Who was nominated

 

Abigail Adams

Abigail and John Adams wrote over 1,100 letters to each other that continue to provide us with a great deal of information. Abigail’s letters show her providing key information to the Continental Congress, calling for women’s rights, voicing her abolitionist and anti-racial discrimination views, and her romantic side. In 1776, Adams wrote to husband to “remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors…” when writing the new laws of the land. She went on, “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

 

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an internationally renowned poet, dancer, singer, and civil rights activist. Born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri Angelou grew up in St. Louis and in Arkansas. Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco's Labor School, but she soon dropped out to be one of the first African American woman to work as a cable car conductor. Angelou did finish high school and had her son only a few weeks after graduating. In the 1950s she joined the Harlem Writer's Guild and began working on her novel "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which was published in 1970. She would go on to write 35 more books. Angelou has also won three Grammy Awards, served on two presidential committees, and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others, founded the suffrage movement in America and brought it to prominence. Though she dedicated over fifty years of her life to the cause, Anthony never lived to see her efforts come to fruition. When a law giving women the right to vote on a national level was finally passed in 1920, it was nicknamed ‘the Anthony Amendment’.

 

Rahel Bailie

Rahel Bailie works in intentional design to create and better manage communication products.  Bailie focuses on improving performance by analyzing business goals. Bailie uses as much technology as possible to improve organizations.

 

Ida B. Wells Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett challenged discrimination and sexism, exposed injustice, and fought for equality. Wells-Barnett wrote scathing articles decrying the scourge of lynching. Her expose about an 1892 lynching enraged locals who burned her press and drove her from Memphis. She relocated to Chicago where she founded the first black woman suffrage organization, the Alpha Suffrage Club, and campaigned nationally for civil rights.

 

Clara Barton

Clara Barton began teaching at age 18 in 1839 near her home in Oxford, Massachusetts. Barton then founded the first free public school in Bordentown, New Jersey. The school was incredibly successful, and those in charge felt a man needed to be hired as principal. So upset by this, Barton left Bordentown and stopped teaching. She moved to Washington, D.C. and began working for the Patent Office. With this position, Barton became one of the first female federal employees. Barton was at the train station waiting, with many other women, to help some of the first men sent to D.C. after being wounded during the early battles of the Civil War. Barton saw the extreme shortage the soldiers had of basic necessities and began gathering supplies. She helped deliver the supplies to field hospitals and helped staff the hospitals while there. Barton did not stop working when the Civil War ended, instead she set up a Missing Soldiers Office in D.C. Baton helped connect families and soldiers who had lost track of each other during the war. She received over 68,000 requests and was able to locate more than 22,000 men.  In 1868, Barton met with the International Red Cross and began working to create the American Red Cross as part of the international organization.

 

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in America, earning her degree in 1849. She, her sister Emily Blackwell, and Marie Zakrzewska opened the first hospital run by women in the US. Their hospital, the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, was dedicated to serving women and children.

 

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn was the second wife to King Henry VIII of England. Boleyn was born circa 1501 to a wealthy British family. She lived at court as a young woman and became acquainted with the king. They had a relationship while the king was still married to Queen Catherine. Boleyn married to Henry in 1533 and was made queen. During her time as queen she worked to aid the poor. In 1536 Boleyn had still not given birth to a male heir to the throne and Henry had her arrested. Boleyn was charged with adultery, incest, and conspiracy. Boleyn was found guilty and on May 19, 1536 she was executed.

 

Georgian Ann “Tiny” Thompson Broader

Georgian Ann Thompson Broader was the first woman to parachute from an airplane. Known as “Tiny” from a young age, Broader grew up in North Carolina. In 1908, when she was 15, Broader jumped from a hot-air balloon with a parachute and loved the experience. She was hired as part of “The Broadwicks and their Famous French Aeronauts,” a group that performed jumps out of balloons. On June 21, 1913 Broader became the first woman to parachute from an airplane in the same year she became the first woman to parachute into a body of water. During World War I, the US Army contracted Broader to teach pilots how to escape falling airplanes.

