The Rosa Parks of the Modern Trans Movement

Sylvia Rivera (far right in illustration above) hated labels almost as much as she hated discrimination. Of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, she lived alone on the streets from the tender age of eleven. Despite her hard life, she rallied, protested, caucused, and got beaten and arrested for the inclusion and recognition of transgender individuals. Some call her the Rosa Parks of the Modern Trans movement.

Early Life

Born to a father from Puerto Rico and a mother from Venezuela in New York City on July 2, 1951, assigned male at birth, her parents named her Ray. Her birth father disappeared early in her life. 

Rivera’s mother remarried. The marriage was rocky. Rivera’s stepfather threatened to kill Rivera, her mother, and her sister. At twenty-two years of age, her mother committed suicide. 

Rivera was three when she went to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother voiced disapproval of Rivera’s mixed background (Venezuelan and Puerto Rican) and darker skin color. When Rivera began experimenting with clothing and makeup, her grandmother berated and beat Rivera for behavior that was too effeminate for a boy. Her grandmother’s disapproval and beatings increased after Rivera’s step-father took her half-sister away

They shuffled Rivera between her grandmother’s home, Catholic boarding schools, and friends’ homes. She started wearing makeup to school in fourth grade. Bullied and mocked, she was the victim of many playground fights and even school suspensions.

Her uncle had her earn extra money with sex work. It’s no wonder that by the age of eleven, Rivera ran away from home, never to return.

Life On the Streets

In New York City, 42nd Street was “home to a community of drag queens, sex workers, and those who were hustling inside and outside of the gay community of New York in the early 1960s.” Rivera ran from home to this area. Here, a group of young drag queens adopted her. They taught her how to eke out a living with sex work and live on the streets, often changing sleeping location every night. Like many young homeless queer youth and older LGBT people in New York City, Rivera and her friends hung out in places they could feel safe and part of a community. Most of those places were Mafia-run bars.

In 1963, twelve-year-old Rivera met Marsha P. Johnson, an eighteen-year-old, “African American self-identified drag queen and activist battling for inclusion in a movement for gay rights that did not embrace her gender.” Rivera said Johnson was like a mother to her.

Fighting for Transgender People

The Riot

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan. It was a place where young men hustled and people from all over the city hung out after work and on weekends. The Inn is famous for being the setting for what’s now known as the Stonewall Inn Riot on June 28, 1929. 

Rivera’s presence and involvement in the Stonewall Inn Riot, like Stormé DeLarverie, is debatable. Some sources quote her as saying she didn’t throw the first Molotov cocktail, but threw the second one. Many sources cite she refused to go home or go to sleep for seven days because she didn’t want to miss a minute of the revolution.

After the Riot, Rivera laid low for a few months. When she heard about newly formed activist groups, such as the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), she enthusiastically tried to get involved. But her gender identity troubled the members of those groups. 

Exclusion and Discrimination

The first Pride Parade happened in 1970, but the organizers discouraged trans people, including Rivera, from joining the parade. Rivera was passionate about equal rights for trans individuals but faced relentless discrimination, even from the gay community.  

In 1971, Rivera and Johnson started the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group focused on giving shelter to queer, homeless youth. They hustled the street to rent a building they named Star House. It provided a safe space to discuss transgender issues. They fed, clothed and sheltered “our other kids.” Though short-lived (STAR died by 1973), 19-year-old Rivera was a like mother to those kids. 

Determined, Rivera fought against discrimination. She even attempted, in a dress and heels, to climb through a window into a “closed door council meeting” discussing trans and gay rights. It wasn’t the only time she was arrested, fighting for inclusion.

Discouraged

Finally allowed to take part in the 1973 Gay Pride Parade. Officially, she could not speak. Outraged, she grabbed the mike and said, 

If it wasn’t for the drag queen, there would be no gay liberation movement. We’re the front-liners.” She was booed off the stage. 

Womenshistory.org

She fought for trans inclusion in the GAA’s campaign to pass New York City’s first gay rights bill. (It passed in 1986, disappointingly without including trans individuals’ rights.)

