Unsung Women Change Agents


Eliza BriggsGrace Lee Boggsharriet_hanson_robinson

"The Ten Questions are not just an add-on to my project. They bring in a new critical lens through which my students can read the historical figures and events from a participatory democracy outlook." – Sohyun An

Sohyun An, associate professor of education at Kennesaw State University, teaches an elementary social studies methods course. She applies the Ten Questions in a class project in which elementary preservice teachers research and an act out the lives of influential but unrecognized female activists in a role play called Unsung Women Change Agents.  

Despite persistent marginalization and disenfranchisement throughout American history, women have bravely stood up against those patriarchal forces to fight for their vision of a more just world. But for every Rosa Parks or Susan B. Anthony, many, many more activists remain relatively unknown, left out of school textbooks and lost to public memory. In An’s class, preservice teachers explore the forgotten stories of the women who have sparked social change in America. Using the Ten Questions, preservice teachers identified such a female change makers and wrote narratives about their life and civic efforts. One day in March, participants threw a tea party in which they role played their selected change makers based on these narratives. See the original description of the project here.

In 2017, KSU preservice teachers wrote about a wide range of women from throughout American history who pushed for a number of different of causes, like Grace Lee Boggs, Lee Miller, Helen Keller, Lillian Smith, Eliza Briggs, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Bella Savitsky Abzug. Their narratives were introduced in student-made  brochures based on the Ten Questions.  

KSU Preservice Teachers

What made An adopt the Ten Questions framework for her project? An has been avoiding a superhero-centered approach to history education, especially at the elementary level. She says the Ten Question framework allows her to explore civic activists without falling into hero worship. “[The] Ten Questions are not just an add-on to my project,” she said, “but they bring in a critical lens through which my students can analyze the historical figures from a participatory democracy outlook. Our democracy is not built on the epics of a few superheroes but on the sacrifice and collective efforts made by a great number of ordinary citizens. The latter is as important as – sometimes more important than – the former.” 

See the student projects listed below.



Grace Lee Boggs: Philosopher, Activists, and Author 

Grace Lee Boggs
Grace Lee Boggs

Hello there, my name is Grace Lee Boggs.

(1) Being born to Chinese immigrant parents made growing up very hard on me, but had I not been born female and Chinese American, I would not have realized from early on that fundamental changes were necessary in our society.  When I was 16 I began college, and went on to achieve my Ph. D in philosophy.  Even though I had my Ph. D it was still incredibly difficult to get a job.  Businesses discriminated against me and treated me unfairly because I was a Chinese American.  I finally found a job, but had to live in a basement with a lot of rats because it was a low-paying job.

(3) This is when I decided to do something about it and joined protests with the Worker’s Party members.

(4) It wasn’t only a problem for us Chinese Americans, but it was also a problem for the black community.

(10) Malcom X, C.L.R. James, and Raya Dunayevskaya were some of my biggest allies.  The next step of my life included moving to Detroit where I worked at a radical newspaper called Correspondence.  It was there where I met my husband, an activist, James Boggs.  James spoke often, and when he did, he would speak with such passion challenging all within hearing to stretch their humanity, he would often bring down the house.

(7) Originally James and I were on the same page as Malcom X believing that violence was the answer, but after a while we began to adopt Martin Luther King Jr.’s perspective of nonviolence and changing people’s minds.

(8) We wrote books and articles reaching out to the people so they knew change needed to happen, and even founded Detroit Summer.

(5) Detroit Summer was an organization that helped to make communities better and anyone could join.

(6) I believed that young people would be the ones to make a difference, so I spoke to them and had conversations with them, because in the end, they are the future, they are the ones with the power to change the world!  When I was 100 years old, I passed away; however, my legacy lived on.

(9) There was a school, The James and Grace Lee Boggs School, a community-based charter school formed in honor of my husband and I.  Still to this day it addresses issues that I had brought to light, like poverty and injustice.  My story may be over, but I hope there was a permanent mark left on the course of history of the Asian community, the Black community, laborers, women, and many others.  I will always believe in change and moving forward!