 

Margaret Tobin Brown

Margaret Tobin Brown became known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” for her brave actions during the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Brown, born in Missouri, moved to Colorado in the 1880s. She married and her husband became very wealthy through mining stocks. While on a trip in Europe Brown learned that her grandson was ill and decide to return immediately to the US. She booked a ticket on the RMS Titanic. When the ship began to sink Brown helped others into lifeboats before being forced into one. After being rescued Brown helped organize relief efforts for passengers who had lost everything.

 

Lucy Burns

Lucy Burns was a suffragist who formed the National Women’s Party with Alice Paul. Burns’ headed the NWP’s lobbying efforts in Congress, edited ‘the Suffragist’ journal, and spent more time in prison than any other American suffragist.

 

Sylvia Burwell

Sylvia Burwell was sworn in as the Secretary of Health and Human Services on June 9, 2014. She has also served as the Director of Office Management and Budget, the President of the Wal-Mart Foundation, and the President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Rachel Carson

Marine biologist and nature writer, Rachel Carson sparked a global environmental movement. Her most notable achievement was her book Silent Spring, which focused the attention of American citizens on the negative effects of pesticide usage. Carson’s work was recognized with medals from the National Audubon Society and the American Geographical Society as well as induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.

 

Jerrie Cobb

Jerrie Cobb was the first woman to undergo testing for the selection of the Mercury Astronauts. She learned to fly at 12 and by 16 Cobb left home to barnstorm for a circus. When Cobb turned 18 she earned her commercial pilot’s license and began looking for flying jobs. However, in 1949 there were so many male pilots from World War II Cobb had a hard time finding a job. She worked as a flight instructor as and a crop duster. Cobb then began setting World Aviation records for speed, distance, and absolute altitude. In 1959, Cobb was picked as the first woman to undergo Mercury Astronaut Selection Tests. Based on how well Cobb did she was asked to requite 25 other women, the ones who made the cut became known as the Mercy 13. However, NASA decided not to use these women.

 

Claudette Colvin

In 1955 Claudette Colvin, at age 15, refused to give up her seat to a white woman nine months before Rosa Parks did. Colvin was arrested for her refusal to move. She hired a lawyer who was prepared to file a civil rights lawsuit. However, African American community leaders decided not to file a lawsuit since Colvin did not have any civil rights training. Colvin believes the NAACP did not want her to file the suit because she was too militant. In 1956 a case was filed, Browder v. Gayle, and ruled that it is not constitutional to segregate buses.

 

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz was a Cuban American salsa artist who recorded 23 gold albums. She first started recording in 1948. In 1950, Cruz was singing with Sonora Matancera, the Cuban orchestra. Cruz moved to the US in 1959 and became a citizen in 1961. She joined the Tito Puente Orchestra and became popular in Latin America. Cruz recorded more than 75 records by the 1990s.

 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a French physicist who has won two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and the other in chemistry. She experimented with uranium rays and coined the term “radioactivity.” It described the phenomena of uranium rays remaining constant no matter the form of the uranium, which Curie discovered. In 1903, Curie became the first woman to earn a Nobel Prize in physics. Curie won her second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry, in 1911 for the discovery of radium and polonium. Curie was the first scientist to win two Nobel Prizes and still the only woman to have done so.

 

Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix was an advocate for better treatment of the mentally ill and served as the Superintendent of Union Army Nurses during the Civil War. Dix began teaching at the age of 15 and devoted much of her life to education. She opened many schools and encouraged poor girls attend as well, because she saw the need for all to be educated not just the rich. At age 39 Dix started her next career, advocating for the mentally ill.  Dix had volunteered to teach Sunday School at the East Cambridge Jail, upon entering she was astonished by the conditions and that all prisons, no matter their mental health, were kept together. Dix took the matter to the Massachusetts Legislature and after much debate funds were allocated for the expansion of Worcester State hospital. Dix didn't stop here; she began traveling to other states working to improve conditions. She then traveled to Europe and called for changes in their prison systems as well. At the outbreak of the Civil War Dix shifted her focuses to helping nurses and became the Superintendent of Union Army Nurses.

