You Wouldn’t Be Here Without Them

As March, Women’s History Month, comes to a close in a few more days. Let’s take a moment to honor women of history one more time. Only this time we’re not talking about women who made notable history. We’re talking about the women who had the strength to get through the next day after the next. You wouldn’t be here without them. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall Who Were They? It doesn’t matter that we know few if any of these names. They were mothers and grandmothers and aunts and cousins and sisters and daughters. Most of these women passed through the world with little fanfare. What They Did They may have invented new methods for their daily work. Perhaps they created art or stories or music. They did what they had to do, what needed to be done, and if they were lucky, a little of what they wanted to do. And while a son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, may remember these things for a generation or two, they are mostly forgotten. These are the women who changed the world. They […]

30 Amazing Women You Never Heard Of

In four short weeks, I can’t begin to honor all the women who should be honored during Women’s History Month. But I’m fascinated to learn about women who’ve dared to be different or make a difference. Here are 30 amazing women you never heard of–at least not in school: Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị  1 – 43 Vietnam Chose 36 women to be generals and successfully drove the Chinese out in 40 A.D. Trắc became queen, abolishing tribute taxes and attempted to revert back to a simpler government. Hypatia of Alexandria 355 – 415 EGYPT An unwed Pagan woman who taught astronomy and mathematics from her home and was a philosopher of the Neoplatonic school. Fatima Al-Fihri 800 – 880 Kairouan, Abbasid Caliphate (Moracco) Founded the world’s oldest continually operating, degree-granting university, the University of Al Qarawiyyin. Tomoe Gozen 1157-1247 Japan A legendary 12th century samurai warrior noted for being a skilled archer, often referred to as a “warrior worth a thousand.” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz  1651–1695 Mexico Credited as the first published feminist of the New World. Sybil Ludington  1761 – 1839 U.S.A. Riding twice the distance, perhaps she should have been remembered in poem and song instead […]

Hoofing it for the Love of Books

For $28 a month, these librarians loaded books and magazines into saddlebags or pillowcases. They climbed on a horse or mule and rode through the mountains of eastern Kentucky. This was the Packhorse Library project. They were hoofing it for the love of books, to help their community and combat illiteracy. The History of Horse & Books May Stafford, a Kentuckian, raised money in 1913 to take books to rural people on horseback. That program lasted one year. Berea College sponsored a horse-drawn book wagon. The book wagon operated in the late teens and early 1920s. After that, the mountain people had no access to libraries and the books provided there. The Great Depression began in 1929. There was no work. No money. The mountain people of eastern Kentucky suffered. By 1933 the unemployment rate in the Appalachians was 40%. The New Deal President Roosevelt’s New Deal created The Works Progress Administration (WPA). Its function was to create jobs for men (usually unskilled). The President’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, knew many women were the heads of households. She encouraged the creation of WPA projects that would benefit women and children. She knew women would respond best to projects that supported their […]