Happy Women’s History Month babes! We wanted to share just a few of the many influential women in history. Whether through arts, social issues, or even royalty, these ladies are pretty badass and have made an impact on women’s history.
An international icon, Princess Diana was most noted for her ability to be genuine and humble with whomever she approached. Diana’s charity work surrounded numerous issues, included but was not limited to: homelessness, mental health, HIV/AIDS, cancer, children's hospitals. Princess Diana was the first British royal figure to work with AIDS patients in the 80s and was even discouraged from doing so by the Queen. Princess Diana went as far as to say, “ HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it. What’s more, you can shake their homes, their playgrounds, and toys” (The Telegraph). Her work lead to helping destigmatize HIV/AIDS and has been honored with numerous awards. Unfortunately, Princess Diana passed on August 31st, 1997 after being in a devastating car crash. Her life was cut short and many people to this day still remember her and her activism.
An author, activist, dancer, singer, and scholar, Maya Angelou has done it all. Maya Angelou was the first black woman to write a nonfiction bestseller. Maya has numerous awards and honors, as well as a large influence in education. Her accomplishments and civil rights activism succeed anything we could condense into a blog post. Her largest accomplishment would be her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) which tells her biography in vivid poetic description up to the age of 17. The book has been used in schools across the world and even was considered to be a “banned” book due to its heavy discussion on Maya suffering from sexual assault at a young age. This book would go on to be considered a literary classic and a part of American Literature. Maya didn't stop there, as her later books would center on themes of racism, identity, family, and travel. Her list of honors is a lengthy one, including winning three Grammys for her spoken word albums. Maya died on May 28th, 2014 but her legacy lives on. In January 2022, it was announced that she will be among the first women and the first black woman to be depicted on a quarter.
With a career that spanned seven decades, Betty White was the first woman to produce a sitcom, and in 1995, was named honorary mayor of Hollywood. White’s career as an actress/comedian was influential in history on and off the big screen. In 1954, Arthur Duncan, a tap dancer, and entertainer was a regular performer on The Betty White Show. Despite backlash due to Duncan being African American, Betty White was very vocal about him staying - making him the first African-American regular on a variety television program. Betty White was also an avid animal rights activist and supporter and advocate of LGBT rights. Betty White would have been 100 years old in 2022 but sadly she passed on December 31st, 2021. We will always thank her for being a friend.
Marsha P. Johnson
An activist, sex worker, and drag performer for almost three decades, Marsha was a transgender pioneer and an important figure in the gay liberation movement at the Stonewall Inn. A model for Andy Warhol, she battled severe mental illness and was homeless for much of her life. Marsha and her friend Sylvia Rivera founded Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to provide support and resources for others in NYC facing the struggles of an unaccepting society (YakimaPride.Org). Her activism was not largely mentioned in the media at the time but has made a resurgance over the past few years. Though Marsha passed away in 1992, she has since become to be considered as an influential person for the LGBTQ+ community. Marsha P. Johnson’s impact is something we hope continues to be discussed and mentioned when looking at women’s history, but specifically when looking at black and LGBTQ+ history. Her strength and fierceness left an impact that will be discussed for decades. For more information on Marsha P. Johnson, please refer to the following article on OurStreetsNow.Org.