 

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, an achievement which earned her a United States Distinguished Flying Cross. Three years later, in 1935 Earhart took off alone from Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii and after 18 hours and 2,400 miles she touched down at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California. This was the first time anyone had completed this flight. She disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight in 1937.

 

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Emma Edmonds disguised herself as a man during the Civil War. She fought at Blackburn's Ford and worked as a nurse at Mansion House Hospital all while dressed as Frank Thompson. While she was not discovered, her friend and fellow soldier, Jerome Robbins, was suspicious. He wrote "a mystery appears to be connected with [Frank] which it is impossible for me to fathom." In 1863, Edmonds contracted malaria and rather than be discovered deserted. After the war, she was one of a very few women soldiers that received a pension for their service.

 

Betty Ford

First Lady Betty Ford was both a controversial pioneer, a crusader for women’s rights, and one of the most respected and beloved women in America. Like the suffragists, she empowered generations and changed the lives of thousands. It is women like her who have shaped our nation. Soon after her husband was inaugurated, the first lady held her first press conference, immediately addressing the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1991, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush for her contribution to health issues, with a citation reading, “her courage and candor have inspired millions of Americans to restore their health, protect their dignity, and shape full lives for themselves.”

 

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin has been singing since the 1950s. In 1987 Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was also the first woman and only the fourth artist in history to have 100 R&B-charted singles. Winner of 18 Grammy Awards and 3 Grammy Special Awards.

 

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin played a critical role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. She was responsible for most of the research and discovery of understanding the structure of DNA.  Her essential contributions to Watson and Crick’s 1953 model are often overlooked and misattributed since Franklin died four years before they received a Nobel Prize for the double-helix model.

 

Matilda Gage

Matilda Gage was an abolitionist and suffragist; home was reportedly a station on the Underground Railroad. Gage first spoke out about women’s rights at the National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1852. Then in 1869, she became one of the founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). In 1875, Gage was elected president of both the state and national suffrage organizations. In 1889, she was the first woman to vote in Fayetteville, NY under a state law permitting women to vote in school board elections. In 1890, Gage left NWSA and founded the Woman’s National Liberal Union.

 

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was a political activist that fought for absolute freedom and a new social order. Goldman was a talented writer and a great orator; through these methods she shared her ideas. Goldman advocated for freedom of expression, sexual freedom, birth control, equality and independence for women, unions, and workers’ rights. Goldman became known as one of the most dangerous anarchists in the country.

 

Susan Gravley

Susan Gravely is the CEO of VIETRI: Irresistible Italian a store that celebrates the beauty and art of Italy. The company, started by Gravely, her sister, and mother, came out of a trip to Italy where the family fell in love with the craftsmanship of Italian goods. VIETRI is one of the largest importers of handcrafted Italian tableware and home décor products in the United States.

 

JoAnn Hackos

JoAnn Hackos is the founder and director of the Center for Information-Development Management. This organization focuses on content management and best practices of information development. Hackos is also the co-author of ISO Standards for Systems and Software Engineering.

 

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer worked to secure the social, economic, and political rights for the African American community. She entered the civil rights movement after attending a protest meeting encouraging African Americans to register to vote. She was arrested and beaten for her work. In 1964, she co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and spoke at the Democratic National Convention at which she called for mandatory integrated state delegations. Hamer continually worked to put the plight of African Americans in the South in the public eye and often succeeded.