Discouraged by rampant discrimination, Rivera attempted suicide. Johnson brought her to the hospital and helped her get well. After that, Rivera left the city, her activism limited to low-key events in her area.

Return to Activism

Rivera returned to the city in 1992, after Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River. She and the gay rights movement (expanded to include trans and others) reconciled. In 1994, she honored in the 25th Anniversary Stonewall Inn march.

She started Transy House, modeled after STAR, in 1997. 

Her determination remained. “Before I die, I will see our community, given the respect we deserve. I’ll be damned if I’m going to my grave without having the respect this community deserves. I want to go to wherever I go with that in my soul and peacefully say I’ve finally overcome.” She continued working up to her death.

Death

With her partner, Julia Murray, at her side, Rivera died from complications of liver cancer at 50.

Legacy

Recognized after her death, Silvia Rivera has a street bearing her name near the Stonewall Inn in New York City. LGBT community organizations across the country and the world pay tribute to her.  In 2015, they hung Rivera’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., making her the first transgender activist to be included in the gallery. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) continues her work to secure the rights of gender non-conforming people. And the number of tributes continue to grow.

Rivera experienced abandonment, abuse, homelessness, drug addition, and incarceration. Poor, trans, a drag queen, a person of color, and former sex worker, she embodied “otherness” and fought discrimination her entire life. Metaphorically, she sat at the front of the bus and earned the honorific, the Rosa Parks of the Modern Trans movement.

What did you know about Silvia Rivera before reading this post?


Image Credits

First Image by Dramamonster at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Final image by Gotty, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Shifting Reality into Fiction

From the behavior of certain politicians to the war in Ukraine to the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade, the real world and the fictional world of The Fellowship Dystopia series are moving closer and closer together. When I started writing this series, it was fun shifting reality into fiction. Today, it appears we are shifting reality again. History became fiction and now fiction appears to be shifting into reality. You may see it too when you know the actual history that I shifted and sifted into a fictional world for my books, My Soul to Keep and If I Should Die.

Neutrality First

World War I, often called the Great War, began when a Bosnian Serb nationalist assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria, and his wife, Sophie, on June 28, 1914. Back then, most Americans believed the nation shouldn’t get involved in foreign affairs. They watched the conflict uneasily but weren’t concerned because the war was an ocean away. Then On May 7, 1915, an Imperial German Navy U-boat sent a torpedo into the passenger ship, the RMS Lusitânia, sinking it and killing 1,198 passengers, including 128 Americans.

Image is a black and white illustration of the passenger ship Lusitania being struck and destroyed by the U-boat torpedo an act shifting reality for many Americans

This unprovoked attack on civilians raised the concern of some Americans. In addition, news reports of atrocities perpetrated by Germans against Belgian civilians reached American papers. Some reports were accurate, some were exaggerated. They stirred anti-German sentiment in the United States. A sentiment that concerned President Woodrow Wilson, who believed the nation shouldn’t get involved.

On August 4, President Wilson gave a speech about how he felt the nation should react to the growing conflict in Europe.

The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men’s souls. We must be impartial in thought as well as in action…”

President Woodrow Wilson

The nation’s policy may have been neutrality, but that didn’t stop commerce. Over the next three years, American businesses and banks made huge loans to the Allies fighting the Germans.

As the war dragged on, it was clear that America would lose a lot of money if Europe lost the war with Germany.

The End of Neutrality

In January 1917, the British intercepted and decoded a telegram from the German Foreign Secretary sent to the German diplomatic representative in Mexico. It proposed a secret alliance between Mexico and Germany should the US enter the war. “The British passed the document to Washington, and it appeared on the front page of American newspapers” on March first.

During February and March 1917, the Germans resumed their aggressions at sea. German submarines sunk several US cargo vessels without warning.

On April 2, 1917, President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war. On the fourth, 82 of 88 U.S. Senators and 373 of 423 members of the House of Representatives voted to declare war.

The first US infantry troops landed in France on June 26, 1917. And so the U.S. entered the Great War.

