“It was Franklin’s photographic skills that made the discovery possible.She could take photographs of crystals… and interpret the patterns…a particular genius at aligning hand and mind.” – Brenda Maddox on Rosalind Franklin, Author of Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA
(1920-1958) Dr. Rosalind Franklin was a British scientist with notable recognitions, the most famous of which was her X-ray crystallography images of DNA. Together with James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins, they discovered the building block of life in 1953. The three men shared a Nobel Prize in 1962, an award that cannot be claimed posthumously. Dr. Franklin succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1958 at the young age of 37.
Sources: NPR, NIH, and PBS
“All of us have to recognize that we owe our children more than we have been giving them.” – Hillary Clinton
(1947- ) Hillary Rodham Clinton served as First Lady during her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency from 1992-2000. She then served as a U.S. Senator representing the state of New York from 2001-2009. Currently, she is the Secretary of State as part of the Obama Administration. Secretary Clinton came very close to being the nation’s first female presidential nominee in 2008, losing in the Democratic primaries to then Senator Barack Obama.
Source: The Department of State
“Is this America where we have to sleep with our phones off the hooks because we be threatened daily just cause we want to register to vote to become first class citizens?” – Fannie Lou Hamer
(1917-1977) Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist, with an emphasis on voting rights. Despite failures in actions she took, Hamer continued to work for things in which she truly believed. For instance, at the age of 37, Hamer joined the the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, working to teach African-Americans how to read and write so they could register to vote. As a result, 17 African-Americans tried to register to vote and were denied. Hamer and her family were threatened with expulsion from the plantation at which they were poor sharecroppers. Soon thereafter, she was targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. In her personal life, Hamer was unable to bear children due to a tumor and together with her husband, they adopted four children, two girls and two boys, all from poor families.
Sources: Howard University and Fannie Lou Hamer Site
“These men and women have assumed great risk in the service to all humanity in an age where spaceflight as come to seem almost routine. It is easy to overlook the travels of danger by rocket…These astronauts…[knew] they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.” -Former President George W. Bush after the Columbia tragedy
(1961-2003) Dr. Kalpana Chawla was one of our nation’s astronauts with her selection in 1994. She was born in and grew up in India before moving to the United States to attend graduate school in Texas. She worked at NASA Ames Research Center before selection as an astronaut. Dr. Chawla and her crewmates perished in the Columbia tragedy on Feburary 1, 2003. In her personal life, Dr. Chawla enjoyed hiking and flying, and she held a commercial pilot’s license.
“Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.” –Susan B. Anthony
(1820-1906) Susan B. Anthony was an American woman best known for her work in the women’s suffrage movement. Together with Elizabeth Stanton, they led the fight for the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, granting women full citizenship and the right to vote. Anthony was also a leader in the anti-slavery movement in the 1800s, petitioning for the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in the U.S. In 1979, 1980, and 1981, The U.S. Treasury Department issued the dollar coin bearing Anthony’s portrait.
Source: Susan B Anthony Home
(1929-1993) Audrey Hepburn is most well known for her fashion iconic status and roles in Hollywood films in her early life as well as her humanitarian efforts. In the latter years of her life, she gave her time to UNICEF and countries around the world before succumbing to pancreatic cancer. Ms. Hepburn lived during WWII, having benefitted herself from the work of UNICEF shortly after the war ended. In these ways, she contributed to both the arts and social relief during her years in this world.
“The Indian woman informed me that she had been in this plain frequently and knew it well…. She said we would discover a gap in the mountains in our direction…” as written by Clark in his Expedition journal. The gap did exist and is now called Gibbons Pass.
(1788-?) Sacagawea is most well known as a Native American woman who was asked to accompany the famous Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804-1806 of the Western United States. She was their guide and interpreter as they trekked from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean. As a young girl about 12 to 14 years of age, Sacagawea was taken captive by the Hidatsa Indians. She married the French-Canadian guide and interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau in her late teems and when he was hired by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, she also came along as legend says. Her name means Bird Woman or White Bird Woman.
Sources: Oregon Blue Book and PBS
“Historians may decide that Mrs Bandaranaike was an innocent, inheriting policies whose consequences she did not at first understand. That could be true. ” – From an article in The Economist
(1916-2000) Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the world’s first elected female prime minister on July 20, 1960, leading the country of Sri Lanka. She served as the head of state for 12 years and then returned to lead Sri Lanka in 1994 for another six years. During her early years, she was expelled after being charged with abuse of power. She passed away at the age of 84 on Election Day in 2000 after casting what would become her very final vote. She had roots in the Sri Lankan government as the widow of a former prime minister.
(1937- ) Valentina Tereshkova was the first female cosmonaut to go into space in 1963 aboard Vostok 6. After returning back to Earth, she was honored with the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”, the highest award granted by the entity. While she never flew again, Dr. Tereshkova did become a spokesperson for the Soviet Union at that time. She also received the Gold Medal of Peace, awarded by the United Nations.
Sources: Goddard Space Flight Center Bio and 100 Best Articles
“I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done.” – Clara Barton
(1821-1912) On a vacation to Europe, Clara Barton found herself volunteering with the International Red Cross for nearly four years. Upon her return to the U.S., she found no Red Cross. In 1881, she created the organization and built the headquarters one block from the White House with funds from John D. Rockefeller. She subsequently ran the American Red Cross for 23 years thereafter.