-- Morgan Reed, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs


Lee Miller: Model, Muse, Performer, Photographer, WWII War Correspondent


My name is Lee Miller and I believe in the beauty of art above all else. I have seen the horrors of the world and I know that art can help us remember just how gorgeous the world can be. I spent my younger years modeling and becoming a muse to artists like Man Ray and Picasso. But I really thrived behind the camera. During World War II I was a war correspondent for Vogue magazine.

Lee Miller
Miller during WWII working for Vogue

(Q1) And that is where I took some of my best and most meaningful photographs.

(Q2) I wanted the world to see the atrocities that were taking place in Germany. I wanted every mother, child, and citizen to see what was happening to overseas.

(Q3) I wanted them to know that everything in life isn’t just who the next big fashion designer is or what hairstyle is up and coming.

(Q4) Things are bigger than what is taking place in your comfort zone and we can’t change anything until we look outside.

(Q5) By reading my articles and looking at my photographs from the war you are taking the first step into challenging what they want us to believe about the war. I have spent days in foxholes, concentration camps, and cities that have been destroyed by corrupt individuals. I have seen grown men reduced to nothing while other men laugh at their flaws.

(Q6 & Q7) I have learned so much from watching these men and capturing the beauty in their defeat. I have learned to be more compassionate towards everyone and that even when you are compassionate not everyone else will be.

(Q8) I once said to a radio interviewer “Naturally I took pictures. What’s a girl supposed to do when a battle lands in her lap?” I take pride in the fact that my photography was used to show the war from a different point of view. My photos are my voice and I will use them to shine light on the people affected by this war. We will not forget who they are, what they gave up, and what they held dear.

(Q9) I hope that one day someone looks at my photographs and says ‘wow, I want to help them’

(Q10) I will continue to share what I have seen and help others understand how bad hate can be.

--- Erin Tinnell, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Lee Miller

Lee Miller


Claudette Colvin 

Claudette Colvin
Claudette Colvin

On March 2, 1955 I refused to give up my seat to a white woman on a Montgomery bus.

(Q1) I didn’t do it for fame, I did it because I was sick of being treated like I wasn’t as good as everyone else. I was only 15 years old but I knew it wasn’t right. As I was sitting in that seat I felt history pushing down on my shoulders. “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other saying. Sit down girl! I was glued to my seat”. As I was being taken away to jail I said the only thing I could think of, “It’s my constitutional right!”     

(Q2) Well before I knew it the NAACP was contacting me about all the people that wrote in saying what a brave and great person I was for not giving up my seat on that bus.

(Q3) It wasn’t about me it was about all people that were treated unfairly due to segregation. I visited with the NAACP and there I met their secretary, her name was Rosa Parks.

(Q4) One day I was walking on the street when a woman put a flier in my hand saying to please boycott the bus on Monday because of Rosa Parks arrest.

(Q5) You see the NAACP thought that white people would relate to Rosa Parks more because she was older and had lighter skin then me.

(6) The NAACP wanted someone that they thought whites would get behind.

(7) Rosa Parks staged her arrest to be the same as mine and then asked the people to boycott the buses.

(8) The NAACP used her as a way to influence riders to boycott.

(9) After some time, I was approached by Fred Gray, an attorney, who asked me if I would be a witness in the Browder v. Gayle court case.

(10) I agreed and as a result of the case the Supreme Court ruled to end bus segregation in Alabama.

(Q6) The NAACP wanted someone that they thought whites would get behind.

(Q7) Rosa Parks staged her arrest to be the same as mine and then asked the people to boycott the buses.

(Q8) The NAACP used her as a way to influence riders to boycott.

(Q9) After some time, I was approached by Fred Gray, an attorney, who asked me if I would be a witness in the Browder v. Gayle court case.

(Q10) I agreed and as a result of the case the Supreme Court ruled to end bus segregation in Alabama.

