“Peace” Bios

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Top Row: Jovita Idar

Bottom Row, Left to Right: Charlotta Bass, Laura Kellogg, and Mary Tape.

  1. Jovita Idar (1885 – 1946) was a Mexican American teacher, journalist, and political activist. She wrote for her family’s newspaper La Crónica, in Laredo, Texas. La Crónica featured articles condemning discrimination against Mexican-Americans, loss of Mexican culture, and lynchings of Hispanics.

Jovita attended the First Mexican Congress in Laredo. The congress discussed educational, economics, labor, and social issues. Women participated, both as participants and speakers. Jovita was the first president of the League of Mexican Women.

During the Mexican Revolution, Jovita crossed into Mexico to give first aid to the injured. She joined the staff of the newspaper El Progreso and wrote articles criticizing the U.S. Army, Texas Rangers, and President Woodrow Wilson.  The Texas Rangers tried to close down the newspaper but Jovita refused to let them inside the offices while she was there.

Jovita married in 1917 and continued to be an advocate for Mexican-Americans, migrant workers, Tejano children, and women’s rights.  Read more about Jovita Idar here: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fid03

  1. Charlotta Bass (1874 – 1969) was a newspaper publisher, civil rights activist, and the first African American woman to run for vice president.

Charlotta was the publisher of the African American newspaper, the California Eagle, that printed political news about racial discrimination and issues that concerned the black community. The California Eagle became the largest African American newspaper on the West Coast. Charlotta combated housing discrimination, school segregation, voting, police brutality, white supremacy, and job discrimination. She started a campaign to support African American businesses with the campaign, “Don’t buy where you can’t work.”

Charlotta was the co-president of the LA chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. She founded the Home Protective Association to fight house discrimination in all-white neighborhoods. She helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought job discrimination throughout the city, including LA General Hospital and the LA Rapid Transit Company. She was also the director of the Youth Movement of the NAACP.

In 1952 she was nominated by the Progressive Party to run as Vice President of the United States with Vincent Hallinan. Her platform called for an end to the Korean War and peace with the Soviet Union, as well as civil rights and women’s rights. Her slogan was “Win or lose, we win by raising the issues.” Read more about Charlotta Bass here: http://americacomesalive.com/2014/02/04/charlotta-spears-bass-1874-1969-newspaper-owner-fought-civil-rights/#.ViTw4xCrSCQ

  1. Laura Cornelius Kellogg (1880 – 1947) was an Onedia leader, author, and activist. Descended from Oneida leaders, Laura was an advocate for the Six Nations of the Iroquois and fought for tribal lands and Native American self-government. She studied at Barnard College, Cornell University, the New York School of Philanthropy, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin. Her husband, Orrin J. Kellogg was a lawyer. She was a founding member of the Society of American Indians, that promoted unity among all Native American tribes. The SAI members were known as Red Progressives and believed in the reforms of the Progressive Era.

Laura was a voice for Native American people nationally and internationally. She spoke to the League of Nations calling for justice for Native Americans. She supported women’s suffrage, pointing to the leadership and rights that Iroquois women traditionally held. Laura was a controversial figure, facing criticism from mainstream politicians, the Indian Affairs Bureau, and some Native American Tribes. She fought against white supremacist discrimination that lead to poverty, tenement life, and child labor and was arrested at least four times. Laura pursued land claims for Oneida tribes and the Six Nations, but many Native Americans were divided over her plans and politics.

  1. Mary Tape (1857–1934) ) was a biracial Chinese American painter, photographer, and civil rights activist. Mary was brought to the United States from Shanghai at age eleven. She was an accomplished painter and photographer who won numerous Salon awards. The Tape family lived in San Francisco, where anti-Chinese sentiment was high and discriminatory federal and state law excluded Chinese from work and civic rights.

