Rising to Stage and Film Fame Despite Racism and Red Baiting
Gertrude Jeannette was a true trailblazer as the first woman to get a motorcycle license in Manhattan and The Big Apple’s first licensed female cabdriver. Perhaps her more important accomplishments were as an actor, director and playwright who mentored a generation of Black actors in New York. But none of that would have happened were it not for a persistent childhood stutter and a man named Joe Jeannette who loved to dance.
A Little Known Advocate Who Ran Federal Programs Feeding Hundred of Millions
You probably don’t know her name. But one female economist has been feeding America for decades. From the “Penny Milk Program” of the 1940s to today’s Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP), Isabelle Kelley made it her mission to see that the poorest of Americans did not go to bed hungry.
She Helped Pave the Way for Black Cooks and Writers
Being a historic foodways researcher, I think of Amelia Simmons, Hannah Glasse, Eliza Leslie and Mary Randolph as old friends. It took chef and culinary historian Michael Twitty’s book, The Cooking Gene, to introduce me to Malinda Russell. Far more than just a collection of recipes, Russell’s slim volume sheds light on the history, culture and power structure of her time.
Rescued Chinatown Sex Slaves in Turn of the Century San Francisco
Standing just over four feet tall, she was nicknamed “Tiny.” But when it came to character, compassion, and her dedication to civil rights and women’s rights, there was nothing small about Tye Leung Schulze.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley wasn’t born to greatness. She was born the daughter of an enslaved woman on a Virginia plantation. Sent to North Carolina, where she was repeatedly beaten and whipped in an effort to break her spirit. Given to a white merchant who used her as his concubine and raped her for four years. Pregnant at age 20. Not exactly the makings of a success story.