03-13-2017 06:32 PM
Name: Claudia de la Cruz
How She Changed the World: As the founder of Da Urban Butterflies (DUB), Cruz is dedicated to youth outreach for Latinas in the Washington Heights area in New York City. The group, which has been around for 8 years, helps empower young women between the ages of 18 to 30 with sex education and career workshops. “Here you find yourself in a space where they are telling you yes, you are worth something. We care about you and you can create the world you want. That is really empowering,” said Cruz about her organization.
03-13-2017 07:07 PM - edited 03-13-2017 07:15 PM
Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman is a renowned activist who has been fighting for the rights of children for the last 40 years. Through the Children’s Defense Fund that she established in 1973, she has been a leading national voice for disadvantaged children and families.
Edelman grew up in South Carolina, the youngest of five children of a Baptist preacher who taught her early on about the importance of serving others and pursuing an education. As a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, she became the first African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi bar in 1963. She began her legal career in the as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and served as the director of the Jackson, Mississippi office, defending her peers in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as helping to establish the local Head Start program.
In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People's March that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. Out of her work on poverty with Dr. King, she formed the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), a non-profit child advocacy organization that has now worked for nearly 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all of America’s children.
Edelman has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, and Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind."
03-13-2017 07:09 PM
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT First Female Secretary of State
The Washington Post recently asked Madeleine Albright about her place in history. “I have to laugh,” said America’s first female Secretary of State. She remembered her young granddaughter wondering “‘so what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddie having been Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretaries of State.’”
Born in prewar Prague, Albright’s earliest years were defined by her family’s political flight—first from Hitler and, after 1948, from Czechoslovakia’s Communist government. Albright was a Wellesley alumna, a naturalized citizen, and had worked as a journalist by the time she became a mother for the first time in 1960. She spent the next 30 years simultaneously raising three daughters, obtaining graduate degrees and ascending to distinguished positions in the academic, political and foreign policy establishments. She served as Ambassador to the UN for President Clinton’s first term and was appointed Secretary of State at the start of his second term, thereby becoming the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She played a powerful role in shaping the Clinton administration’s intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina while grappling with the other dizzying world events and crises of her tenure.
Since leaving government, she’s continued to advise presidents and her (yes, mostly female) successors, has sat on an array of corporate and philanthropic boards, and has launched her own commercial ventures. Meanwhile, she remains a proud immigrant, intellectual, and woman. Her famous brooches, which had been “part of my personal diplomatic arsenal” (as Secretary, she wore a snake during a during a meeting with Saddam Hussein), became the basis of 2009’s Read My Pins: Stories From A Diplomat’s Jewel Box.
03-13-2017 07:20 PM
Bella Abzug Biography
In the 1960s, Bella Abzug became involved the antinuclear and peace movements and helped organize the Women Strike for Peace in 1961. To promote women’s issues and to lobby for reform, she helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, and to have a greater impact on the political process, she served in the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977.
Born Bella Savitsky on July 24, 1920, in New York City, Bella Abzug spent much of her life fighting social and political change. Bold and outspoken, she was a leading liberal activist and politician in the 1960s and 1970s, especially known for her work for women’s rights.
The daughter of Russian immigrants, Abzug grew up in the Bronx, New York, where her father ran a butcher shop. She decided at an early age that she wanted to be a lawyer. At Hunter College, Abzug demonstrated her natural leadship abilities as the president of the student council there. She went on to earn her law degree from Columbia University in 1947. Abzug had applied to the Harvard Law School, but she was rejected because of her gender.
Lawyer and Activist
After graduating from Columbia University's law school, Bella Abzug worked as a lawyer for a number of years. She started in labor law and then moved on to tackling civil rights cases. While working for the American Civil Liberties Union, she took on the Willie McGee case. McGee, an African American man, was convicted of raping a white woman in Mississippi. He was sentenced to death for this crime, but many were not convinced of his guilt. Abzug faced numerous threats from white supremists for her involvement in the case. Despite the personal risk, she managed to get his death sentence delayed through appealing his conviction. All of her efforts failed, however, and McGee was executed in 1951.