Mary’s daughter, Mamie, was barred from enrolling in the local public school. In 1885, Mary Tape took the school principal to court and sued the San Francisco School District to gain access to public school education for all Chinese children. Tape v. Hurley  was a landmark case for American civil rights, coming seventy-five years before Brown vs Board of Education. Justice McGuire sided with Tape, and found that, by law, American born Chinese have the same right to public education as any U.S. Citizen. But the San Francisco Board of Education still refused to enroll Chinese students. They created separate school for “Mongolian and Chinese” children. San Francisco didn’t desegregate schools until 1920, and Brown vs Board of Education didn’t make school segregation illegal until 1954. Read more about Mary Tape here: http://berkeleyheritage.com/essays/tape_family.html

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Left to Right: Anna Cooper, Helen Keller, Lucy Parsons, and May Sewall.

5. Anna J. Cooper (1858 – 1964) was an author, educator, orator, and a prominent African-American scholar. Born into enslavement, Anna Cooper excelled in academics, including Latin, French, Greek, History, Math, and Science. She earned an M.A. in Mathematics and a PhD in history. She was the fourth African-American woman to earn a PhD..

Anna authored the book, A Voice from the South: By A Woman from the South, considered one of the first writings on African American feminism. Cooper was a notable orator who delivered speeches at the World’s Congress of Representative Women and the first Pan-African Conference. Pages 26 and 26 of the United States passport contain a quotation by Anna J. Cooper, “The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class – it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.” Read more about Anna J. Cooper here: http://cooperproject.org/about-anna-julia-cooper/

  1. Helen Adams Keller (1880 – 1968) was an American author, lecturer, and activist for labor rights, pacifism, socialism, women’s suffrage, and the blind. She gained fame for her struggles as a deafblind person and her outstanding successes. Helen was assisted by Anne Sullivan, also visually impaired, who was Helen’s teacher and companion for forty-nine years. Helen became the first deafblind person to earn a bachelors of the arts degree when she graduated from Radcliffe in 1900.  

Helen helped found the American Civil Liberties Union, Helen Keller International, and the American Foundation for the Blind. She wrote 12 published books and over 475 speeches and essays. Helen traveled the United States and then to over forty countries, giving speeches and lectures advocating for people with disabilities. Her advocacy resulted in schools, rehabilitation centers, and state commissions for the blind throughout the world.

Helen Keller has been honored by the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, Helen Keller Day in Pennsylvania, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Read more about Helen Keller here: http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/helen-keller/biography-and-chronology/biography/1235

  1. Lucy Gonzalez Parsons (1853 – 1942) was a radical, revolutionary, and human rights activist. Born in 1853, Lucy was of  African American, Native American, and Mexican descent. She married white political activist Albert Parsons and the two were forced to flee her home state of Texas when Albert was shot for trying to register black men to vote. They moved to Chicago where Lucy wrote political and social essays for the publications, The Socialist and The Alarm, including calling for oppressed workers to violently uprise against their employers. Albert was arrested at the Haymarket Affair, a rally for the 8-hour work day that turned violent. He was convicted by the state of Illinois and executed.

Police followed and harassed Lucy, arresting her numerous times. Lucy continued to write about human rights issues like free-speech, labor and employment, hunger, and civil rights. She organized working women, marched in picket lines, and wrote articles supporting women’s right to divorce, remarry, and access birth control. She worked with the American Communist Party, Industrial Workers of the World, and the Coalition for International Labor Defense. On her death, the FBI confiscated her personal papers and her radical library. Read more about Lucy Gonzalez Perez here: http://www.iww.org/history/biography/LucyParsons/1

  1. May Wright Sewall (1844 – 1920) was an American educator, suffragette and pacifist.

May and her second husband, Theodore, founded and ran the Girl’s Classical School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The school offered college preparatory courses for girls, which was considered very progressive for the time. Her home was a gathering place for Indianapolis intellectuals and progressives to discuss issues of the day. She also helped establish the Arts Association of Indianapolis, which later became the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and founded the Indianapolis Equal Suffrage Society.