-- Jessica Maney, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Alice Piper

Alice Piper
Alice Piper

Q1-I am a Native American girl, seeking a quality education. It is unconstitutional to segregate my people into schools that are teaching us trades different than those of our Native People. I travel very far to get to school too. I want the future generations of the Paiute children to be allowed the right to an equal education.

Q2- I believe this news of the violation of our rights as people should be shared with everyone! We need to take a stand and fight for the right for an equal and quality education.

Q3- By presenting this injustice in a way that shows my passion for the cause I will influence my tribe, and my friends at school to see that this is unfair. We are not being treated as if Big Pine was our home for generations but as if we are strangers to this land and that is not the case! We should not be segregated into another school, other than the one every white person attends. This is our land too and we need to be given the same respect and opportunities as the white people. This will help all generations of the Paiute children to afford an equal education not just for myself.

Q4- We start this journey by spreading the news and the facts with those of our tribe, then we take it to the Supreme Court!

Q5- It won’t be easy. Not only am I a Native American, but I am a Native American girl! Women do not have the same treatment as men and certainly the Native American people are not treated as equals of the white men, so we need to take a stand, share the facts, and demand justice!

Q6- By getting the advice and hearing the stories and wisdom of elders in the tribe we can find the strength and perseverance to pursue our cause.

Q7- Not everyone will agree with what we have to say, but we need to stand our ground and fight for what is right! We are a peaceful tribe, so our demeanor and passion for this cause will help us win this case.

Q8- By remaining factual, sharing our voices and presenting them as a voice of all of the Paiute people we will gain influence and listeners. No one will listen to someone who is yelling and screaming, as long as we remain calm and put together our voices will be heard. In this case we are seeking influence AND voice.

Q9- In order to get from voice to change we need to take ACTION. Taking action is where the changes are made. By taking action we are making the difference, our voices are being heard, we are making an influence on the Supreme Court and in our community! Hopefully this will affect all Native People and their children will have the right and privilege of an equal and quality education.

Q10- Finding allies will be the easy part. There is power in numbers! By gaining the agreement of the Native people, and all of the students attending this Native American Only School, then we will slowly gain more influence and acceptance amongst all people. We need to present the facts as they are and back up our case with the Constitution!

-- Ana Isaac, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Alice Piper


Alice Piper




Helen Keller: Deaf, Blind, but Not Mute 

Helen Keller
Helen Keller

I am Helen Keller, and these are the causes I stood for and want to be remembered by.  This is my true legacy.

Most people view me as a young blind and deaf girl who was courageous, overcame many obstacles, and worked to help other blind and deaf people succeed.  This portion of my life is not the only lens that must be seen and remembered.  My handicap became the very essence of my deliverance to a higher platform, in which I hope was used to help deliver others who had sight, but had no real vision.

Q1: The work of my published books and articles about socialism were very important to me. When I became involved in the lives of every day citizens who were struggling at the hands of government and leaders who were not leading, I became their voice. 

Q2: I did not attempt to water down the truth, as I see it, but proclaimed injustice for those who could not speak: those in poverty, young child laborers, blacks, and women who could not vote.

Q3: As I “see” it, even though I do not have sight, I am heartbroken over the injustice and inhuman ways of our country.  I do not want people to remain in “darkness” and be blinded by the freedoms we claim we have, but truly don’t.

Q4: When I first learned of the poverty that invades, not only America, but other countries abroad, I felt compelled to speak out, using articles written in the press on behalf of the oppressed. I spoke up on behalf of the women’s voting rights and against war and corporate domination.

Q5: This brings awareness to the forefront. People see me as blind and not wise, but I have vision that many do not.  By getting involved and asking tough questions, such as, “Why [do] children toil in the mills while thousands of men cannot get work, why [do] women who do nothing have thousands of dollars a year to spend?” These questions are brought to the forefront, through my writings, and it builds an awareness to others.

Q6: By listening firsthand and spending time with people, you truly “listen” to the deaf ear that has been turned to them from our government.  I used my voice to speak out.

