ELLA BAKER

Born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, Ella Baker became one of the leading figures of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s.

In 1957, Baker helped launch the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), under the presidency of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She ran its Atlanta, office and served as the organization's acting executive director; however, she also clashed with Dr. King and other male leaders of the SCLC, who allegedly were not used to receiving pushback from such a strong-willed woman, before exiting the organization in 1960.

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BARBARA WALTERS

by Tim Sullivan

Today's fierce female is the iconic Barbara Walters.

Born in Boston in 1929, after working as a writer for CBS and Redbook, Barbara joined the Today Show as a researcher, before winding up as the "Today Girl," a fluffy assignment where her highest-profile role was to read the weather. She continued to pitch stories and serious pieces, managing to get a number of them on the air. The show's host, Frank McGee, refused to hold joint interviews with her unless he were allowed to ask the first three questions. When he died in 1974, Barbara replaced him as the first female co-host of the Today Show.


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ANGELA DAVIS

Writer, activist and educator Angela Davis was born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in a middle class neighborhood dubbed "Dynamite Hill," due to many of the African-American homes in the area that were bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Davis is best known as a radical African-American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues. She knew all about racial prejudice from her experiences with discrimination growing up in Alabama. As a teenager, Davis organized interracial study groups, which were broken up by the police.

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ELIZABETH FREEMAN AKA MUMBET

Elizabeth Freeman, otherwise known as MumBet, was the first woman to sue the American government for her freedom and WIN. 

Born into slavery in New York around 1744, MumBet was given as a wedding gift to her enslaver’s daughter, Hannah Ashley, and moved to Sheffield, Massachusetts. She remained with the family, giving birth to a daughter, Little Bet, and marrying. Her husband’s name is unknown and it is thought that he lost his life serving in the Revolutionary War. 

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ALICE WALKER

Alice Walker is an American writer whose novels, short stories, and poems are noted for their insightful treatment of African American culture. Her novels, most notably The Color Purple, focus particularly on women.

Walker was the eighth child of African American sharecroppers. While growing up she was accidentally blinded in one eye, and her mother gave her a typewriter, allowing her to write instead of doing chores. She received a scholarship to attend Spelman College, where she studied for two years before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College.

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MICHELLE OBAMA

Neither of Michelle Obama’s parents went to college but she was inspired to go to Princeton after her brother was accepted. Michelle’s high school teachers told her not to set her sights too high, but that did not stop her.. 

The adjustment to college life at Princeton wasn’t easy - a white parent even tried (unsuccessfully) to get her daughter removed from Michelle’s dorm. Michelle said she felt “"like a visitor on campus.”"I remember being shocked," she says, "by college students who drove BMWs. I didn't even know parents who drove BMWs."

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CHARLOTTE BADGER

Today’s Boss Ass Bitch is Charlotte Badger and is taken From Rejected Princesses.com which is super awesome, and you should all check out.

The first European woman to end up in New Zealand never planned it.
It all started with a 1796 theft in Worcestershire, England. Charlotte Badger stole a couple guineas and a silk handkerchief. The British courts, in a very tough-on-crime gesture, declared it a felony. She was going to prison, but not just any prison. She was bound for one that rested a horrifying seven months of seasickness away: the Parramatta Female Factory in New South Wales, Australia.

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BOUDICA

Boudica was a British queen known for leading a rebellion against Roman oppressors. 

Boudica’s husband, Prasutagus was reigning king of the Celtic Iceni tribe in South East England under Roman rule, which imposed slavery and high taxes. When Prasutagus died, his land and possessions were seized by the Romans, who also took the liberty of seizing the land and possessions of other high ranking members of the Iceni tribe. When Boudica could not pay off his debts, they stripped and beat her publicly and raped her daughters.

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BILLIE JEAN KING

Today's fierce female is Billie Jean King.

Taking up tennis at the age of 11 because it was consider a ladylike sport, she made her first Grand Slam appearance at 15. She lost in the first round.

She went on to have one of the most successful careers in the history of tennis, winning a record 20 Wimbledon titles, all four Grand Slam events in 1972, and 129 singles titles. She was the first woman and first tennis player to be named Sports Illustrated's Sports"man" of the Year.

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GEORGIA O'KEEFFE

Georgia O’Keeffe attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she quickly tired of the typical art instruction she was receiving, which focused mostly on creating realistic looking copies of images seen in nature. When she discovered the work of Arthur Wesley Dow, she began exploring a more abstract, expressive style of painting.


In 1915, while teaching at Columbia College in South Carolina, she created a series of abstract charcoal drawings, and is believed to be one the first American artists to practice pure abstraction.