 

Jennifer Harbury

Jennifer Harbury is a human rights advocate and attorney who has documented and exposed human rights abuses. Harbury has spent more than twenty years working for reforms in Guatemala and the United States. She has fought civil rights cases against the CIA, the US State Department, and the National Security Council. Harbury helped exposed a scandal when information was released, thanks to her efforts, that CIA paid assets had kidnapped and tortured people in Guatemala.

 

Aaliyah Dana Haughton

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was an R&B, hip hop, and pop artist during the 1990s and early 2000s. Her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, released when Haughton was only 14, sold more than one million copies. Her next album sold two million. Her third and final album went gold in less than two months. On the way to film one of the music videos Haughton died in a plane crash at the age of 22. Haughton was also a dancer and an actress.

 

Cheri Honkala

Cheri Honkala is a national anti-poverty advocate. She is listed as the National Coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, a grassroots effort to improve conditions and access to services for the poor. Honkala was a leader of the March of the Americas, the World Summit of the Poor, and a 125-mile march of the homeless and poor from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the United Nations to protest welfare reform and poverty as a violation of economic human rights.

 

Grace Hopper

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper invented the first computer compiler, a program that translates written instructions into codes that computers read directly. This led her to co-develop COBOL, an early standardized computer language. Hopper predicted that computers would one day be small enough to fit on a desk, and everybody would use them in their everyday lives.

 

Zora Neale Hurston

When author Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960 she had published more books than any other African American woman. Hurston was born in the south in 1891, the daughter of a preacher. She attended Howard University and then became a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston's first novel, Jonah's Gourd Vine, was published in 1934. Her bestselling book, in her lifetime, was Mules and Men, which was published in 1935.

 

Mary Putnam Jacobi

Mary Putnam Jacobi, an accomplished physician and strong advocate for expanding the education of women was born in 1842. She used her position in the scientific community to reject disparaging and ungrounded theories about women’s health. She was the first woman to graduate from the Ecole de Medecine in Paris as a physician. She was also the first woman to be admitted to the New York Academy of Medicine.

 

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson worked for NASA’s Langley Research Center from 1953 to 1986. In her work she helped to calculate the trajectory of the early space launches and the first moon landing. Johnson was known for asking questions, she wanted to truly understand the work she was doing. She also asked why women were not allowed to attend briefings or meetings. When no answer could be given Johnson just started showing up, and asking more questions. She became an important part of the team and known for her geometry skills. Johnson was also honored with many awards during her time at NASA.

 

Mary Harris Jones

Mary Harris Jones, or “Mother Jones” as she became known, was a leading labor leader in the nineteenth century.  An immigrant from Ireland, Jones first worked as a teacher. After a yellow fever epidemic killed her entire family Jones began active within the labor movement. She helped organized the Pittsburgh railroad strike of 177 and the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886.  Jones also worked in the Deep South and led a strike in Birmingham in 1894. Active throughout her life, Jones was still leading strikes in her 90s.

 

Helen Keller

Helen Keller was born in 1880 a healthy child, but at around 19 months became deaf and blind from an unknown illness. When Keller was six, Anne Sullivan began working with her. Within a month Keller had learned to sign “water” and many other words. Keller attended Radcliffe College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. She was the first deaf-blind person to do so. Keller began writing while in college and continued to do so for the rest of her life. In 1921, Keller joined the American Foundation for the Blind and worked for them for more than 40 years.

 

Ada King, the countess of Lovelace

Ada King, the countess of Lovelace, is thought to be the first computer programmer. Born in 1815 in England, King met inventor Charles Babbage and they discussed his idea of an analytical engine. King was able to expand and refine Babbage’s idea and in 1843 she composted the basis for what is called the first computer program.

 

Harper Lee

Harper Lee is an author best known for her Pulitzer Prize winning book, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Interested in writing from an early age, Lee attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama starting in 1944. She transferred to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa where she pursued writing. She wrote for the school newspaper and humor magazine. Lee would serve as the Rammer Jammer magazine’s editor. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was published in 1960 and quickly became very popular, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.