The End of the Great War

Black and white photograph of Woodrow Wilson in tailed coat onboard a Navy ship on the way back from peace talks after the Great War ended shifting reality once again

World War I, the Great War, ended on November 11, 1918 (now called Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day in the U.S.)

Some experts estimate that military and civilian deaths on both sides combined reached 24 million people. Of those, about 117,000 were Americans. The numbers are arguable, but the fact is a massive number of people died and the property loss was tremendous.

Many veterans and survivors of the war suffered disabilities or were “shell shocked.

It should be no surprise that by the 1920s, many Americans swore their nation should never enter another foreign war.

In 1928, the United States signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war as a part of national policy.

The Isolationist Movement

Image of an orange flyer from an America First Rally scheduled for April 4, 1941

During the 1930s, the losses of the Great Depression (1929-1933) and the physical, mental, and emotional scars of the Great War visited most Americans. Many of them vehemently advocated non-involvement in European and Asian conflicts and international politics. Called Isolationists, they felt the US needed to focus on issues at home like rebuilding the nation’s economy. By 1941, they held America First Rally’s across the nation.

The Isolationists had historic precedence to bolster their position. America’s founding fathers saw the ocean separating them from Europe as an ideal situation to create a new nation. Even President George Washington had advocated for non-involvement in European wars and politics.

The Isolationists also had the support of many powerful Americans. Pilot Charles Lindbergh strongly and vocally supported isolationism. Former Presidents Herbert Hoover and James Monroe each voiced support for isolationism. As the Isolationist movement grew, another movement was sweeping through America.

The Third Great Awakening

The Third Great Awakening (1850-1920s) was a period of religious activism in America. Dwight Moody (1837-1899), Billy Sunday (1862-1935), and Father Charles Coughlin (1891-1979) were some of the major players.

During his 1932 bid for the presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt welcomed Father Coughlin’s support and influence over urban Catholics. But Father Coughlin soured on FDR after the president did not give Coughlin a position on the president’s cabinet.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and Dachau, the first concentration camp, opened.

FDR worried about the rise of fascism and totalitarianism and wanted the US to be more involved in Europe and Japan. Most Americans were overwhelmingly against such action.

In 1935, Congress passed the first of a series of neutrality acts to protect the United States from world problems.

Father Coughlin began expressing anti-capitalist, anti-banker, anti-Wall Street, and anti-Semitic views. He blamed those ‘forces’ for America’s entry into World War I and worried those same forces would involve America in the turmoil in Europe.

Shifting Reality to Create a Fictional World

In the Fellowship Dystopia’s history, Giuseppe Zangara assassinates FDR before he can take office. This empowers the Isolationists and the Third Awakening. They join and become a religious-political machine, the Fellowship.

In tents and on the streets, a preacher’s sermons are full of the message that the Great Depression is punishment for America’s sins. People desperate for relief flock to his revival tents. The Fellowship seizes the idea and opportunity. They declare the preacher a prophet and “the way” to peace and prosperity. The Fellowship becomes a source of solace, a source of rules guaranteed to bring relief. With each passing year, more and more laws remove the people’s power and freedom.

America never enters World War II. Europe struggles valiantly, but the Federation of Germany assumes power. Japan rules Asia and the Pacific. And in America, the Fellowship and its Councilors grow more and more powerful.

Miranda, daughter of America’s premier preacher-politician, lives a charmed life as one of the Fellowship’s elite. Until she faces a life that will rob her of all rights.

The story of the Fellowship Dystopia is a story of a fight against tyranny in all its forms. The fight isn’t easy. It ranges from tiny and very personal to national to global. Miranda’s fight starts small and grows in My Soul to Keep. But it frightens her, so she chooses another path and in If I Should Die, events force her to choose different paths. And every path is a test that costs her dearly.

Pre-order If I Should Die now.

And The World Goes Round

At first, the changes in American sentiment over the past handful of years surprised me. I was shocked by how we seem to be on the way to creating a theocracy in reality. Reviewing my notes, reviewing our actual history… I am no longer surprised. I am saddened that we can’t seem to learn lessons bought with blood and tears.

