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Four influential Black women activists who’ve made an impact on America today –
Credit: The Resilient Sisterhood Project
Fannie Lou Hammer
Fannie Lou Hammer worked hard to give Black people the right to gain economic freedom. She started the “pig bank” that allowed Blacks to obtain pigs, which they could profit from. The pigs can be used for slaughter, breed, or sell, but her activism for the advancement of Black people didn’t stop there. She also purchased land for Black farmers to raise their pigs or other farm animals with the Freedom Farm Collective.
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells was a Black journalist who used her talent to communicate the disparities Black people faced in America. Wells traveled around the country to fight against racism and lynching, she fought for Black people’s right to vote, and more. She published a pamphlet with evidence of racist white people aggressively attacking and killing Black people. She also fought for women’s rights and founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Club in order to create a safe environment for Black women.
Sojourner Truth is known for her speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” which illustrates racial inequalities in America as a Black woman. She was a woman of many things, she fought for police reform, property rights, and the abolition of slavery.
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.
Pauli Murray was a civil rights activist and lawyer, she helped fight for the rights and treatment of Black women in America. She is also famously known for her fight for Blacks to be able to receive the same educational value as whites. She wrote,” States’ Laws on Race and Color,” which is popularly known as the ‘Bible’ for civil rights lawyers. The book was so impactful, it helped the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case and challenged segregation laws.
These are just a few of the many Black women who’ve fought for the rights of both Black women and men.
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