31 Days of Women: Part 3

I’m back ladies! And it’s time for round 3 of celebrating some awesome women! So let’s get started with our next 6 women!

Sophonisba Breckinridge (1866-1948)

Sophonisba Breckinridge was a social worker, educator, and social activist. In 1895, she became the first woman to be admitted to the bar, and to practice law in Kentucky. She helped develop the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy which was established in 1903 for the education of social workers. She was a Chicago city health inspector, a probation officer for the Chicago Juvenile Court, a member of the NAACP, and a secretary of the Immigrants’ Protective League. She worked for civil rights and compulsory education laws, the minimum wage, the abolition of child labor, the eight-hour day, the establishment of a Federal Children’s Bureau, and the state’s right to remove children from abusive parents.

Information obtained from www.naswfoundation.org

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)

Marsha P. Johnson was a transwoman and drag queen that became an important face of the LGBTQ+ community in New York City. She, along with Sylvia Rivera, founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR). Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels but legally changed her name after 1966. The ‘P’ in her name stood for “Pay it no mind” which was her response to the question people often had of whether she was male or female. She also became part of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which sought political action and protection for citizens based on their sexual orientation. Johnson passed away in 1992 and her body was found in the Hudson River. Police ruled it a suicide despite her friends insisting she was not suicidal. Her friends were unsuccessful in convincing the police to conduct a formal investigation of her death until 2012 when activist Mariah Lopez succeeded in getting NYPD to reopen the case.

Information obtained from outhistory.org

Jane Addams (1860-1935)

Jane Addams won worldwide recognition as a pioneer social worker in America, as a feminist, and as an internationalist. She, along with Ellen G. Starr, bought a house in an underprivileged area of Chicago and opened it to the public for the purpose of providing “a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.” They added facilities like a public kitchen, a music school, and an employment bureau. In 1905, she was appointed to Chicago’s Board of Education, she participated in the founding of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, and became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. In 1910, she received the first honorary degree ever awarded to a woman by Yale University.

Information obtained from www.nobelprize.org

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Frida Kahlo is considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists and is one of the most well-known female artists. After being severely injured and being put on bed rest to heal, she took up painting to pass the time. She mostly painted self-portraits because she often spent time alone and claimed she was the subject she knew the most about. She had her first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, in 1938, after catching the interest of Andre Breton. After the success of that exhibition, many followed in several different countries. She was a founding member of the Seminario de Cultura Mexicana. She died in 1954, at the age of 47 due to health issues. Kahlo’s work was often overshadowed by her husband’s, Diego Rivera, work, and she was mainly known as Rivera’s wife until the 1970s when her work was re-discovered by art historians and political activists. By the 1990s, she had become an icon for Chicanos, feminists, and the LGBTQ movement.

Information obtained from Wikipedia

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)

Mary McLeod Bethune was the daughter of former slaves and became one of the most important black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders, and government officials of the twentieth century. She founded a college, Bethune-Cookman College, that set educational standards for today’s black colleges. She was the founding president of the National Council of Negro Women and the vice president of the NAACP. In 1936, she became the highest ranking African-American woman in government when President FDR named her director of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. She was also a leader of FDR’s unofficial “black cabinet.” Appointed by President Truman, Bethune was the only woman of color present at the founding conference of the United Nations. A memorial statue of her can be found in Washington D.C.

Information obtained from www.nwhm.org

Dolores Huerta (1930-Present)

Dolores Huerta, along with Cesar Chavez, is the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. Huerta helped organize the 1965 Delano strike of 5,000 grape workers, which led to a successful union contract. She was the driving force behind these boycotts and the lead negotiator for the workers’ contracts. In 1973, she led another consumer boycott of grapes that resulted in the ground-breaking California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and conditions. During the 1990s and 2000s, she worked to elect more Latinos and women to political office and has championed women’s issues. As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and the President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Information obtained from www.nwhm.org

Congratulations! You just learned about 6 more awesome women! We are over half through our celebration of National Women's History Month and we have 2 more weeks packed with revolutionary women, so stay tuned!