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SONIA GANDHI

This week’s BAB is taken from Feminist E-Zine.com

Sonia Gandhi is the President of the Indian National Congress and leader of the United Progressive Alliance — the ruling party in the lower house of India’s Parliament. Her position in government is one of the highest offices in the world’s second most populous nation (the most populous democratic nation).

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JULIA CHILD

After graduating from Smith College with a major in history, Julia Child worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency, and later - after being rejected from the Women’s Army Corps due to her height of 6’2” - she became a typist for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington. She was quickly promoted to the position of top secret researcher, working directly for the head of the OSS. She was a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence Division, then worked as an assistant to developers at the OSS Emergency Rescue Equipment Section where her very first foray into cooking was in the development of a shark repellant to keep curious sharks from setting off underwater explosives.

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TONI MORRISON

Toni Morrison, is an American novelist, essayist, editor, and professor noted for her examination of the black experience within the black community. 

Morrison grew up in the American Midwest in a family that possessed an intense love of and appreciation for black culture. Storytelling, songs, and folktales were a deeply formative part of her childhood. 

Morrison’s first book, The Bluest Eye, is a novel of initiation concerning a victimized adolescent black girl who is obsessed by white standards of beauty and longs to have blue eyes. In 1973 a second novel, Sula, was published; it examines the dynamics of friendship and the expectations for conformity.

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MARIELLE FRANCO

Today's fierce female is Marielle Franco.

A single mother at 19, she paid her way through college, ultimately earning a master's degree in public administration. She took an interest in combatting gang violence in her native Rio de Janeiro.

She was elected to Rio's City Council in 2016. She fought against gender violence, for women's reproductive rights, and as an openly gay woman, she became a leading advocate for LGBT rights. She was a voice for the poor in a city and country with a tremendous economic divide.

 

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EMMELINE PANKHURST

Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. In 1999 Time named Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating "she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back".[1] She was widely criticized for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognized as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in the United Kingdom.

 

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SARAH BREEDLOVE AKA MADAM C.J. WALKER

Born in 1867 in Louisiana, she was orphaned at age 7. By age 10, she had entered the workforce as a maid. Married at 14 and widowed at 20, she eventually moved to St. Louis, where she found work selling hair products to the African-American community. She used trial and error to develop her own product lines and took her business on the road, eventually becoming the largest rival to her former employer.

After moves from St. Louis to Denver to Pittsburgh, she eventually settled in Indianapolis, where she established a factory in 1910. Her business took off, and her group of traveling saleswomen spread "the Walker Method" of hair grooming across the country. By 1917, over 20,000 women had been trained on how to market and sell her products. 

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APHRA BEHN

When Aphra Behn sailed to Antwerp in 1666 to spy for King Charles II of England, he refused to pay her for services rendered, and she landed in debtors’ prison. After her release, she eked out a living the only way she knew how: by writing.

For the next 20 years, Behn wrote and performed in plays on the bawdy English stage. Playwriting afforded Behn  some fortune, some fame, and some infamy. Her plays gained notoriety as being too risqué. She became known as the Restoration’s version of Jackie Collins.

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CECILIA PAYNE

Cecilia Payne was awarded a scholarship to Cambridge University where she studied, chemistry, physics and botany. Her passion for astronomy began after attending a lecture by Arthur Eddington about his expedition to the Gulf of Guinea to observe and photograph a solar eclipse and the nearby stars to test Einstein’s theory of relativity. Cecilia said, 'The result was a complete transformation of my world picture. My world had been so shaken that I experienced something very like a nervous breakdown.’

Though she completed her studies at Cambridge, she did not receive a degree because - you guessed it - she’s a woman! Cambridge didn’t grant degrees to female students until 1948. Womp. 

 

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LOLO JONES

One of the most popular figures in American track and field today, Lolo Jones has overcome many challenges to excel at her sport. Born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1982, Jones grew up poor as one of five children being raised by a single mother. She and her family moved a lot, and even lived in a church's basement for a time. All of these changes of address meant that Jones went to a different school each year during her youth, until high school.

At Theodore Roosevelt High School, Jones pursued her love of track.  She showed great promise as a hurdler, winning the Gatorade Iowa Track and Field Athlete of the Year award. 

 

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MARLEY DIAS

When she was in 6th grade, in 2015, Marley launched the hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks after being inspired by Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming.

“A world where modern black girls were the main characters — not invisible, not just the sidekick,” Marley writes. “A world where black girls were free to be complicated, honest, human; to have adventures and emotions unique just to them. A world where black girls’ stories mattered.”

When her mother asked her, “if you could change one thing, what would it be?” Marley’s answer to was that she wanted kids to read more books where black girls were the protagonist. 

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