The Pendulum Swings

To anyone who studies history, it is apparent that human behavior and belief systems, especially political ones, swing from one extreme to the other. It’s a pattern we follow to the detriment of us all.

Perhaps that’s where we are in today’s shifting reality. Perhaps we’re being tested. Will we pass these tests?

What choice will our nation make? What choice will you make?

Image Credits
  1. Illustration of a torpedo hitting the Lusitania: Winsor McCay, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  2. Front page of newspaper, Houston Post, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. President Woodrow Wilson on Navy ship: Naval History & Heritage Command, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  4. Flyer for 1941 America First Rally: America First Committee, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
  5. Father Coughlin on Time Magazine Image: Keystone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Rebel Soldier, Spy, or Swindler

Loreta Velázquez, aka Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, recorded her adventures in a 600-page book, The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velázquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army. Her book weaves a fantastic story of deception and danger. Is it fact or fiction? Was she a rebel soldier, a spy, or swindler?

black and white side by side images of Loreta Juneta Velazquez on the left  as Confederate soldier Harry T. Buford and on the right as herself.

Early Life

Born in Havana, Cuba on June 26, 1842, her father was a wealthy Cuban official and her mother was French American. Loreta was the youngest of their six children.

Her father resigned his position in Cuba when she was two and moved the family to Texas, which was part of the republic of Mexico. In 1846, the Mexican-American war began. Her father shipped the family to the West Indies, joined the Mexican military, and fought against the Americans. The United States won the war in 1848. The treaty between the two countries cede the Velázquez land to the U.S. 

Loreta’s father moved the family to Puerto de Palmas in Mexico. He made a fortune in the sugar, tobacco, and coffee trades there. 

Education

Tutored by an English governess, Loreta was sent to live with her aunt and study in New Orleans. There she learned all the skills expected of a young woman of her class. She wanted more. She loved stories of heroism and dreamed of being a grand hero like Joan of Arc. 

Marriage

Her father held a deep resentment toward the United States after the Mexican-American war. This animosity grew to estrangement when fourteen-year-old Loreta avoided a “marriage of convenience” by eloping with John Williams, a United States Army soldier from Texas. Initially, she continued to live with her aunt in New Orleans. After she and her aunt quarreled, Loreta joined her husband as he moved from post to post. 

She and her husband had three children who died in infancy. Loreta’s desire for a life of glory and heroism grew. 

The Civil War

In her book, Loreta claims her husband resigned his U.S. Army commission and joined the Confederate Army. Loreta wanted to dress as a man and enlist. She tried to convince her husband to help her. He included her, disguised as a male, on a guys-night-out, certain their behavior would dissuade her. She didn’t change her mind. When he wouldn’t help her enlist, she waited for him to leave for the front.

After he left, Loreta got two uniforms, became Harry T. Buford and moved to Arkansas. In four days, she recruited more than 200 men, then presented them to her husband in Pensacola, Florida as her command. Her accomplishment impressed her husband enough he let her stay with him in disguise.

Soldier

Her husband died in an accident a short while later. Rather than stay in Pensacola, Loreta traveled with some of her husband’s friends to Virginia. The First Battle of Bull Run was her first combat experience. A few months later, she also fought at the Battle at Ball’s Bluff. Her Confederate friends inflicted so much violence on the retreating Union soldiers it horrified her. 

Spy

Later, she gave up her disguise and made her way to Washington, D.C. She knew no one would suspect a woman of being a Confederate spy and found her late husband’s former Army friend. Through him, she learned military secrets that she passed on to the Confederate Army.

Black and white image of a woman in a bustle dress, standing beside a cloth covered table, reading a document, while holding a broom is she a rebel soldier, spy, or swindler.

Later she fought at the siege of Fort Donelson in Tennessee until the surrender. She received a wound in the battle, but she kept her true identity hidden. 

She went to New Orleans, where the authorities arrested her as a suspected Union spy. After they released her, she enlisted to get away from the city. After the battle at Shiloh, she helped bury the dead and a stray shell hit her. An army doctor examined her and discovered she was a woman. 

Writer

After the war, Loreta reconnected with one of her brothers and toured Europe and South America with him and his family. 