May was a leader in the National Woman Suffrage Association, World’s Congress of Representative Women, the American Peace Society, president of the National Council of Women for the United States, the International Conference of Women Workers to Promote Peace, the International Council of Women, and appointed a U.S. representative of women to the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Read more about May Wright Sewall here: http://www.britannica.com/biography/May-Eliza-Wright-Sewall
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Left to Right: Ida B. Wells and Jeanette Rankin

  1. Ida B. Wells – Barnett (1862 – 1931) – journalist, born to enslaved parents in Mississippi. While traveling by rail, Ida thrown off a train when refused to sit in the seats for “colored” passengers. She sued the railroad and won in the circuit court, but the decision was overturned by the Tennessee supreme court.

Ida was a journalist for and half owner of the black newspaper, the Memphis Free Speech. In 1892, three of Ida’s friends were lynched. She began investigating lynchings in the South and publishing her findings. Her offices were raided and destroyed by white Southerners. Ida began lecturing on lynching in the North, founded anti-lynching societies, and women’s clubs. She visited Britain and inspired anti-lynching societies there.

In Chicago, Ida organized a black kindergarten, black orchestra, the Negro Fellowship League, and the first black women’s suffrage organization, The Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago. She worked with Jane Addams to block the initiative for a separate school for black children in Chicago. Read more about Ida B. Wells here: http://www.biography.com/people/ida-b-wells-9527635#journalist-and-activist

  1. Jeanette Rankin (1880 – 1973) was an American suffragette, politician, and pacifist. She graduated with a degree in biology but found her true passion in women’s rights. She was a professional lobbyist for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and helped women in Montana gain the right to vote in 1914.  

In 1916, Jeanette became the first women elected to Congress in 1916, holding a seat in the House from Montana. As a passionate pacifist Jeanette voted against the U.S. entering WWI. She instigated the first House Floor debate on woman suffrage in 1918.

In 1919, Jeanette was a delegate to the Women’s International Conference for Peace with Jane Addams. She was also a member of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, founded Georgia’s Peace Society and the National Council for the Prevention of War. In 1940, Jeanette was elected to the House again, and, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she was the only member to vote against declaring war on Japan. It was such an unpopular vote that she had to have police escort her home. Her political career was over but she continued to be an activist for peace, traveling to India to learn about Gandhi, and organizing a 5,000 person march on Washington to protest the Vietnam War. Read more about Jeanette Rankin here: http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/RANKIN,-Jeannette-(R000055)/

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Left to Right: Ruth Owen, Adelina Otero-Warren, Josephine Ruffin, and Winnifred Eaton.

11. Ruth Bryan Owen (1885 – 1954) was an American politician, ambassador, and filmmaker. Ruth was the first woman representative in the United States Congress from the state of Florida. She was also the first woman to sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1933, she became the first woman U.S. ambassador, when President Roosevelt appointed her Ambassador to Denmark and Iceland. Ruth was a delegate at the establishment of the United Nations, and an alternative delegate to the U.N. General Assembly.

In 1926, Ruth, a widow with four children, ran for Congress and was elected to serve one of the largest districts in the country, stretching more than 500 miles from Jacksonville to Key West. Ruth traveled more than 10,000 miles up and down the coast giving speeches and meeting with the citizens in her district. She introduced legislation that eventually led to the creation of the Everglades National Park. Most of Ruth’s work was concerned with child and family welfare, for U.S. citizens, immigrants, and abroad.

Ruth was also a film director, producer, and screenwriter whose feature film, Once Upon a Time/Scheherazade is now considered to be lost. The film was inspired by the travel to Burma, China, India, Japan, and Sri Lanka. Read more about Ruth Bryan Owen here: http://history.house.gov/People/Detail/19256

  1. Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren (1881 – 1965) was a Mexican American educator, politician, and women’s suffragist. In 1917, she took on a leadership role in the Congressional Union of Women. In 1922, Adelina won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, as a candidate from New Mexico, the first Latina women to earn that position. She chaired the State Board of Health in New Mexico, headed the Santa Fe Superintendent of Instruction and New Mexico’s Board of Public Health, was the Inspector of Indian Schools in Sante Fe, headed the Civilian Conservation Corporation in New Mexico, and worked with the Works Progress Administration.

