#TellHerStory this Black History Month

October is fast approaching and for Black History Month this year I want to do something different.

Despite the many brilliant sheroes who feature on the blog, not enough of them are women of colour. If women’s histories are neglected, then black women’s histories are neglected even more so. I want to correct the imbalance so I’m putting out a call to #TellHerStory during Black History month this year.

I’d like to share the stories of as many black sheroes as possible during Black History Month, but I can only do that with your help!

Here’s how you can join in:

  1. Pick a black shero from history you think should have their story told
  2. Check they’re not already featured on the blog!
  3. Write a short profile about them (500-600 words)
  4. Send it to sheroesofhistory@gmail.com
  5. Spread the word – get others to join in: Tweet @SheroesHistory with the hashtag #TellHerStory

Dame Hilda Lloyd and the Birmingham Flying Squads

This piece first appeared on the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections Blog and is re-posted with their kind permission.

Dame Hilda Lloyd was a pioneer in many senses. After becoming the first female professor at the University of Birmingham in 1944, she rose to become the first President of any Royal Medical College: the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1949. One of her many accomplishments was introducing the use of obstetrical ‘flying squads’ in Birmingham, which saved the lives of countless mothers and babies. Continue reading Dame Hilda Lloyd and the Birmingham Flying Squads

Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire was a pioneer in electronic music who created one of the most well known TV theme tunes of all time.

Delia was born in Coventry in 1937, only two years before the outbreak of the Second World War. When the war began the government encouraged parents of young children like Delia to send them away to the relative safety of the countryside,  however many chose not to. Initially, Delia’s parents were amongst them. She stayed in Coventry and lived through the famous Coventry Blitz, which razed the city to the ground. The sound of the air raid siren sounded night after night made a lasting impact on Delia, in her later life she reflected: Continue reading Delia Derbyshire

Kate Warne: First Female Detective

Have you ever heard the name Kate Warne? Most people haven’t. And yet, she did amazing things – every bit as impressive as household names like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Marie Curie. Not only did she convince the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency to hire her as a female operative – in 1856! – she rose through the ranks to head up a Bureau of Female Detectives within the agency, saved Abraham Lincoln’s life en route to his inauguration, and went undercover as a spy for the Union during the Civil War. Continue reading Kate Warne: First Female Detective

Mata Hari

I was first introduced to the name Mata Hari in Pond Life, a mini-series that focussed on Amy and Rory Pond from Doctor Who. In the first episode the Doctor (Matt Smith) leaves a message on their answering machine and briefly comments on meeting Mata Hari – ‘What an interesting woman’. It’s taken me four years to research her. First thing I learned? That’s not her name. This should have been obvious, she was an exotic dancer and performer. Margaretha Zelle moved to Paris in 1903 and after two years ‘Mata Hari’ became the one to watch. She was sexy, even by today’s standards. According to reports Hari would often remove all her clothes, and if not would only wear a jewelled bra. There’s even photographic evidence of this, which is where my research took a sadder turn. Continue reading Mata Hari

Edith Picton-Turbervill

When I lived in Wellington Shropshire during the 90s I learnt that Edith Pargeter ( better known as Ellis Peters ), had lived in the area. But it was only by chance that I found out about another Edith – Edith Picton-Turbervill . I discovered that she was by far the most important Edith. However, there wasn’t one plaque or memorial to her and she seemed all but forgotten. I read about her in a biography of Jennie Lee. My Edith had been a very early Labour Member of Parliament for the area and as I was interested in politics, I became curious to discover her story. Continue reading Edith Picton-Turbervill

Honor Frost

We have all heard stories of the lost city of Atlantis, or have marvelled at the possibility of exploring the sunken Titanic, but not many of us have heard of the name ‘Honor Frost’. Frost is responsible for helping the possibility of such adventures being realised (well, perhaps not the exploration of Atlantis) as a pioneer of deep-sea archaeology. Continue reading Honor Frost