Abzug also defended many people who had been accused of communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy. In the 1960s, she became involved the antinuclear and peace movements. Abzug helped organize the Women Strike for Peace in 1961. To promote women’s issues and to lobby for reform, she helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus with leading feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
To have a greater impact on the political process, Bella Abzug ran for Congress in 1970, winning a seat in the House of Representatives. She took office in 1971, and she made a bold move on her first day in Congress. Abzug introduced a bill to remove all U.S. troops from Vietnam. While the measure didn't pass, the bill was just the first of many efforts by Abzug to advance the causes she believed in.
Abzug became famous for and oftentimes criticized for her outspokeness on the issues. She fought tirelessly for women's rights and for civil rights in general. In 1975, Abzug made history when she introduced the first gay rights bill in Congress. She became one of Washington's most colorful characters, usually sporting one of her trademark hats. But the hats weren't just an interesting fashion choice. She once explained that when she started her career that "Working women work hats. It was the only way they would take you seriously," according to the Boston Globe.Later Career
In 1976, Abzug ran for the U.S. Senate. She suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, losing by a margin of only 1 percent. After leaving the House in 1977, Abzug made a bid for mayor of New York City, but lost to Ed Koch in the primaries. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to co-chair the National Advisory Committee for Women in 1978. Carter dismissed the outspoken Abzug the following year.
Abzug tried again for public office in 1986. She ran for a seat in the House of Representatives for New York's Westchester County, but she lost out to her Republican opponent. While public office eluded her, she continued to work on many causes in the 1980s and 1990s. Abzug also established the Women’s Environmental Development Organization.
03-13-2017 09:07 PM
Violet Palmer-broke a major glass ceiling in sports in 1997 when she became the first woman to officiate in the NBA. First woman to do it in any major US professional sport.
03-14-2017 11:15 PM
Maya Lin Biography
Artistic Crush:Robert Smithson after seeing his Site/Non-Site at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
First Job:Working in the sewing department of a five and dime shop called Murphy's Mart.
An Apple Not Far from the Tree:The daughter of a Dean of Fine Arts and Literature Professor, Lin was a "bookish" child, casting bronzes by age 16.
Environmentalist Roots:She traces her environmentalism to growing up during the fight for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and to constantly roaming the woods that surrounded her Athens, Ohio home.
In nearly three decades of practice, Maya Lin has completed large site-specific art installations, intimate studio works, residential and institutional architecture, and, of course, memorials. It’s a varied oeuvre that draws equally on her training as an artist and as an architect. Lin was a Yale undergraduate when she won the blind competition for design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Washington DC’s National Mall. At 21, she became the youngest architect and first woman, to design a memorial on the National Mall. It was a design that flew in the face of all conventions – a black granite wall, to be set in the earth as a gash, inscribed the names of all those lost. The selection sparked bitter opposition from veterans' groups, but once constructed, the objections faded. It was a new kind of tribute, born of a new sensibility, and is now seen as a benchmark in memorial architecture.
Lin’s subsequent work has grappled with identity, spirit and the natural world. In 2009 she installed Storm King Wavefield, a permanent site-specific outdoor work for the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. A committed environmentalist, she is at work on her last memorial, What is Missing? a multi-sited artwork that raises awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.
03-14-2017 11:21 PM
Sacagawea, the daughter of a Shoshone chief, was born circa 1788 in Lemhi County, Idaho. At around age 12, she was captured by an enemy tribe and sold to a French-Canadian trapper who made her his wife. In November 1804, she was invited to join the Lewis and Clark expedition as a Shoshone interpreter. After leaving the expedition, she died at Fort Manuel in what is now Kenel, South Dakota, circa 1812.Early Life
Born circa 1788 (some sources say 1786 and 1787) in Lemhi County, Idaho, the daughter of a Shoshone chief, Sacagawea was a Shoshone interpreter best known for serving as a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition into the American West—and for being the only woman on the famous excursion. Much of Sacagawea's life is a mystery. Around the age of 12, Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of the Shoshones. She was then sold to a French-Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau who made her one of his wives.