Adelina served as an intermediator between Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American communities. She did not succumb to white American assimilation but fought for the integrity of her culture.

She worked to preserve historic Hispanic and Native American structures in New Mexico, supported native arts communities in the state, and wrote books about her life on her family hacienda. Adeline had divorced her husband of two years before her career in politics. After her political career she spent thirty years with her companion, Mamie Meadows, homesteading on a ranch  they named, “Las Dos.”  Read more about Adelina Otero-Warren here: https://theautry.org/explore/exhibits/suffrage/oterowarren_full.html

  1. Josephine Ruffin (1842 – 1924) was a suffragette and early civil rights leader. She was the editor of Women’s Era, the first newspaper by and for African American women. She founded the Women’s Era Club and created the first annual convention of black women’s clubs, The National Federation of Afro-American Women. Josephine organized several groups in Boston including the Sanitary Commission and Boston Relief Association. Josephine served as vice-president of the National Association of Colored Women and was a founder of Boston’s NAACP. Read more about Josephine Ruffin here: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/ruffin-josephine-st-pierre-1842-1924#sthash.aoRklCXB.dpuf
  1. Winnifred Eaton (1875 – 1954) was a Canadian born author of Chinese-British ancestry. She wrote the first known novel by a Asian American author. She distanced herself from anti-Chinese sentiment and capitalized on Western fascination with Japan by writing under the Japanese pseudonym, Onto Watanna.

Winifred was first published at age fourteen. She moved to the United States, where several of her pieces were published in popular magazines, like the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post. She began writing novels under the pseudonym “Onoto Watanna” and her works became widely popular throughout the United States. Her second novel, A Japanese Nightingale, was translated into several languages, adapted as a Broadway play, and in 1919, a motion picture. Eaton continued to move back and forth between the United States and Canada, where wrote screenplays for films in New York and founded the Little Theatre Movement in Canada.

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Left to Right: Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Julia Lathrop, Susan La Flesche, and Mary Bethune.

  1. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, (1899 – 2005) was a Mohegan medicine woman, anthropologist, author, and tribal council member. Chosen by her tribe to train in herbalism as age five, Gladys went on to attend University of Pennsylvania where she studied anthropology, researched the traditional medicine of East Coast tribes, and published several books on Native American traditional medicine.

Gladys worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, first doing social work at the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and then serving as a Native Arts Specialist in the Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Board. She worked to preserve ceremonies, customs, and traditional Native American practices, including the Ghost Dance and the Sun Dance. With her brother and father, Gladys founded the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum, the oldest owned and operated Native American museum in the United States. She also volunteered as a librarian at Niantic Women’s Prison. Her knowledge of tribal history and collection of historic documents provided the necessary documentation for the Mohegan tribe to gain Federal Recognition. She was elected Tribal Medicine Woman by the Mohegan in 1992. Read more about Gladys Tantaquidgeon here: http://www.fembio.org/english/biography.php/woman/biography/gladys-tantaquidgeon/

  1. Julia Lathrop (1858 – 1932) was an American social reformer and advocate for children’s welfare, immigrants, and the mentally ill. Julia studied community organization, institutional history, sociology, and statistics at Vassar College. She worked with Jane Addams and other social reformers at Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago.

In 1912, Julia became the first women appointed to lead a United States federal bureau, the Children’s Bureau. While at the Children’s Bureau, Julia researched infant and maternal mortality, and worked on the first child labor laws, child mental health issues, and disabled children’s welfare. Julia also developed the United States’ first juvenile court system, prior to which, juveniles age 7 and up were tried in adult courts. In 1918, Julia represented the U.S. at an international conference on child welfare, and helped the newly formed country of Czechoslovakia form a childcare bureau. Julia, known as “America’s First Official Mother”, said, “The Children’s Bureau is an expression of the nation’s sense of justice, and the justice of today is born of yesterday’s pity.”