 

Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to be elected Chief of the Cherokee Nation’s tribal government. She was Principal Chief from 1985 to 1995. During this time Mankiller increased the nation’s membership from 68,000 to 170,000. She also opened three rural health centers and expanded the Head Start program for Cherokee children. Mankiller was born on November 18, 1945 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She grew up on a 160-acre tract given to her grandfather as part of a federal government settlement. Mankiller was greatly impacted by a demonstration of Native Americans who took over Alcatraz Island for 19 months to call the government’s attention to the poor treatment of Native Americans. In 1981, she founded the Community Development Department of the Cherokee Nation. She became the first woman Deputy Chief in 1983. When the Principal Chief was appointed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Mankiller became Principal Chief. She was then elected to the position in 1987.

 

Claire McCardell

Claire McCardell designed modern clothes during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s that gave women greater freedom and flexibility. McCardell’s dresses often had an undefined waist that allowed the wearer to tie a sash or spaghetti string around the waist or under the breasts to fit their own style and shape. She also frequently went back to the monastic or monk’s dress. This dress fell from the shoulders and suited all body shapes. McCardell also created clothing that fit the American woman’s lifestyle which allowed for more movement and less restriction.

 

Ellen McCormack

The mother of four, New York resident Ellen McCormack became involved in politics because of her passion against abortion.  Her campaign centered on that issue in both her 1976 and 1980 presidential bids. She made the decision to run just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, declaring herself a candidate in the 1976 Democratic primaries for “the defense of unborn babies.”  Because of changes in federal election law, McCormack became the first female presidential candidate to qualify for federal campaign funding.  Running as the nominee of a minor party instead of as a Democrat proved to be a disadvantage to her, as McCormack was successful in getting on 1980 primary ballots in just three states -- New York, New Jersey and Kentucky.  She and her running mate, Carroll Driscoll, received 32,327 votes. 

 

Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actor to win an Academy Award. Born in the 1890s in Wichita, Kansas, McDaniel was trained in minstrelsy before the Great Depression. She was one of a few women doing impressions for African American audiences at the time. McDaniel moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s and quickly found roles. Over her career, McDaniel appeared in more than 80 films and often played a maid or housekeeper. When criticized for these roles McDaniel said "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be a maid and make $7." Then in 1940 she won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the slave Mammy in Gone with the Wind. The venue the awards were held was segregated and McDaniel had to receive special permission to attend. She was then forced to sit at a small table in the very back of the room. McDaniel continued to act until her death in 1952.

 

Inez Milholland

Inez Milholland was a lawyer, WWI correspondent and suffragist, most recognized for leading the 1913 Suffrage Parade in Washington, DC. She spent much of her time traveling around the country, speaking about women’s suffrage in front of large crowds, and continued doing so even as her health deteriorated. Milholland died in 1916, after collapsing while giving a speech in Los Angeles. Her last public words were “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

 

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock

In 1964 Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world. Her trip spanned 29 days during which the mother of three had to navigate bad weather and military controlled airspace as well as troubleshoot faulty wiring and brakes. When Mock returned she was asked questions like, “You left your husband alone for 29 days. What did he do? I mean, who cleaned the house and all?” When asked why she had attempted this feat she said, “It was about time a woman did it.”

 

Anna Pauli Murray

Dr. Anna Pauli Murray was one of the first lawyers to argue that the Equal Protection Clause approach to racial discrimination should apply to gender-based discrimination. Born in 1910 in Baltimore, Maryland Murray spent much of her childhood in North Carolina. In 1926, Murray moved to New York City and attended Hunter College. When Wall Street crashed Murray was no longer able to find a job to support her education. She dropped out and worked as a teacher for the NYC Remedial Reading Project, which was part of the Works Project Administration. During this time, Murray also became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She started campaigning to attend the all-white University of North Carolina in 1938. Murray also worked to end segregation on public buses. In 1940, 15 years before Rosa Parks, Murray refused to move to the back of a bus and was arrested. In 1941, Murray enrolled at Howard University and attended the law school, where she felt she was frequently discriminated against because of her gender. President John F. Kennedy appointed Murray to the Commission on the Status of Women in the 1960s. In 1966, Murray also co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW). Then in 1977 she became the first African American woman to be ordained a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

