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Jone Johnson Lewis

Jone's Women's History Blog


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Women Environmentalists

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Women have been in the forefront of the modern environmentalist movement. Rachel Carson and Wangari Maathai are two prominent women environmentalists -- one a writer whose book, Silent Spring, sparked the movement that started Earth Day (April 22), and the other an activist who founded the Green Belt movement in Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.


Harriet Quimby, Pioneer Aviator

Wednesday April 16, 2014

"There is no reason why the aeroplane should not open up a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, from parcel delivery, taking photographs or conducting schools of flying. Any of these things it is now possible to do." (Harriet Quimby, about 1911)

Harriet Quimby's career as a pilot lasted only eleven months, but she managed to set a few records in that time. She was the first American woman to earn a pilot's license, and the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel, the latter on April 16, 1911.

Lucretia Mott's Sister, Martha Coffin Wright

Monday April 14, 2014

She's not as well known as her sister, Lucretia Mott, but Martha Coffin Wright was an abolitionist (her daughter married the son of abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison) and an early women's rights advocate. Contributed by the author of an upcoming biography of Martha Coffin Wright, James D. Livingston.

First Reigning Empress of Japan

Monday April 7, 2014

The Japanese royal family faces pressure because the current crown princess -- a Harvard-educated diplomat before she married the Japanese crown prince, mother of one daughter, and now more than 40 years old -- has not produced a son to succeed as Japanese emperor. But Japan has been ruled by reigning empresses before. Here's a profile of the Empress Suiko, who ruled Japan at the end of the 5th and beginning of the 7th century. Under her rule, China recognized Japan and Buddhism flourished: Empress Suiko

April 5, 1758: Mary Jemison Captured

Saturday April 5, 2014

On April 5, 1758, Mary Jemison was captured by French soldiers and Shawnee Indians. Her later telling of her story of life in captivity is one of the best-known examples of this genre of American colonial literature.

Related reading:

Jane Goodall's Birthday

Thursday April 3, 2014

Jane Goodall, primatologist, was born on April 3, 1934.


April 2, 1917: First Woman in Congress

Wednesday April 2, 2014

On April 2, 1917, Jeannette Rankin, from Montana, became the first woman to take a seat in the US Congress. Four days later, she voted against American entry into World War I. During her term, she also began the debate on the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, the women's suffrage amendment that gave women the vote and became the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Rankin was not reelected, but ran again and was elected in 1939. She voted against American entry into World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Inoculate Yourself Now: New Salem Mythology Coming

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Salem Witch TrialBeginning April 20, 2014, in the US, WGNAmerica is airing a "bold new vision" of what happened in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692.

Unfortunately, from the preview material available, "bold new vision" equates to "highly fictionalized and sensationalized manipulation of the information."

One thing about the history of the Salem witch trials and that time: quite a bit of historical documentation was kept.  So debunking the wild ideas is not so difficult, even though there are enough holes in the record -- and enough claims at the time -- to still have a lot of questions about motivations of those who accused their neighbors and friends and relatives of what was, at the time, a horrific crime.

Read more about the real history:

Don't Be an April Fool

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Don't be an April Fool and believe -- or perpetuate -- these myths of women's history, from bra-burning demonstrations to Betsy Ross and the first American flag. There's room for disagreement among historians, of course, but here's my opinion on the balance of facts.

First Author and Poet in the World

Tuesday April 1, 2014

She is the first author and poet in the world we know by name. A daughter of the great Akkadian king, Sargon, she helped solidify his power by raising the goddess Inanna into a superior position over all other deities. Learn more:

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