5 Women That History Forgets

Girls get sh*t done. 

Sybil Ludington (1761 – 1839)

We have all heard of and praised Paul Revere, the man who rode on his horse to warn that “the British are coming,” but we haven’t heard of the woman who rode even farther than Revere did. Sybil Ludington was only 16 years old when her family found out that British troops where going to attack near her home, so she decided to warn the country side of the attack. She rode on horseback in the rain and traveled 40 miles to announce that the British were coming. After her warning, she served as a messenger in the Revolutionary War, but soon faded from history.

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Dorothy Lawrence (1896 – 1964)

How far would you go to fight for your country and for your freedom? Dorothy Lawrence, who was a reporter in England, went above and beyond when disguised herself as a man to go fight in World War I. Making her the first confirmed female to fight in the English army. She left her job as a journalist, cut her hair, flattened her chest, darkened her complexion and went to fight the war. She got help from fellow comrades to help her blend in more, even asking them to teach her to walk more androgynously. She served for 10 days before falling ill, when her symptoms got worse, she told her commanding officer that she was a woman and was put on military arrest. She came back home, was interrogated, deemed a prisoner of war and swore that she would never write of her experience as a soldier. An oath that she broken when she published a work in 1919 detailing her experience. Her story doesn't end well, she ended up being declared insane after telling her doctor she was raped by a church official and was committed to an asylum where she remained until she died in 1964. 

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Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005)

Dubbed the Hillary Clinton before Hillary Clinton, Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to run for president. However, before that she became the first African American congresswoman in 1968. During this time, she fought for the underprivileged and the minorities. Pushed a bill for domestic worker benefits, advocated for an improved access to education, and fought for immigrant rights. She announced her presidential candidacy in 1972 where her slogan was, “Unbought and unbossed.” Speaking about her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman… who dared to be a catalyst of change.” 

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Alice Coachman (1922 – 2014)

Alice Coachman was the first black woman to win an Olympic Gold medal for winning the high jump for the United States. When she was young, she was forbidden from training with white people at their athletic fields, so she would use ropes and sticks as high jumps. During the 1948 Olympic Games in London, she and British jumper Dorothy Tyler cleared the bar at 5ft 6in, but Coachman cleared the jump first, so she won the gold medal. King George VI awarded her the medal, making her not only the first black women to win but also the only American woman to win a gold medal in the 19948 games. When she went back home, she met with President Truman and her hometown of Albany, Georgia held an “Alice Coachman Day.” Four years later she became the first black female athlete to be endorsed by an international consumer product when she signed up to promote Coca-Cola. 

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Margaret Hamilton (1936 – present)   

Hamilton is an American computer scientist and systems engineer. She is credited with creating the term, “software engineering.” She was the Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation laboratory, which developed on-board software for the Apollo Space program. She designed and developed a system software that included the error detection and recovery software, like restarts and the Display Interface Routines. Due to all her hard work, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were able to land on the moon safely. In 2003, NASA honored Hamilton with an award for her software innovations. In 2016, President Obama awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the United States. 

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