Julia was also the president of the Illinois League of Women Voters, president of the National Conference for Social Work, helped found the National Committee of Mental Illness, and represented the U.S. in the League of Nation’s Child Welfare Committee.  Read more about Julia Lathrop here: http://www.learningtogive.org/resources/lathrop-julia

  1. Susan La Flesche (1865 – 1915) was an Omaha and the first Native American woman physician. With a scholarship from the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Susan earned her medical degree at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She practiced medicine in the Omaha Indian Reservation in Nebraska. As a reservation doctor she was paid only $500 a year, ten times less than an army or navy doctor.

She married Henry Picotte, a Sioux Indian and they moved to Bancroft, Nebraska where Susan set up a private practice. She also worked as an activist for Native American citizenship and land fraud. In 1913, she founded a hospital on the Omaha Indian Reservation. Read more about Susan La Flesche here: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435000109.html

  1. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955) was an American educator, writer, political activist, and social reformer. She was known as “The First Lady of the Struggle.” She started a school for African American students in Florida, and developed it into a college where she served as its president, a rare position for any woman at the time.

Mary was close friends with Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and was a member of his “Black Cabinet”, advising him on the issues of African Americans. Mary worked to register black voters in Florida, even when threatened by the white supremacists. She was president of the National Association of Colored Women. Advised President Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. She founded the National Council of Negro Women and was the only African-American woman at the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco. Mary also wrote weekly columns for the most prominent African-American newspapers. Read more about Mary Bethune here:

https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/mary-mcleod-bethune/

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Left to Right: Mary Talbert, Lyda Conley, Polly Bemis, and Mourning Dove.

  1. Mary Burnett Talbert (1866 – 1923) was an African American civil rights activist, women’s suffragist, lecturer, and one of the most prominent African Americans of the Progressive Era. She was the only African- American in her graduating class from Oberlin College, receiving a degree in Literature. She became the first African American women to be the principal of a high school in Arkansas in 1887. She helped found the Niagara Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During her time as president of the NAACP she fought for prison reform for African Americans, who faced harsher sentences, and incarcerated young children with dangerous criminals and served as the national director of the NAACP’s Anti-Lynching Crusade.

Mary Talbert was the first African American elected to the International Council of Women where she lectured to 660 delegates from 33 countries on racial discrimination in the United States, and gained international support for her cause. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York in 2005. http://biography.yourdictionary.com/mary-morris-burnett-talbert

  1. Lyda Conley (1869 -1946) was an Wyandot lawyer and the first Native American woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.

She and her sisters fought to prevent the sale of a Huron Cemetery, on tribal lands, in Kansas City. They built a fort on the site, put up fences, threatened to use force if necessary. Lyda took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, but the courts upheld congress’s right to sell the land. The case caught the attention of a Senator from Kansas, Charles Curtiss, who convinced congress to repeal the sale. Read more about Lyda Conley here: http://open.wmitchell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1099&context=facsch

  1. Polly Bemis (1853 – 1933) was a Chinese American pioneer. When Polly was a teenager her father sold her to provide food for their starving family. She was smuggled to the American West during the Chinese Exclusion Act, a federal law that made it illegal for Chinese to immigrate into the Unites States. At age eighteen, she was sold as a slave to a wealthy Chinese man who ran a saloon in a mining camp in Warren, Idaho.

It is unknown how Polly gained her freedom but in 1894, at age forty, she married Charles Bemis. They built a cabin in a deep canyon, next to the Salmon River. Polly had a garden and many animals, including a cougar. People passing down river would stop at her home to eat, have a friendly chat, and, if needed, receive nursing aid. The cabin is now a museum and on the National Register of Historic Places. Polly was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame and her story was fictionalized in the 1991 film A Thousand Pieces of Gold. Read more about Polly Bemis here: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3446400031.html

  1. Mourning Dove/Christine Quintasket, (1888 – 1936) was an Okanogan author. The first Native American woman to write a novel, Cogewea the Half-Blood: A Depiction of the Great Montana Cattle Range.