Sometime later, she moved back to the United States. She married two more times and gave birth to a son. The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velázquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army was published in 1876. Loreta claimed she wrote her memoirs to support herself and her son. 

Book cover the The reprint of The Woman in Battle has the effect of two identical covers torn on an angle and revealing the top half to be cream and brown with a central red seal and the bottom half being a green and gold cover with a gold and green seal.

Truth or Fiction

Soon after its publication, “former Confederate General Jubal Early denounced the book as an obvious fiction.” (Note: I could not discover whether he was supposed to have been her commander.) To date, they have found no historical records to confirm Loreta’s story. One reference cites a newspaper report that mentions a Lieutenant Bensford arrested and discovered to be a woman who gave her name as Alice Williams, an alias attributed to Loreta. 

Even the death of Loreta Janeta Velázquez remains a mystery. Some claim she died in 1923. Historian Richard Hall states her death is unknown. William C. Davis claims Loreta was not Cuban or a Confederate soldier, but was a thief, a swindler, a con artist, and a prostitute. He says she died as Loretta J. Beard on January 26, 1923 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the Insane, Washington, D.C. 

Rebel Soldier, Spy or Swindler

We know from various diaries and records that many women joined their husbands and brothers on the battlefield during the Civil War. Medical exams to enter the military were brief and incomplete. Many soldiers were young, with high-pitched voices and smooth cheeks. It’s possible there were many women on the battlefield who escaped detection. Was Loreta Janeta Velázquez one of them? Was she a rebel soldier, spy, or swindler, or all three? We may never know. 

Do you think former Confederate General Jubal Early could have denied Loreta’s story to save himself from the shame of never knowing a woman served under him? 

Sources:

NY History

Wikipedia

KCPT PBS Learning Media

Image Credits

Top image by Jeremiah Rea of Philadelphia, Engraver, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Second image Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Third image Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrate Women of History

I love to write about fictional characters whose story challenges them to figure out what they are and who they can be. They can be heroes or villains. But I find inspiration for fictional characters from real-life heroes. On this blog I feature brief histories of women whose accomplishments history ignored for many years. Women who were heroes, big (nationwide or worldwide) or small (in their own community). Today, we’re revisiting a few of those histories and celebrating women of history. 


Cover of Resistance, the story of Agnes Humbert, shows a bridge with WWII barbed wire fences in the foreground . We celebrate women of history to remember the strength of women like Agnes this month.

Agnes Humbert

Agnes was an art historian in Paris during WWII. The book about Agnes tells about her life in the days before the Germans occupied her city through her decision to resist, to being betrayed and arrested, and details her life in a concentration camp. 

Dorothy Cotton

Dorothy (January 5, 1930–June 10, 2018) was born at the beginning of the depression. No one could have predicted the woman she became. Nonviolent, she made a difference in the U.S. civil rights movement and in the world.

Celebrate Women of history means remembering women like Lydia Maria Child in this old black and white photo of her sitting on a porch, one elbow propped on the railing while she reads a book.

Lydia Maria Child

One of the most influential American women writers from the 1820s through the 1860s, she was a prolific author, a literary pioneer, and a tireless crusader and champion for America’s excluded groups. With words, she made a difference. 

Molly Brant

Brant (1736-1796) was an influential Mohawk woman in the American Revolution. A Loyalist, a spy, diplomat, and a clan matron, Brant straddled two worlds. But she kept her native heritage in her speech and dress throughout her entire life.

Huda Shaarawi

She threw off her veil and changed the world. Huda Shaarawi (pronunciation) grew up in a harem and became Egypt’s leading women’s rights activist. Also, a philanthropist and founder of the first Egyptian feminist organization, Huda’s defiance still influences the world today.


Women hold up half the sky, yet women across the world still get little recognition for their accomplishments. Most especially those whose accomplishments are small. The housewife, the mother, the office cleaner all deserve recognition for their role in making this world a better place. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed and found inspiration in this glimpse of the strong women featured on this blog. Let’s celebrate women of history and women of today all year. 

