Izetta Jewel

Born Izetta Jewel Kenney on November 24, 1883, in Hackettstown, New Jersey, actress and activist Izetta Jewel arguably impacted all of our lives in a significant and lasting manner.

An incredibly popular stage actress, Izetta Jewel performed on Broadway, and all around the country, moving to Washington, DC around 1912, after her acting career blossomed on the West Coast. Continue reading Izetta Jewel

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Jane Austen

England recently released a new ten-pound note, featuring beloved author Jane Austen. She will become the second woman only to the Queen to grace the front of an English bank note, which is clear evidence in her continuing fandom and the enduring interest in her work.

The author of the classics Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey published her work anonymously and did not claim notoriety until her siblings took it upon themselves to publish two previously unprinted books following her death. It was, therefore, not until the mid-19th century that she gained widespread notability. Continue reading Jane Austen

Gertrude Caton-Thomas

My first encounter with a female archaeologist was when I discovered the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, which recounts the adventures of the fictional Egyptologists and archaeologists Amelia Peabody, her husband Radcliffe Emerson, and their extended family. Amelia is based on Amelia Edwards, English novelist, journalist, traveler and Egyptologist, who advocated for researching and preserving ancient monuments and relics from being destroyed by modernization and tourism. Continue reading Gertrude Caton-Thomas

Queen Nzinga

With thanks to The Open University for allowing us to repost this piece. Originally posted on their website here.

Queen Nzinga managed to call a halt to Portuguese slave raids in her kingdom through clever tactics. Read about her legacy in this article Continue reading Queen Nzinga

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker (1906 – 1975) – Resistance fighter, Civil Rights activist, writer…

And yes a dancer too!

I’ve visited the Chateau des Milandes on the Dordogne River in France twice now. It is in a spectacular setting on a cliff side of the meandering Dordogne. It was the home of the cabaret dancer Josephine Baker, and the glamorous dresses and memorabilia from her career during the 20s and 30s in Paris attract many thousands of visitors. They are displayed on the lower floors of the Chateau. The beautiful chateau has numerous lavish bedrooms with splendid bathrooms that were installed after Josephine Baker lived there, and began to adopt orphans of many nationalities. But, like me, many of these tourists are unaware of her other achievements. They overshadow her dancing career and display her courage, bravery and moral integrity. The real story of Josephine Baker can be discovered on the top floor of the chateau.    Continue reading Josephine Baker

Charlotte Maxeke

With thanks to The Open University for allowing us to repost this piece. Originally posted on their website here.

A rights activist against the exploitation what was prevalent in South Africa, Charlotte Maxeke was South Africa’s first black female graduate and one of the first female freedom fighters. Find out more about her extraordinary story. Continue reading Charlotte Maxeke

Lisa Perez Jackson: A Life in Balance

Lisa Perez Jackson was adopted as an infant and grew up in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward in the 1960s. The area was a vibrant center of African American culture with a high rate of home-ownership. Her father was a postman and Navy veteran who took great pride in serving his community and his dedication to the public good was passed on to his daughter. As a child in Louisiana, Lisa noticed that pollution deregulation helped the wealthy make more money but it was harsh for the poor who lived near waterways and canals fouled by the oil industry. She came to realize that environmentalism and equality were entwined and that people of color were most likely to bear the burden of environmental degradation. In her own words, “environmental challenges have the power to deny equality of opportunity and hold back the progress of communities.” Continue reading Lisa Perez Jackson: A Life in Balance