Mourning Dove took jobs as a housekeeper, teacher, and migrant laborer in fields and orchards to make money while she wrote her novel. She shared her novel with Lucullus McWhorter, an amateur anthropologist, who worked as her editor and agent. McWhorter added his own words, without Mourning Dove’s knowledge or consent, and sent the book off to the publisher. Mourning Dove complained when she finally read her book that it felt more like his book than her own. Mourning Dove also put down in written word the oral stories of Native American folklore in her book, Coyote Stories, but they were edited to be suitable for white children. Many of the tales became unrecognizable from their original Native American stories.

Mourning Dove was drawn to political activism, she lobbied for fair labor rights for Native Americans, and was the first women elected to the Confederated Colville Tribes. After her death her autobiography, a detailed account of tribal life, customs, and culture, was found in an attic of a friend, Read more about Mourning Dove here: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9512

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Left to Right: Emily Greene Balch, Lugenia Hope, Lillian Wald, and Marie Baldwin.

  1. Emily Greene Balch (1867 – 1961) was an American economist, sociologist, and peace activist. Emily studied at Bryn Mawr and matriculated with their first graduating class. She went on to study at Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Berlin, and the Sorbonne. She began teaching at Wellesley College and rose to professor of Economics and Political and Social Science, focusing on consumption, immigration, and the economics of women.

Emily was also an activist in many organizations that dealt with child labor, immigration, poverty, racial justice, trade unions, and pacifism. She collaborated with Jane Addams at the start of WWI, and became a leader in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Women’s Peace Party. It was in WWI that Emily committed herself to pacifism, setting up summer schools on peace education in over 50 countries. She criticized the harsh punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles.

During WWII, Emily changed her pacifist view, in light of the excessive cruelty of the Nazi regime. She wrote to persuade the U.S. government to allowed refugees from the Nazi violence into America, and worked to assist Japanese American held in detention camps. In 1946, Emily received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Read more about Emily Greene Balch here: http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/people/balch-emily-greene/

  1. Lugenia Burns Hope (1871 – 1947) was a social reformer in the South and early civil rights activist. She worked as an activist and community organizer with Jane Addams at Hull House in Chicago. She was most known for the social activist work she did in Atlanta, GA.

In 1908, Lugenia created the first women-run social welfare agency for African American’s in Atlanta, the Neighborhood Union, which offered educational, employment, medical, and recreational services. She helped found the Atlantic branch of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. She worked to end segregation in the Young Women’s Christian Association and, in WWI, ran the Atlanta chapter, serving African American soldiers who were banned from services offered to white soldiers. Lugenia was elected the first Vice President of the NAACP of Atlanta and developed courses on voting, democracy and the U.S. Constitution, which were copied across the country and became part of the early Civil Rights Movement.  Read more about Lugenia Burns Hope here: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/lugenia-burns-hope-1871-1947

  1. Lillian Wald (1867 – 1940) was a Jewish American author, nurse, women’s suffragist, and humanitarian. She created American community nursing, for nurses who worked in the community. She was the first president of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing and helped to found the Columbia University School of Nursing.

In 1893, Lillian founded the Henry Street Settlement in New York, and offered education, healthcare and culture to  immigrants on the Lower East Side. Lillian racially integrated Henry Street Settlement and helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Lillian protested the United States entry into World War I, joined the Woman’s Peace Party and helped to found the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1915, Lillian was elected president of the American Union Against Militarism. Read more about Lillian Wald here: https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/lillian-wald/

  1. Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin (1863 – 1952) was an Ojibwe activist, art collector, attorney, and women’s suffragist. Marie was the first Native American to graduate from Washington College of Law and becoming one of only two Native American woman with a law degree. She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and was leader in the Society of American Indians. In 1913, Marie marched in the suffrage parade during President Wilson’s inaugural weekend.

Marie lived in Washington D.C., where she mentored young Native American women and  worked as a spokesperson for the Society of American Indians. She met with President Woodrow Wilson and other policymakers to advocate for Native American sovereignty. Fluent in French, she worked as an accountant with the U.S. Army in France. She was an avid collector of Native American arts and crafts, especially women’s art, which she used to educate non-Natives on Native American history and culture. Read more about Marie Lousie Bottineau Baldwin here:  http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=ENAIT037&DataType=Indian&WinType=Free

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From Left to Right: Zitkala- Sa, Alice Blackwell, Angelina Grimké, and Sophonisba Breckinridge.

