5 Women You Should Know From History
In the spirit of National Women's Month, I wanted to share some of the women we don't get to hear about often. These are women who inspired others to be different, take a step out of what others considered as normal, and set a higher standard for women all over the world.
Henrietta Lacks, The Immortal Woman: (1920-1951)
According to Refinery29, "Lacks was a 30-year-old farmer and mother of five who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. While she was being treated at John's Hopkins, a sample of cancerous cells was taken form her cervix without her consent." Upon examining the cells researches found that her cells wouldn't die which is how she got the nickname "The Immortal woman.
Her cells would go on to be used in the development of vaccines, in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping.
Refinery29 also reports that finally in 2013, the "National Institute of Health signed an agreement to protect the family’s privacy and acknowledge them in future publications" and acknowledge her contribution to biomedical research 62 years after her died.
Coretta Scott King, "First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement"
You know the man Martin Luther King, Jr. and you know what he stood for and what he did for our history, but do you know his wife? According to Excutive Women, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Coretta continued the fight for civil rights. She took control of the movement and started to push the Women's Movement and also the LGBT rights movement.
Executive Women also report that Coretta Scott King founded the King Center and "succeeded with Ronald Reagan's signing of the legislation legalizing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day".
Grace Hopper, Rear Admiral "Amazing Grace" (1906-1992)
According to Refinery29, during World War 2, Grace Hopper enlisted into the Navy by barely making the age cut at 37 years old. She was a professor at the time who got her Ph.D in mathematics from Yale. During her time in the Navy she worked at Harvard, where she helped program the Mark I. The Mark I is the first computer in the country.
She also created the term "debug" after she joked about a moth flew into the Mark II and causing it to shorted out.
She also created the first compiler and helped develop the COBOL programming language. Refinery29 also mentions that in 1983 was promoted to Rear Admiral (Lower Half). At the age of 79 she became the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the Navy.
Sayyida Al Hurra, The 16th Century Islamic Pirate Queen
According to Mental Floss, her real name is unknown, but her title "Sayyida Al Hurra" translates to "noble lady who is free and independent; the woman sovereign who bows to no superior authority."
Records of her pretty unbelievable. She did so many things!
She was both the governor of the city of Tétouan in Northern Morocco and a legendary pirate who ruled much of the western Mediterranean Sea for nearly 30 years, wreaking havoc on Spanish and Portuguese ships between 1515 and 1542, according to Mental Floss.
Lozen, "The Apache Joan of Arc" ( -1887)
According to Mashable, "This Native American warrior was a Chihenne Chiricahua Apache medicine woman, a skilled fighter and strategist on the battlefield, the sister of a prominent Apache chief and ally to the famous Geronimo."
With the U.S. government growing and starting to spread across the entire country. Lozen and her tribe had to defend their land. She was later forced to live on a reservation after half of her people died off from disease and from the run ins with the U.S. and Mexican armies that had taken over the surrounding lands.
One of the craziest legends about Lozen is that she delivered a baby "in the middle of the desert while U.S. cavalry was chasing after their tribe," according to Mashable. Isn't that insane!
Mashable also reported that Lozen found her end "after the raids, Lozen spent six years with another famous Apache leader, Geronimo, until he surrendered to the U.S. government in 1885." She was imprisoned by the military in Alabama along with other Apache leaders. This is where she died from tuberculosis in 1887.
We don't hear about women like this as much as we should. These are women that shaped our world and our lives one way or another. They were the women who didn't let others hold them back. I hope that we can look back on women like the 5 listed here and strive for greatness within ourselves.