We March for Her, Part Two

If you missed Part One, start here.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a writer, ecologist, and scientist who called for drastic changes in the way humankind interacted and viewed the natural world. Rachel was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her love for nature was cultivated at an early age and she would eventually study marine biology, graduating from Johns Hopkins University with an MA in zoology in 1932. Rachel originally wrote books and pamphlets on marine life and conservation, working for the U.S. Bureau of Fish and Wildlife. Her books such as The Sea Around Us (1952) and The Edge of the Sea (1955) both won awards and became quite popular, encouraging her to leave her government job and become a full time writer. Her book Silent Spring, written in 1962, completely changed the way people thought about pesticides. She was called an alarmist by some, but courageous by others. A year before she passed away from breast cancer in 1963, Rachel testified before congress calling for better policies to protect human health and the earth. We march for her.

For more information on Rachel Carson’s life and a complete list of her works click here.

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an author and the first black female congresswomen of the United States. Shirley was born on November 30th, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY. She spent some of her childhood in Barbados with her grandmother and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946. She began teaching and went on to get her MA in elementary education from Columbia University. Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first black female congresswoman of the United States. She went on to serve seven terms, representing the state of New York. She fought for education and employment opportunities, as well as authoring two books: Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973). Shirley shattered glass ceilings and even had a presidential run in 1972. She passed away in 1980 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015. We march for her.

Read more about Shirley Chisholm here.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis is an academic scholar, author, and political activist. Angela was born on January 26th, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager in Alabama, she formed interracial study groups that were targeted and broken up by the police. She also grew up with several of the girls killed in the Birmingham Church Bombing of 1963. Davis moved to Massachusetts to attend college, continuing on to San Diego as a graduate student.  In San Diego she joined the Black Panther Party, and the all-black branch of the communist party, the Che-Lemumba Club. Davis began teaching at UCLA, but ran into trouble because of her political ties. She spent 18 months in jail after being charged with aiding a prison escape, but was acquitted after it was found she had nothing to do with the escape. She has authored five books including Angela Davis; an Autobiography (1974) and Women, Race, and Class (1983). Davis ran on the Communist Party ticket as Vice President in 1980 and 1984. She has been an outspoken activist for the abolition of the current prison system, calling it the new form of slavery in the United States. She is currently the Professor Emeritus of History and Consciousness and Feminist Studies at University of California at Santa Cruz, and continues to be an activist and lecturer. We march for her.

For more information on Angela Davis’ life and a complete list of her works click here.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a pioneer for transgender activism. Born on the southside of Chicago on October 25th, 1940, Major came out to her parents at the age of twelve. She began taking hormones and eventually moved to New York City. Miss Major and other transgender women were a major factor in the Stonewall riots in NYC, but transgender participation has been erased from its history and credit has been given primarily to white, gay men. Miss Major became an activist after a friend was murdered and the police refused to investigate, reporting the death a suicide. Miss Major moved to San Francisco and took on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, eventually forming the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center in the 1990s. Miss Major was an advocate for transgender rights in the prison system helping women upon release and exposing the injustices they faced while incarcerated. In 2003, Miss Major joined the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project and later became the executive director. She is a fierce advocate in her community, a ray of hope for transgender women of color, and is lovingly referred to as both Mama and Grandma Major. We march for her.

Read more about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy here

LaDonna Harris

LaDonna Harris is a Comanche Native American social activist and politician. LaDonna was raised during the Great Depression and watched as her people faced huge cultural upheavals including land allotments, boarding schools, and urban relocation programs. After marrying an up-and-coming politician, Fred Harris, LaDonna began dipping her toes into activism. She was rejected by the Junior League of Oklahoma for her Comanche heritage and decided to form the national organization Americans for Indian Opportunity. She moved to Washington DC and was invited to the Oval Office by Lyndon B Johnson and immediately started teaching a series to members of congress called “Indian 101;” this series would last over 30 years. LaDonna spent her time working tirelessly to return land to native nations, helping tribes gain national recognition, forming the National Women’s Political Caucus and National Urban Coalition, and even ran for vice president on the Citizens Party ticket. LaDonna currently works to bring young professional Native Americans to the capital to be ambassadors for their nation. We march for her.

To watch a PBS documentary on her life and read more about LaDonna Harris, click here.