  1. Zitkala- Sa/Gertrude Bonnin (1876 – 1938) was a Sioux activist, musician, teacher, and writer. She wrote several autobiographical works about the dichotomy between her Native American identity and the world of the white man. She founded and served as the president of the National Council of American Indians.

While in college, Zitkala-Sa translated Native American stories into Latin and English for children to read. She played violin with the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and at the 1900 Paris Exposition. That same year, her articles about Native American life began being published in popular magazines like Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s Monthly. Zitkala-Sa was dismissed from her job teaching at Carlisle School, a Christian Missionary school for Native Americans, after publishing a story that criticized forced assimilation.

She collaborated with composer William F. Hanson on music for a Native American opera, The Sun Dance, the first opera co-written by a Native American. She met her husband, Captain Raymond Talefase Bonnin when they both worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She joined the Society of American Indians, and criticized the BIA for their prejudiced and abusive behavior towards Native Americans, resulting in the Bureau firing her husband.

In her forties, Zitkala-Sa focused on mostly political writing. She moved to Washington D.C. and founded the Indian Welfare Committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She lectured around the nation advocating for the Society of American Indians, and a pan-Indian movement. She founded the National Council of American Indians to unite all tribes to work together to gain full citizenship. She created the Indian Welfare Committee to investigate fraud, theft and murder committed by oil corporations against tribes in Oklahoma, which led to the Indian Reorganization Act, which returned management of their lands to the tribes. Read more about Zitkala-Sa here: http://nativeamericanwriters.com/zitkala-sa.html

  1. Alice Stone Blackwell (1857 – 1950) was an American humanitarian, journalist, and women’s suffragist. Alice came from a family of prominent women. Her mother, Lucy Stone, was the first woman to earn a college degree in Massachusetts, and one of the first suffragettes in the United States. Alice’s aunt, Elizabeth Blackwell, was the first woman in the U.S. to graduate from medical school and the founder of the The Woman’s Medical College. After graduating from Boston University, Alice worked as an editor for her parent’s publication, Women’s Journal, the first official magazine for the American Woman Suffrage Association.

Through the Women’s Journal, Alice was the leading writer for the women’s suffrage movement. In 1819, Alice guided the merger of the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association. After the death of her parents, Alice became the editor in chief of the Women’s Journal. Alice also translated Russian, Armenian, and Jewish Yiddish poetry, at a time when those peoples were facing oppression. Read more about Alice Stone Blackwell here: http://www.armenianhouse.org/blackwell/biography-en.html

  1. Angelina Weld Grimké (1880 – 1958) was an African American poet, journalist, and playwright. Angelina came from a political family, her father, Archibald, was the vice president of the NAACP and the second black man to graduate from Harvard. Her aunts Angelina and Sarah Grimké, were renown abolitionists and feminists.

Angelina wrote essays, poems, short stories and plays. Her play, Rachel, written for the NAACP in response to the racist film, Birth of a Nation, and was the first play written by an African American women to be staged. Rachel, performed by an all-black cast, attempted to enlighten its audience about lynching and racial violence.

Many of Angelina’s poems were private and not published in her lifetime, they were romantic and sexual in nature and give evidence that Grimké was lesbian or bisexual. Other themes in her writing were nature, loss, death, longing, and African American life.  Read more about Angelina Grimké here: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/grimke/herron.htm

  1. Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866 – 1948) was an American educator, social reformer, social scientist, and political activist. She came from a family of prominent politicians, her father was a U.S. congressman and her great-grandfather the U.S. Attorney General under President Thomas Jefferson. Sophonisba graduated from Wellesley College and returned to Kentucky to study law. She was the first woman to be admitted to the Kentucky bar but was faced with sexism and could find no clients. She moved away from the South and went to graduate school at the University of Chicago. She became the first woman to graduate from law school there. She became the dean of the College of Arts, Literature, and Science and, in 1929, was appointed the Samuel Deutsch Professor of Public Welfare Administration, the first female professor granted a named professorship. Sophonisba helped found the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, one of the first schools of social work in the country, eventually merging it with the University of Chicago, forming the Graduate School of Social Service Administration, one of the world’s leading schools for social work.

