Malala Yousafzai is best known as the girl who got shot for going to school. She was a campaigner for getting better access to education for girls. On October 9th, 2012, Yousafazi was shot in the head, neck, and shoulder by a Taliban gunman as she was on her way home from school. According to reports, she was targeted for her campaigning. She would receive medical treatment in Birmingham and would also attend the all-girl school Edgbaston High-School. Yousafazi is also the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of 22, Yousafazi graduated with her degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University.
Queen Nanny is the only recognized female National hero in Jamaica’s history and she is also on the country’s $500 bill. Queen Nanny lived in Jamaica during the 18th century and was a member of the Windward/Eastern Maroons, a community of resistors. This community was able to escape the brutal enslavement on sugarcane plantations owned by the British. According to history, Nanny used intellect as well as physical means against the enemy. Queen Nanny is considered to be a warrior and is a prominent figure in history.
Mary McLeod Bethune was a woman who wore many hats. She was an educator, a public policy advisor, public health advocate, an educator, as well as one of the earliest black female activists. As a child, Bethune was a very bright student and it was in school where she became inspired by the philosophy of “female uplift”. In 1904, she founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls. Then in 1923, she successfully merged her school in Daytona with the Cookman Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. Once they joined together, they created the coeducational four-year Bethune-Cookman College.
Ms.Bethune was a highly respected leader in Black education and Black women’s clubs. Bethune used her platform for the betterment of life for African Americans.
Patsy Mink has made history. She was the first non-white and first Asian American woman to serve in Congress. She spent 12 terms there where she would fight against gender and racial discrimination. Mink once said, “We have to build things that we want to see accomplished, in life and in our country, based on our personal experiences… to make sure that others… do not have to suffer the same discrimination.” In 1972, she became the first Asian American to run for president, where she received more than 500 votes in the Oregon primary election. Patsy Mink has paved the way for many other women to come after her.
Julia de Burgos was a poet from Puerto Rico who stood for Puerto Rican nationalism and identity through her writing. In 1938, at the age of 24, she published her first collection of poems called “Poema en veinte surcos” (Poem in Twenty Furrows). De Burgos’s poems and literary pieces of work centered around the themes of feminism, Blackness, migration, love, and more. Her writings helped birth the 1960s Nuyorican movement. Years after her death, writer Jack Agueros translated over 200 of her poems into English. Listen to one of them below.