Image Credits

First image is the paperback book cover of Résistance by Agnès Humbert available on Amazon.com

Second photo is a public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Third photo is Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Tenth Muse

Celebrating Women’s History month, we’re exploring female writers, authors, poets. We’ll start with one of the earliest known female poet and songwriter. A woman whose work was widely quoted and revered by her male successors. It is said that Plato called Sappho the tenth muse.

A bust of Sappho with her hair in tight curls around her face and two long loose curls draped over each shoulder.

We know little about her, but there are many legends and stories that claim to know details. Scholars disagree and sometimes facts put those stories in dispute.

Her Life

Sappho was born on the Greek island of Lesbos in 620 BCE, to a wealthy, aristocratic family. Since Lesbos’s primary export was wine, it’s likely her family were vintners.

Women in Ancient Greece were bound by the customs and traditions of their city-states. So although some scholars believe she was a woman of leisure, her wealth did not protect her from the expectations of her family and society. We know through her poetry that she learned to play the lyre, and that she composed lyrics for single voices. Surviving fragments of her poetry refer to two brothers. She may have had a third brother.

She lived most of her life in her hometown of Mytilene on Lesbos.  

The Legend

Some scholars believe she married a wealthy man, Cercylas, a wealthy man from the island of Andros. Her poetry also mentioned a daughter. 

She may have run a school for unmarried women. Or she could be confused with another ancient Greek woman who ran such a school.

Several different tyrants ran Athens during Sappho’s lifetime. It is possible she lived in exile in Athens for a time. Exactly why and when is unclear. Speculation is that she may have gotten too political in her writing.

There is a legend that she leaped from the Leucadian rock to certain death in the sea because of her unrequited love of Phaon, a younger man and a sailor. Most critics today believe that story is simply a legend. Scholars believe she died in the year 579 b.c.e.

Photograph of the profile of "the Oxford Bust" of Sappho, the tenth muse. It has the head and torso coming from different statues, probably put together by a sculptor in the 1600s.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Her Work

We don’t know who published her work. Nor do we know how long they published her work. We don’t know whether she refined an existent meter of poetry or she created her own. Today we call it a “Sapphic” stanza.

Her poems depart from the tradition of her time. They do not address the gods. Rather, her verses are personal, spoken from one person to another. They simple, direct, and convey the bittersweet difficulties of love. Read a sample.

Some say that Plato (born in 428 b.c.e.) called her the “Tenth muse,” though other scholars claim it is unlikely it was Plato. We know they admired her for centuries because coins and statutes and busts with her likeness and name survived to this day.  

Her Legacy

Based on ancient writings, scholars believe someone collected her work into nine volumes in the third century B.C. Scholars discovered her through quotations by other ancient authors. In 1898, scholars unearthed fragments of papyri with her poems on them. Archeologists discovered more scraps of her poetry in Egypt in 1914. 

The New Comedy was a style of Greek drama introduced in the middle of the third century BC. Where old comedy parodied public figures and included supernatural or heroic bits, New Comedy were not realistic plays but conveyed “the disillusioned spirit and moral ambiguity of the bourgeois class of this period.” The writers of the New Comedy portrayed Sappho as “overly promiscuous and lesbian.” They convinced Pope Gregory who burned all her works in 1073. (The term “lesbian” is derived from the island of her birth).

We’ve discovered only one intact poem traced to her. The French translation is below.

Photograph of the French translation of "an ode of Sapho." The only surviving poem attributed to the tenth muse.

The Tenth Muse

Not only is Sappho one of the earliest female writers known to us, her life is an example of how we can misjudge the bits and pieces of a life that survives the person.

If the scholars can’t agree, how can we think we got it right?

As my women in history posts often reflect, women’s contributions to history are often ignored or misconstrued. Would they have judged her work differently if she were male? If the New Comedy writers hadn’t satirized her, would we enjoy her lyrics today?

Her writing could reflect who she was or who she knew or what she saw in society. Scholars will jump to conclusions, but we will never know the truth about the tenth muse.

Image Credits

First Image is by G41rn8, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Second Image is by Harrsch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Last image is by Anonymous, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons