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Happy Women's History Month!


“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

~ Maya Angelou

 

Good Morning My Confidants!


Happy Women’s History Month!


Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. Women’s History Month is a dedicated month to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to U.S. history. From Abigail Adams to Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth to Rosa Parks, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.*

 

I was wondering why women get 31 days and African Americans only get 28/29, when it occurred to me that 50% of the people in the world are women (actually 50.47 percent) and 13.9% of women in the US are AA and it is predicted that women of color will be the majority of all women in the United States by 2060. So, all the racist people out there better get over themselves, cause the shit could very well hit the fan!

 

In the meantime, I thought I would list some women that I think are heroes/heroines.

 

First....

 

HARRIET TUBMAN

 

What an incredibly amazing and brave woman! Talking about her gives me goosebumps! There are talkers...and then there are do-ers. And this do-er risked her life over and over again.


Ms. Tubman was an American anti-slavery and women rights’ campaigner who escaped slavery to become one of the leading abolitionists in the time before the American Civil War.


However!


After escaping and fleeing to Philadelphia, she went back, where she easily could have been captured and killed, and led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad! I just can’t imagine! And she served as a scout, a nurse and a spy in the Union forces during the Civil War. In later life she spoke out for women’s suffrage, giving speeches in favor of women’s right to vote. The U.S. Mint released the 2024 Harriet Tubman Silver Dollar in honor of her, she was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973, and there remains in the works a plan to have her image replace President Andrew Jackson’s on the $20 bill. I hope this happens!

 

PAT NORMAN

 

was the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department and an American activist for women’s rights, as well as the rights of the African American, and LGBT communities. She cofounded the Lesbian Mothers Union which was concerned with custody problems and provided support for lesbian mothers, who were routinely stripped of their parental rights for being openly lesbian. As a counselor with the Center for Special Problems from 1972-1979, she wrote and implemented policy regarding mental health services for sexual minority communities. She also developed training programs for health workers who served these communities, training over 300+ staff members to become competent, sensitive, and aware of the needs of the LGBTQ+ communities. And, she helped initiate community response to the AIDS epidemic.


Now this is a big deal. When the crisis first hit, there was no proper care for men dying of AIDS. They would lay in their rooms, their food on carts in the hallway, because no one would enter the room. At that time, gay men and lesbian women weren't particularly friendly, but it was thanks to lesbian women, who put aside differences, and entered those rooms and gave them care and love. It makes me cry every time I think of this. How incredibly powerful!


 

OCTAVIA BUTLER

 

Octavia Butler was a science fiction author who I was so fortunate to meet before she died. She was a delight! She was a multiple recipient of the Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, Butler became the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Extremely shy as a child, Butler found an outlet at the library reading fantasy, and in writing. She began writing science fiction as a teenager. Ms. Butler attended community college during the Black Power movement. While participating in a local writer's workshop, she was encouraged to attend the Clarion Workshop, then held in Pennsylvania, which focused on science fiction. She soon sold her first stories and by the late 1970s had become sufficiently successful as an author to be able to write full-time.


I was completely blown away by her the Xenogenesis trilogy. I had and have never read anything, anything, like it. The series is about a future humanity that has survived a nuclear apocalypse that destroys Earth. Saved by the Oankali aliens, the human survivors must combine their DNA with an ooloi, the Oankali’s third sex, in order to create a new race that eliminates a self-destructive flaw in humans. I was broken hearted when I heard that she had died of a stroke at only 58 years old.


 

KITTY BLACK PERKINS

 

Of course, as a doll collector, I had to include Kitty Black Perkins, who was a fashion designer who eventually became Mattel’s Chief Designer of Fashions and Coll Concepts and was credited for creating more than 100 designs a year, amounting to over one fifth of all of the designs for Barbie. She worked in non-doll fashion for six years before responding to a blind classified ad from Mattel. She reports never having had a Barbie doll until she purchased one to prepare for the interview. She became principal designer for Barbie in 1978.


Perkins designed Mattel’s first Black Barbie, which debuted in 1980 after demand from collectors. Previous Black dolls in Mattel’s line were marketed simply as Barbie’s friends. According to the National Museum of Play, the Barbie was sold in a box that read, “She’s black!” She has received the doll industry's highest honor, the Doll of the Year (DOTY) award.


I have yet to acquire an original Black Barbie, although I have many Black Ken and Barbies in my collection!


 

NICHELLE NICHOLS

 

She was one of my true heroes growing up and growing older. Ms. Nichols was an actress and singer, who of course was known for her role as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and its film sequels. Nichelle’s portrayal of Uhura was groundbreaking for African American actresses on American television. There is a famous story about how she had decided to stop playing the role, and the weekend after informing Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, she attended a banquet organized by the NAACP, where she was informed that a fan wanted to meet her. "I looked across the room and ... there was Dr. Martin Luther King walking towards me." she said. "He reached out to me and said, 'Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.'" When she told him she was leaving the show, "he said, 'You cannot, you cannot... For the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day—as intelligent, quality, beautiful people who can sing, dance, and go to space… who are professors, lawyers… If you leave, that door can be closed, because your role is not a black role, and is not a female role; he can fill it with anybody, even an alien." Needless to say, she did not leave Star Trek. Thank God!


Also, incredibly exciting, was the fact that from 1977 until 2015, she volunteered her time to promote NASA’s programs and recruitment of diverse astronauts, including some of the first female and ethnic minority astronauts. Incredible!


 

NATASHA RIA

 

This woman I am privileged to know and see most Sundays and am blown away when I hear her speak. I know that she is changing the world. Taking from her site, “Natasha Ria has been writing and performing poetry for three decades.” Amazing poetry I might add! “Whether it is performing with live musicians in Jazz, R&B, or Hip Hop or sharing her quieter literary work, her signature voice soothes audiences and brings them closer to themselves. Personal, political,” and “intersectional...[she] brings her entire self to her performances.” She “is not easily boxed in... [and] “is both introspective and cathartic and is most known for her honesty about motherhood, womanhood, politics and love.” I find her to be a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. I am honored to know this woman and I know she is shaping history/herstory!

 

And there you go, five women, as well as four Black women, who are heroes of mine! Forever and ever, Amen!


Namasté,

BG "Gentle Ben" Thomas



Also, much of the information in the biographies up above comes from Wikipedia.

 

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Guest
Mar 02

Beautiful! You always highlight such interesting people!😁

Like

from Marj: You go gals!

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