 

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley was born in 1860. A legendary sharpshooter, she used her skills in the Buffalo Bill Show where she toured with her husband, Frank Butler. In addition to shooting for crowds of people, including Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm II, she set shooting records well into her 60s. Oakley also strongly supported women learning how to shoot and even offered to gather a group of female sharpshooters together to fight in the Spanish-American war, though her suggestion was rejected. Her skills helped pave the way for the cowgirls of the future.

 

Sandra Day O'Connor

After graduating among the top in her class from Stanford Law School, Sandra Day O’Connor called at least 40 law firms and was denied even an interview since she was a woman. She got her foot in the door of a law firm by offering to work for free to start. From 1952 to 1953 O’Connor worked as the Deputy County Attorney of San Mateo County, California. She then worked as the Quartermaster Market Center in Frankfurt, Germany and as the Assistant Attorney General of Arizona. O’Connor also served in the Arizona State Senate. In 1979 she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. Then in 1981, President Reagan appointed O’Connor as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She took the oath of office on September 25, 1981 and served until January 31, 2006.

 

Rosa Parks

It was in 1955 that Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. At the time, Parks was an active member of Montgomery’s NAACP. She was arrested and convicted for her actions. This refusal coincided with the start of a boycott of the Montgomery bus system by African Americans. At the time African Americans accounted for 75 percent of riders. The Women’s Political Council, an organization of black women active in anti-segregation activities and politics, provided the hands, feet, and voice of the Montgomery bus boycott. Parks was found guilty of breaking a city law and fined $14. Her lawyer challenged the ruling. While Parks’ case was in the state appeals court another case, Browder v. Gayle, was decided. In that case, the U.S. District Court ruled that public bus segregation based on race was unconstitutional. This ruling was upheld on November 13, 1956 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Alice Paul

In 1913, the Woman Suffrage Parade marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. Organized by Alice Paul and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the procession was held the day before Woodrow Wilson’s presidential inauguration. The parade brought women from all over the country to D.C. to fight for their right to vote. This was the first major national effort for the cause. It wasn’t until 1920 that the Ninetieth Amendment secured the vote for women. Paul was also the founder of the National Women’s Party and authored the Equal Rights Amendment.

 

Selena Quintanilla Perez

In 1995 Selena Quintanilla Perez gave her last concert in front of more than 74,000 people at the Houston Astrodome. Perez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1971 and by age 10 was the lead singer in her family's band. Growing up Perez spoke English, but her father wanted her to be able to record songs in Spanish. At first, Perez learned the songs phonetically and then later learned to speak Spanish. In 1987 at the Tejano Music Awards Perez won Best Female Vocalist of the Year and Performer of the Year. Her album in 1990 "Ven Conmigo," was the first Tejano record to sell more than 500,000 copies. In 1993, Perez won a Grammy Award for Best Mexican American Album for "Live." Perez died on March 31, 1995, shot by the founder of her fan club.

 

Ann Preston

Ann Preston was the first woman to serve as the dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. In the early 1840s Preston was teaching all-female classes about hygiene and their bodies. In 1847, Preston enrolled in a medical education apprenticeship. She was part of the first class at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1851 and did her postgraduate work there as well. In 1866 Preston became the first dean of the school and in 1867 was elected to the Board.

 

Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price was an opera singer.  Price attended Oak Park Vocational High School starting in 1937 and was designated as the school's pianist for all concerts and functions. Price then went to the College of Educational and Industrial Arts in Wilberforce, Ohio where she planned to become a music teacher. However, the president of the college soon recommended Price change her major to voice. She did and in 1948 graduated with a BA. Price then attended the Juilliard School of Music, to which she received a full scholarship. Price first appeared on Broadway in April 1952 and would spend the next two years performing around the world. In 1961 she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Leonora in Verdi's II Trovatore. She continued performing throughout the 1970s. Over the course of her career, Price won 15 Grammy Awards. 

