Recruited to Solve a Critical Shortage, She Helped Elevate the Status and Role of U.S. Military Nurses
As wars go, the Spanish-American War gets very little attention. But black women hired as nurses during what some called the “splendid little war” get even less. So you’re excused if you’ve never heard of a woman with the unusual name Namahyoke “Namah” Sockum Curtis, and her role in the Spanish-American War.
A Refrigeration Pioneer Who Surmounted Gender Barriers to Revolutionize The Way Food is Shipped, Stored and Sold
For most women, being dubbed America’s “Ice Woman” would be cringe-worthy at best. But Mary Pennington, whose pioneering work in storing, shipping, refrigerating and flash-freezing perishable foods revolutionized America’s food supply, wore it as a well-deserved badge of honor.
Maybe it’s the decadence of a double-chocolate Milano. Or those buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Chessmen. Or the handful of Goldfish (“the snack that smiles back”) a harried mom throws into a Ziploc bag on the way out the door with her little ones. Pepperidge Farm has been America’s bakery for generations. But did you know it all started with a housewife, a sickly little boy and a stately tree on a Connecticut farm?
You might not know her name, but Charlotta Spears Bass was a major badass. She fought the Ku Klux Klan and won. Was the first black woman to run for vice president. And, at the ripe old age of 91, was under surveillance by the FBI.
When it came to spiritualists and séances, Rose Mackenberg, a savvy, no-nonsense Brooklyn private eye, once said, “I smell a rat before I smell the incense.” In the early 20th century, she became a star investigator for escape artist and magician Harry Houdini, who spent the last portion of his own career debunking psychics and séances.
In 1903 in Richmond, Virginia, Maggie Lena Walker knocked the banking industry on its ear. She founded and became president of a bank, making her the first female bank president in the history of the United States. In an age when the financial services industry was captained by wealthy white men, her achievement was even more noteworthy given that Walker was the daughter of two former slaves.