Sophonisba became involved with Hull House, a settlement house, in Chicago and devoted her time and energies to issues like civil rights, housing, immigration, labor, truancy, and vocational training. She wrote dozens of  books on public welfare policy, and belonged to or had a founding or leadership role in many organizations, including the Chicago chapter of the NAACP, Illinois Child Labor Committee, Immigrants Protective League, League of Woman Voters, Women’s Trade Union League, Women’s International League for Peace, was elected as Vice-President of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, and served as president of the American Association of Schools of Social Work. Sophonisba was also the first woman delegate from the United States to an International Conference, the Pan-America conferences on international trade with Latin America. Read more about Sophonisba Preston Breckinridgehere: http://www.socialworkhistorystation.org/history/extras/SB/sophonisba_preston_breckinridge.htm

parispeacewomen (11)

From Left to Right: Jane Adams, Ella Deloris, and Mary Terrell.

  1. Jane Addams (1880 – 1935) was an American activist, author, pacifist, reformer social worker, and women’s suffragist. One of the most prominent people of the Progressive Era, Jane Addams inspired the progressive movement with her philosophy and organized people, worldwide, to work for labor rights, women’s rights, civil rights, child welfare, immigrant welfare, and peace. She founded Hull House, a community for learning for and from local immigrant neighbors, in Chicago. Jane both applied her philosophies herself, at Hull House, and helped others to do the same by developing the field of social work.

Jane Addams was the first women to be president of the National Conference of Social Work. She was a leader in the Women’s Peace Party, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, the International Conference at the Hague, and Jane was the first American woman to be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. At the close of WWI, Jane founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Public opinion of Jane Addams went from dangerous radical for her social work in Chicago to vilified for her commitment to pacifism in WWI  to Nobel Peace Prize winner and ranked first on the list of “American’s greatest women.” Jane lived for forty years with Mary Rozet Smith, who funded many Hull House endeavors.

  1. Ella Cara Deloris (1889 – 1971) was a Dakota anthropologist, ethnographer, linguist, and author. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio and graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York in 1915. Deloris met the “Father of American Anthropology, Franz Boaz at Teacher College and worked with him on the linguistics of Native American languages.

Ella translated Sioux histories into English and researched socioeconomics in the Navajo Reservation. Her research projects on the cultures of various Native American tribes in the United States were supported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Farm Security Administration, the American Philosophical Society, the National Science Foundation, Columbia University, The Bollingen Foundation, and the Doris Duke Foundation. Ella’s novel, Waterlily, depicts Dakota life before the arrival of white men, based on 20 years of research it accurately portrays Sioux traditions and culture. Read more about Ella Cara Deloris here: http://zia.aisri.indiana.edu/deloria_archive/about.php?topic=ella

  1. Mary Church Terrell (1863 – 1954) was an activist for civil rights and women’s suffrage. She was one of the first African African women to earn a college degree. At Oberlin she was nominated class poet, and served as the editor of the The Oberlin Review. Mary studied in Europe for two years and became fluent in French, German, and Italian. She was also a journalist who wrote for a variety of American newspapers about civil rights issues and black women’s suffrage.

Mary Terrell was the only black women invited to the International Congress of Women where she gave her speech in German, then French, and finally in English. She was a delegate to the International Peace Conference after WWI. In 1950 she successfully fought, using boycotts, sit-ins, and picketing, to racially integrate restaurants in Washington D.C..

Mary was a founding member of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, the National Association of College Women, the Federation of Afro-American Women and a leader of the National Association of Colored Women and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Read more about Mary Terrell here: http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/people/terrell-mary-church/

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