 

Sandra Ramos

Sandra Ramos’ artistic work focuses on her experiences living in Cuba and her separation with the country after leaving. Ramos also highlights the upheaval of the 1990s in Cuba. Ramos works at the Higher Institute of Art and has curated several Cuban contemporary art exhibits.

 

Ann Rockley

Ann Rockley is the founder and President of The Rockley Group. She has done worked in intelligent content strategy and founded the Intelligent Content conference. Rockley is also known for her best practices when it comes to content management.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

As early as 18, Eleanor Roosevelt was active in helping those in need.  A member of many organizations, including the Junior League, American Red Cross, League of Women Voters, Women’s Trade Union League, and Women’s Division of the New York State Democratic Committee.  Roosevelt was the first, First Lady to hold her own press conferences.  She also allowed female reporters to attend, who were not allowed at presidential press conferences.   Roosevelt traveled to many relief projects and became an advocate for the rights and needs of the poor and minorities.  Upon leaving the White House Roosevelt’s work did not end; she was appointed to the United Nations General Assembly until 1953.

 

Deborah Sampson

Deborah Sampson fought in the American Revolution disguised as soldier Robert Shurtlieff. For two years, despite being wounded, Sampson’s sex remained a secret. She was honorably discharged from the army in October 1783. After the war, Sampson was married and upon her death her husband petitioned for pay as the spouse of a soldier. The government granted his request.

 

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger worked her entire life to legalize birth control and make it universally available for women. Beginning in the 1910s, Sanger actively challenged the Comstock Act, which criminalized contraceptives. Sanger’s goal was to find a contraceptive that would prevent women from repeated, unwanted pregnancies. Working as a nurse in the Lower East Side of New York City Sanger saw a need for contraceptives. She coined the term “birth control” and opened the first birth control clinic in the country. Sanger was arrested for opening this clinic. In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, the precursor to the Planned Parenthood Federation. Sanger would work for the next 40 years to increase the number of birth control options available to women.

 

Jane Johnson Schoolcraft

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft is the first known American Indian literary writer. Her father was an Irish immigrant and her mother was Ojibwe. Schoolcraft grew up in what is now Michigan where she learned about both of her parents’ heritage, traditions, and languages. She wrote poems in both Ojibwe and English, but mainly in English. Schoolcraft also translated Ojibwe songs into English.  

 

Eliza Snow

Eliza Snow was a dubbed “Zion’s poetess” and wrote many hymn-texts for the LDS Hymnal. She married Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith two years before he was killed. In 1867, Snow was assigned to organize relief societies throughout the Church. She also organized the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association.

 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American suffragist, activist, and author of the ‘The Solitude of Self.’ A prolific researcher and writer, Stanton was described by her friend Susan B. Anthony as the brains of the whole Suffrage Movement. In 1848 suffragists held the first Seneca Fall Convention on women’s rights in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention was largely organized by Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

 

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer and activist.  She graduated from Smith College in 1956 with a degree in government.  After graduating, Steinem was a Chester Bowles Fellow and worked in India for two years.  When she returned to the United States, Steinem worked for the Independent Research Service and then took on freelance writing jobs.  During this time she became more engaged in the women’s movement.  In 1968, Steinem became a founding editor of New York MagazineNew York Magazine allowed Steinem to write about her political interests and social issues.  When Steinem left New York Magazine, she co-founded Ms. Magazine, the first feminist periodical with a national readership and the first mas-market women’s magazine with a revolutionary agenda in 1971. Since the 1960s, Steinem has been outspoken about women’s rights.

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe took a public stand against slavery when she published her famous anti-slavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” During her life she published more than 30 other books.