Q7: Yes, there are certain papers that did not wish to publicize my critical stand and favor of socialist reform.  They are entrapped by the money power that feeds them and will attempt to submerge my influence.  This did not stop me.  I continued to learn how to use my actual voice to speak out.  I took speech lessons for many years to be an audible, public voice against injustice.

Q8: By standing up for the ones who couldn’t speak out, I became a voice in the public eye that influenced others to join in and be heard. By joining in on protest marches and the striking actors, we refused to cross the picket lines.  We stood for our rights for proper wages. 

Q9: The more we kept the awareness in the forefront, the more people felt they had a cause and united forces to make change.  We would no longer be silent, blinded, or deaf to the inequalities that existed in our world. 

Q10: I believed in fairness and true freedom for all.  I must say, my handicap of no sight or hearing, did not compare to the blindness and deafness that existed in the leaders of our country.  We must stand and work together to bring a new vision to the forefront that would promote those civil liberties for all.

--Brenda Staton, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Helen Keller

Helen Keller


Lilliam Smith 

Lillian Smith
Lillian Smith

Hi, my name is Lillian Eugenia Smith and I was born on December 12, 1897 in Jasper, Florida. I am the seventh of nine children, and we later moved to Clayton, Georgia in 1915 because my father lost his turpentine mills. In my young adult life, I loved music and I taught for five years. I pursued going to college at Piedmont College and received two stints at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1917 and 1919. After that, I started publishing in a small magazine organization that strongly encouraged writers (black or white) to offer honest assessments on modern southern life.

(Q1) Even though I came from a middle-class, southern, white, and American family, I saw what was going on around me. I knew in my heart this these terrible actions were not right. I saw racism acts being done, unfair treatment of so many different ethnicities, and I saw inequality of race and gender all around the spectrum! For me, a white American woman, I struggled having a voice for quite some time but eventually, enough is enough. I know I wanted to try to help other people and help myself find a voice for what really mattered in life.

(Q2) I shared a lot of unfiltered and nasty information throughout my writing because the truth is the truth. Why sugarcoat things when these actions are really being done? I wanted to share all the true information I could to help people be heard, helps others find their way, and having the hope that I could make a difference in making the world a more peaceful place.

(Q3) I made my writings much more about others than myself. These multiple issues effect everyone in the Southern states, not just myself because to be honest I had it better than most during this time. I wanted to stand up for the others who were too scared to have a voice, or scared of what might happen to themselves or their families. This is much bigger than myself, and I just wanted to speak the truth even if it was not pretty.

(Q4) I started interviewing, planning, and writing thoughts throughout this time and I knew the best way I could get others attention was by doing what I do best, writing! I wanted to publish a book that would grab everyone’s attention over these huge issues that were not being taken care.

(Q5) I made it very easy for others to join this movement called equality because I had eventually achieved my goal and published multiple great books showing detail of why we need equality for EVERYONE! I also named one of my novels Strange Fruit, after the Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit” so people would notice that name and read my writing. This specific novel became very well-known, so well-know that it was started to be banned from certain areas and banned from being sent out through the U.S Postal Services for “lewdness” and crude language. These topics talked about in this novel such as race and gender equality are not sugar coated in any way. I was furious because everything that was going on during this time was lewdness and crude, they just did not want someone to say it out loud.  I wanted to allow others to read my writings and connect to it, have a voice, and to stand up for what they think is right. Finally, my ban got lifted because FDR’s wife requested it. I was very happy and thankful when the ban was lifted.

(Q6) I got a lot of wisdom through interviews from my writings and publishing throughout this time. I wanted everyday people and their reactions, thoughts, and ideas on these controversial issues going on today to be real life statements.

(Q7) I handled the downside of crowds by fighting back! Most of the fuss came from white southern males, and the government. I did not let them stop me. For example: my novel “Strange Fruit” being banned, I did not let that stop me from achieving my goals. Luckily, my book touched FDR’s wife and he lifted the ban. Even if it had not been lifted, I still would have continued writing more and more books over topics concerning todays issues. I was not scared to criticize these issues anymore.

