Mary Bethune

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune  1875 – 1955 The colors of the portrait are inspired by Alice Neel’s Woman in a Pink Hat. Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist. Bethune founded the National Council for Negro Women in 1935, established the organization’s flagship journal Aframerican Women’s Journal, and resided as president or leader… Continue reading Mary Bethune

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman    1822 – 1913 Harriet Tubman was known as the “Moses of her people”. After escaping slavery, she helped others gain their freedom as a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Tubman also served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She lead a Civil… Continue reading Harriet Tubman

Polly Jackson

Polly Jackson birth and death unknown, lived in 1880’s Polly Jackson was an African-American resident of Ripley, Ohio. According to legend, she fought off slave catchers with a kettle of hot water and a butcher knife.

Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis 1844 – 1907 Lewis was the first professional African-American sculptor. Her brother financed her schooling at Oberlin College. While there, she was accused of poisoning two of her white roommates. She was acquitted of the charge but also severely beaten by white vigilantes. Subsequently accused of stealing art supplies, she was not permitted… Continue reading Edmonia Lewis

Carlotta Stewart Lai

Carlotta Stewart Lai 1881 –1952 Lai was an educator and administrator in the Hawaiian public schools for four decades and the first African American school principal in Honolulu.  She worked as a teacher and educational leader at a time when these occupations were largely closed to African Americans on the U. S. mainland, and she achieved professional success… Continue reading Carlotta Stewart Lai

Recy Taylor

Recy Taylor, 1919-2017 Taylor’s refusal to remain silent about a brutal rape she suffered led to her organizing in the African-American community on behalf of justice and civil rights. The crime was perpetrated by white men who were not charged despite the fact that they confessed to their crime. Two grand juries subsequently declined to… Continue reading Recy Taylor