Sacagawea and her husband lived among the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River area (present-day North Dakota). In November 1804, an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the area. Often called the Corps of Discovery, the expedition planned to explore newly acquired western lands and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. The group built Fort Mandan, and elected to stay there for the winter. Lewis and Clark met Charbonneau and quickly hired him to serve as interpreter on their expedition. Even though she was pregnant with her first child, Sacagawea was chosen to accompany them on their mission. Lewis and Clark believed that her knowledge of the Shoshone language would help them later in their journey.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
In February 1805, Sacagawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Despite traveling with a newborn child during the trek, Sacagawea proved to be helpful in many ways. She was skilled at finding edible plants. When a boat she was riding on capsized, she was able to save some of its cargo, including important documents and supplies. She also served as a symbol of peace - a group traveling with a woman and a child were treated with less suspicion than a group of men alone.
Sacagawea also made a miraculous discovery of her own during the trip west. When the corps encountered a group of Shoshone Indians, she soon realized that its leader was actually her brother Cameahwait. It was through her that the expedition was able to buy horses from the Shoshone to cross the Rocky Mountains. Despite this joyous family reunion, Sacagawea remained with the explorers for the trip west.
03-14-2017 11:26 PM
Edmonia Lewis was born in 1844 in Greenbush, New York. Her first notable commercial success was a bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. The money she earned selling copies of the bust allowed her to sail to Rome, Italy, where she mastered working in marble. She quickly achieved success as a sculptor. The circumstances of her death in 1907 are unclear.
Hailed as the first professional African-American and Native-American sculptor, Mary Edmonia Lewis had little training, but overcame numerous obstacles to become a respected artist.
Little is known about her early life. Elusive when it came to personal details, Lewis claimed different years of birth throughout out her life, but research seems to indicate she was born around 1844 in upstate New York. The daughter of a black father and part-Ojibwa mother, she was orphaned at an early age and, as she later claimed, was raised by some of her mother's relatives.
With the support and encouragement of a successful older brother, Lewis attended Oberlin College in Ohio where she emerged as a talented artist. The abolitionist movement was active on the Oberlin campus and would greatly influence her later work. But life at Oberlin came to a violent end when Lewis was falsely accused of poisoning two white classmates. Captured and beaten by a white mob, Lewis recovered from the attack and then escaped to Boston, Massachusetts, after the charges against her were dropped.
In Boston, Lewis befriended abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and sculptor Edward A. Brackett. It was Brackett who taught Lewis sculpture and helped propel her to set up her own studio. By the early 1860s, her clay and plaster medallions of Garrison, John Brown and other abolitionist leaders gave her a small measure of commercial success.
In 1864, Lewis created a bust of Colonel Robert Shaw, a Civil War hero who had died leading the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment. This was her most famous work to date and the money she earned from the sale of copies of the bust allowed her to move to Rome, home to a number of expatriate American artists, including several women.
Life in Rome
In Italy, Lewis continued to work as an artist. Her work over the next several decades moved between African-American themes to subjects influenced by her devout Catholicism.
One of her most prized works was "Forever Free" (1867), a sculpture depicting a black man and woman emerging from the bonds of slavery. Another piece, "The Arrow Maker" (1866), draws on her Native-American roots and shows a father teaching his young daughter how to make an arrow. Lewis also created busts of American presidents including Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln.
One of her most famous works was a depiction of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, titled "The Death of Cleopatra." Met with critical acclaim when she showed it at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876 and in Chicago two years later, the two-ton sculpture never returned to Italy with its creator because Lewis couldn't afford the shipping costs. It was placed in storage and rediscovered several decades after her death.
Much like her childhood, Lewis's final years are shrouded in mystery. Until the 1890s, she continued to exhibit her work and was even visited by Frederick Douglass in Rome, but little is known about the last decade or so of her life. It was speculated that Lewis spent her last years in Rome, Italy, but the recent discovery of death documents indicate that she died in London, England, in 1907.
In recent decades, however, Lewis's life and art have received posthumous acclaim. Her pieces are now part of the permanent collections of the Howard University Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
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