3 NC Women You Should Know About

Women’s history month is among us, and even though women deserve more than just one month to celebrate all the wonderful things we have accomplished, it still feels great to spend some time reflecting on this very important topic. 

Here are just three of the countless women from North Carolina who sparked change and helped pave the way for us today.


  1. 1. Penelope Barker, leader of the Edenton Tea Party

    teacup with flower and book page

    On Oct. 25, 1774, Penelope Barker led one of the first political activities staged by women in the county. Barker and 50 other women in Edenton, North Carolina, stated in writing their boycott of East Indian tea since it was taxed by the British. She also encouraged women to boycott other British imports like cloth.

    “We, the aforesaid Ladys will not promote ye wear of any manufacturer from England until such time that all acts which tend to enslave our Native country shall be repealed,” the resolution stated."

  2. 2. Mab Segrest, author and activist

    Mab Segrest, a white lesbian, is an avid feminist and antiracist writer and scholar. She saw writing as a way to fight for political change.  In her 1994 book, “Memoir of a Race Traitor,” she detailed her experiences organizing anti-Neo-Nazi and anti-Klan activities in North Carolina, where she attended Duke University. 

    She also served worked with the North Carolinians Against Racist, and Religious Violence (NCARRV) for seven years and the Urban-Rural Mission for eight years.

  3. 3. Annie Wealthy Holland, educator

    college classroom

    In 1928, Annie Wealthy Holland formed the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers in Gates County, North Carolina. This organization was the first of its kind for Black and African Americans at the time. Holland was an educator and spent her career as a teacher, principal’s assistant and teaching supervisor.

    You can read more about Holland  here.

Three cheers for women like Barker, Segrest and Holland, and the countless others who helped change and show the world how truly important women are!

Read more about women’s history month on the North Carolina Museum of History’s website.