Michaels (1939-2017) was a feminist and civil
rights activist during the 1950s and 1960s. She was responsible for popularising
the form of address Ms. as a way to refer to women without taking into account
their marital status.
She started her activism by working for the
Congress of Racial Equality in New York. She first introduced the idea of using
the term Ms. in 1961, and eventually caught the attention of Gloria Steinem,
who named her feminist magazine after it.
Pankhurst (1882-1960) was a prominent suffragist
and anti-fascist activist. She was the daughter of another very important figure
in women’s rights, Emmeline Pankhurst.
She was an accomplished artist and designed
the logos, banners and posters of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Her
protests and militant tactics in support of women’s rights got her arrested
eight times. She later moved to Ethiopia, where she founded the country’s first
teaching hospital and wrote extensively on its culture.
Isaacs (1900-1997) was a tennis player, teacher, and
women’s rights activist from the Bahamas. She was the second Bahamian woman elected
as Senator in her country, and the first to be awarded the title of Dame Commander
of the Order of the British Empire.
She was a founding member of the
Progressive Liberal Party and a strong supporter of women’s suffrage. Bahamian
women were allowed to vote in 1962, and she became Senator in 1969.
Eaton (1921-2018) was a civil rights activist in
the state of North Carolina. President Obama described her as a personal
inspiration and a “beacon of civil rights”.
When she was 21, she passed a severe literacy
test and registered to vote, one of the first African Americans to do so in her
state. She served as a county poll worker and a special registrar commissioner
for 40 years after that, helping more than 4000 people to register to vote.
Ford (1918-2011) served as the First Lady and the Second
Lady of the United States during the 1970s. She was a dedicated advocate for a
number of progressive causes, particularly regarding the rights of women and
minorities, setting the precedent for a politically active First Lady.
She was an important figure in the Women’s
Movement, supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and candidly offering her
feminist, pro-choice views. In 1982, she established a recovery center for drug
and alcohol dependency.
Cooper Cafritz (1947-2018) was a civil rights activist and philanthropist from Alabama,
active in Washington, D.C. Although she was born in a well-off family, the racism
she experienced throughout her life still shaped her worldview.
She attended George Washington University,
where she studied law and organised the Black Student Union, working to
integrate fraternities and sororities. She was one of the founders of the Duke
Ellington School of the Arts, and served on the DC Commission on the Arts and
Schneiderman (1882-1972) was a Polish-American
activist for women’s and worker’s rights. She is credited with coining the
phrase ‘bread and roses’, which represents the rights of the working class to
an existence beyond mere subsistence.
Her family emigrated from Poland to New
York when she was eight, and she was forced to abandon school and start working
in a factory only five years later. Later, she became involved with the New
York Women’s Trade Union League, organising strikes and pushing for worker’s
rights. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898) was a
suffragist, abolitionist and activist for the rights of Native Americans. She worked closely with the National Woman Suffrage Association and
dedicated her life to justice and equality.
She served as the president of the
Association, as well as its vice president and as Chair of the Executive
Committee. She published numerous influential articles and books, such as Woman as Inventor, History of Woman Suffrage (co-authored with Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
and Woman, Church and State.
(1949-2014) was an
activist for better housing for the African-American community. She was active
around St Louis, Missouri.
She started advocating for better housing
from a very young age, leading a nine-month rent strike which involved more
than twenty-two thousand tenants who were living in intolerable conditions. She
eventually set up the first tenant management association in the city, which
rehabilitated and managed the Cochran Gardens Housing Project, greatly
improving the living conditions of thousands.
Evers-Williams (b. 1933) is a civil rights activist
and journalist, who served as chairwoman of the NAACP. She delivered the
invocation at President Obama’s second inauguration.
She worked for the desegregation of schools
and voter registration in her native state of Mississippi. After her husband,
also an activist, was killed by a white supremacist in 1963, she sought justice
for him for more than three decades.