 

Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor was born into slavery in 1848 and took a great interest in education from an early age. Taylor attended a secret school while living in Georgia, since African Americans legally could not be educated. During the Civil War, Taylor was offered a teaching position by Commodore Louis Goldsborough. She accepted and became the first African American teacher to openly teach African Americans. She taught children by day and adults at night. Taylor also worked as a nurse during the Civil War, traveling with a Union Army African American regiment. 

 

Eliza Jane Trimble Thompson

Eliza Jane Trimble Thompson was an early participant in the temperance movement. Thompson’s oldest son had been prescribed alcohol by a doctor, but had become addicted and would die from consumption.  In 1873, Thompson helped organize a protest against saloons in her hometown of Hillsboro, Ohio. Women marched in the street singing hymns and praying. The group was successful in closing the town’s saloons.

 

Sojourner Truth

A former slave, Sojourner Truth spoke out for abolition and civil rights. At the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, Truth challenged prevailing notions of racial and gender inferiority declaring, “Ain't I a woman?” In her speech, Truth focused on the idea that, despite her race, she too was a woman and deserved to be treated as one. Truth also recruited African American troops for the Union Army and worked to secure land grants from the federal government for freed slaves.

 

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an icon in the fight against slavery. She escaped slavery and then risked her life time and time again to lead others to freedom. She was born in Maryland around 1820 and worked first in the house before being moved to the fields. In 1849, Tubman was afraid she would be sold so she ran away. Over the next 15 years Tubman returned to the South to rescue others. Some reports suggest she helped more than 300 slaves escape.

 

Alice Walker

Alice Walker was born in 1944. She grew up in Georgia and in 1961 was awarded a scholarship to Spelman College. In 1963 she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College and began to work seriously on writing. After graduating Walker moved to Mississippi and worked as a social activist. In 1983, she won a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award. Some of Walker's most popular works are "The Temple of My Familiar," "By the Light of My Father's Smile," and "The Color Purple." Walker has written seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children's books, and volumes of essays and poetry.

 

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker was born on March 23rd in 1867 and is known as the first African American woman millionaire in the United States from selling a line of hair care products she developed. Before developing this line, Walker worked as a washer and earned $1.50 a day. After creating her line of products Walker sold door to door directly to other women. As her product grew in popularity Walker began working out of Indianapolis since it was the largest shipping hub at the time. Walker also started a chain of beauty parlors in major cities across the country.
 

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley, born in 1753, was the first African-American to publish a book of poetry in America. Born in West Africa but sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight, Phillis was bought by the Wheatleys, a wealthy New England family who named her after the ship that brought her to America. She was taught to read by the Wheatley’s daughter and by the age of thirteen was writing acclaimed poetry. Phillis’ work brought her to London, where she met the literary stars of the day. Later, she was invited to meet George Washington and had her poetry published in “The Pennsylvania Gazette,” America’s most prominent paper in the 18th century.

 

Oprah Winfrey

On September 8, 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationally for the first time. The show’s massive popularity turned Oprah into one of the most influential women in the world. At its peak, the show received over 40 million weekly viewers and was broadcast in over 100 countries around the world. The Oprah Winfrey Show ended in 2011, after 25 years. In 2013 Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama for her philanthropy and work in broadcast journalism.

 

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen is a leading economist and was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Board of the Federal Reserve. Born in 1946, Yellen attended Brown University and then earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University. She then worked as an assistant professor at Harvard University. Yellen was the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Then in 2014 Yellen was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve by President Obama.

 

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan in 1997 and from a very young age began advocating for girls’ education. Because of how outspoken Yousafzai was the Taliban began issuing death threats. In October of 2012 Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way home from school. Yousafzai survived the attack and continues to speak out for girls’ education. In 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.

 
 
Join
 

Take Action

History starts with you. Help us build the museum.

Learn More →

Did you know?

Expand your knowledge. Learn about women's history.

Learn More →