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Prominent Women in U.S. History (Yes, they did exist)

By , Owosso, MI
In my generation one of the most memorable, women I am going to be telling you about is, Pocahontas (1595-1617). Who is most well known by American youth today through Walt Disney’s 1995 animated film “Pocahontas” and Walt Disney’s 1998 animated film “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World”. Through these colorful renditions of Pocahontas’ story children do not realize, she was real. Pocahontas saved the life of Captain John Smith, at the hand of her father, Chief Powhatan. She also moved on to marry the famous John Rolfe and went to England where she met royalty. She did things that were looked at among her people as absolutely, positively, insane.
As did most of the memorable women in U.S. History, crazy, strong headed, inappropriate, proud. Were words that were often used to describe people like, Margaret Brent, Sarah Josepha Hale, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth. The words that should’ve been used were; driven, intelligent, and strong. There are countless more women that could be included in that list but I do not possess the words to describe, all the amazing things they did. So I am going to tell a little about the ones that I might have the knowledge and language enough to describe to you.

(1600-1690) Margaret Brent, was thought to be North America’s first feminist. She became one of Maryland’s largest landowners and aided in settling land arguments. Margaret also raised armed volunteer groups. On January 21, 1648 Brent stood before assembly and asked for two votes; one as a landowner, and another as Lord Baltimore’s attorney. She was the first woman to ask for the right to vote in the New World.

(1788-1879) Sarah Josepha Hale. Sarah Hale had an ache to learn. She fell in love with a lawyer named, David Hale. David and Sarah had the same passion for learning and together they had five children. While Sarah was pregnant with their fifth child David died suddenly; leaving Sarah to fend for herself and her five children. Hale was editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book which promoted the betterment of women, Sarah also supported important economic reform. Hale spent 40 years writing to congressmen, and trying to persuade five presidents, to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She also took her knowledge and began teaching and writing articles for local news papers. In 1827, Hale’s book Northwood: a Tale of New England, was published. Although it was a fictional story it was one of the first to weave the issue of slavery into its plot. A quote that I found to be rather eye opening by Hale was; “There is something in the decay of nature that awakens thought, even in the most trifling mind.”

(1820-1906) Susan B. Anthony was a determined campaigner for women’s rights. She and her friend Cady Stanton started a nationwide suffrage movement. She and Stanton fought for the first of laws for women’s rights passed by New York’s legislator; the control over property, wages and rights over their children. A famous quote by Susan B. Anthony;

“I do not demand equal pay for any women, save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their service as workers, not as women.” This quote tells in her own words just what she set out to do.
(1797-1893) Sojourner Truth was a preacher and campaigned nationwide for the end of slavery and women’s rights. She also raised money for black Union soldiers. Truth, was born a slave in 1797, and worked her way to freedom. To her African- Americans and women did not only deserve equal rights they had earned them. She had five children, and went through the all too common and painful task of seeing her last three children sold away before she escaped in 1826. This is from a speech she gave and it shows just how frustrated she was but also how ridiculous slavery and unequal rights for women seem now. “..That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches, and have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as well and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Truth said many great things; her quotes were inspirational to both African-Americans and women in general.

Yet, somehow we are still waiting for equal pay and certain rights. Even after all the amazing things that these amazing WOMEN did.




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Rosie_Gurl said...
Nov. 27, 2012 at 6:31 am:
Excellent. Very well written, and somewhat eye opening! :)  
 
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