Wilma Rudolph was known as ‘the fastest woman on earth’, after she became the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals; but there was once a time in her life when doctors told her she would never walk again – let alone become a world famous runner.
Wilma Glodean Rudolph was born prematurely on 23rd June 1940 in Clarksville, Tennessee, weighing only 4.5 pounds! Born into a very large family, she was the 20th of 22 children!
Very early on in life Wilma became seriously ill, she suffered from many illnesses including pneumonia and scarlet fever. When she was only 4 years old she developed polio. This disease meant that Wilma lost the use of her left leg and foot; it was at this point that doctors told her she would never be able to walk. Wilma’s mother however, disagreed!
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Nella Larsen was born on 13th April 1891.
Nellallitea ‘Nella’ Larsen was an American writer. Although she only published two novels, she was seen as a significant contributor to what was called ‘The Harlem Renaissance’.
Before she became known for her writing Nella first trained as a nurse, before later becoming a librarian. She was the first black woman to graduate from the New York Public Library school. She soon went to work in the Harlem branch of the library, which is where she met and was inspired by other artists & writers in the Harlem Renaissance.
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Biographical dictionaries of the time called her “the patroness of liberty”. An advocate for freedom and human rights, many people considered her to be eccentric, particularly after her second marriage to William Graham which created something of a scandal (he was 26 years her junior and there were rumours that Catharine had been involved with William’s brother before the marriage).
Catharine had been fortunate enough to be privately educated and had been inspired by studying Roman and Greek history.
Continue reading Catharine Macaulay – ‘The patroness of liberty’
Born 7th April, 1889 was the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral.
Born Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga, she published her poetry under the name Gabriela Mistral. In 1945 she became the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and remains the only Latin American woman to do so.
As well as a poet, Gabreila was an educator, a feminist, and was involved in politics throughout her life. She argued for the right to education for children, she spoke up for the rights of women and the poor, and believed strongly in peace and democracy. She defended those who were oppressed and used her essays, poetry and newspaper articles to draw attention to their plight.
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I first read about KHUTULUN in an article called ‘7 of the Most Amazing Women You’ve Never Heard Of’ which is what first started me thinking about doing this blog. And indeed until that point I had never heard of this wrestling, warrior, princess.
Khutulun lived in a country called Mongolia over 800 years ago. Her name means ‘moonlight’, and her father, Kaidu, was a powerful ruler whose kingdom stretched far and wide across Central Asia.
Continue reading Khutulun: Wrestling warrior Shero
Badass Wimmin of History is a comic/zine/completely legit History journal, written and drawn by Holly Cruise (@hollyzone). Holly came up with the idea after years of aimless doodling and near-constant banging on about History, the interesting people in History, and the unfortunate way women in History often lose out as the spotlight is shone elsewhere by many mainstream historians.
Badass Wimmin of History is a bi-monthly (ish) comic/zine which wants to present the lives of interesting women in a passionate, at times irreverent, but always historical way. It isn’t just a place for queens and ladies (although there is space for them too) but for scientists, soldiers, actresses, writers, pirates, mathematicians, sports stars, singers, inventors, pilots… the list is huge, probably because women have been busy doing things and being interesting for as long as humans have been around. Funny that.
Here is a taster of the sort of thing BWoH contains. The life of French Mathematician, Sophie Germain (1776-1831).
Continue reading Badass Wimmin of History presents Sophie Germain
On this day in 1819 Louise Otto-Peters was born. A German writer, feminist, poet & activist she said, “History of all times, of today especially, teaches that women will be forgotten if they forget to think of themselves.”
She started a newspaper called ‘Women’s News’, which had written on the front “I am recruiting females citizens for the realm of freedom!”