who have played a major role in history on display at the PSC Library. Check out Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui by Deborah Scroggins to learn the story of two women on opposite sides of Islam. Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim in Africa, but eventually broke away from her faith and sought asylum in Europe. She has since been very outspoken in her belief that there should be a war against Islam and has gained worldwide notoriety for her actions speaking out against what she sees as Islam’s “backward” practices. Siddiqui was raised in Pakistan, but spent several years in the United States pursuing her education in neuroscience. She left the U.S. after she came under suspicion for her ties to al-Queda and was eventually captured in Pakistan in 2008 with information on how to make explosive, chemical, and biological weapons and several other items linking her to terrorism. She is now serving an 86 year sentence in a federal prison. Scroggins digs deeper into the stories of these two women to tell the story of how the subjugation of women has played a central role in radical Islam.
Another title on display is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, our One Book, One Community read this year. The cells Lacks unknowingly donated years ago have aided medical research in numerous ways. We have several copies of the book available, so come in and check one out and then join in the community discussion during the events we have planned in April, including a visit from Henrietta’s son David on April 24.
You can also check out any of the books below from the PSC Library to learn more about important women in history.