(Q8) I am pursuing more of a voice by writing my powerful, touching, novels to the world but I do think I touch others by influence as well. My writings are about true people and their situations. Some situations are sad and ugly, but they need to be heard. I want these horrible acts to be known and fought for!

(Q9) I moved from just being a voice to making a change by continuing to write my books and continuing to fight over what was right for our people. Eventually things will get better, and the future will become a little bit brighter. You must keep your faith and continue fighting for what you believe in.

(Q10) I found multiple allies through joining organizations such as my magazine group that offered us to give honest information. I also made great allies in the African American groups and other different ethnicities because of my words and actions on equality in the world. The more people you have encouraging you and following you through your actions and goals the better you achieve them.

--Aashley Jordan, KSU Preservice Teacer

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Lillian Smith

Lillian Smith



Dolores Huerta

Hey, my name is Dolores Huerta.

(1) A social change is very important to me because as a little girl I was always discriminated against for my race and my gender.

(2) I will continue to fight for the wrong treatment of farm workers and for women’s equality.

(3) I worked hard with Caesar Chavez as a co-founder to the National Farm Workers Association to empower migrant farm workers, improve their working conditions and raise their wages.

(4) I set up voter registration drives and lobbied politicians to allow migrant workers to receive public benefits. I also allowed ballots and drivers tests to be in Spanish.

(5) Cesar Chavez, Gilbert Padilla, and I teamed up in the National Farm Workers Association.

(6) In 1965 the AWA and NWFA came together to make the United Farm Workers Organization, and within this organization we were able to accomplish equality for 26 grape growers. They stopped the use of harmful pesticides, and allowed the workers to receive unemployment as well as healthcare benefits.

(7) I almost lost my life in 1988 when I was brutally beaten by police at a rally in San Francisco while I was protesting George H W Bush’s policies.

(8) I continue to voice my opinion on various social issues involving immigration, inequality, women’s rights and Latinos.

(9) One thing I firmly believe in is that, “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

(10)  I am going to continue to fight for what I am passionate about and make sure that working conditions have improved, women have equality, and no more discrimination against other races.

--Elise Specht, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Eliza Briggs

Hello My Name is Eliza Briggs, and here is why you should know me.

Eliza Briggs
Eliza Briggs

(Q1)  Being one of the first to sign the petition was very important to my family and myself. I felt as if we are spoke about giving our children a better life, but we had to do more than just speak, there had to be action done.

( Q2) As we started this movement, I wanted to share my thoughts with everyone. I believed that the only way we were going get things accomplished was to work together as a group. I reckon though people were scared, since we were treated so horrible after.

(Q3) My Husband and I thought how can we make this work for South Carolina, what can do we so that all children can have better school supplies and a way to even get there.

(Q4) Well to be honest, we just wanted something better for our children, and we went to ask the school and they said no. A nice man from the NAACP asked us could he take our case to court, in which we stated yes.

(Q5) It wasn’t a way to make it entertaining for people, it was hope that kept us moving and fighting. Our platform at the church was if you wanted a better life for your children you signed the petition.

(Q6) We learned a lot during this time and leaned on our neighbors, since we all lost our jobs.

(Q7) We knew people were scared, but we had to reassure them that their children was worth it.

(Q8) We wanted to be heard and we wanted action at this time, was tired of all talk but nothing being done.

(Q9) Work started being done when they moved our case out of the deep South.

(Q10) we found strength by all wanting the same thing which was to be equal .

--Janelle Ford, KSU Preservice Teachers

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Eliza Briggs

Eliza Briggs


Elizabeth Blackwell

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Blackwell. You might know me as the first women to ever receive a medical degree in American history.

Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell

(1) I first became interested in the medical field when my dear friend became very ill. I believe my friend would not have suffered so harshly if her physician would have been female.

(2) I feel as though it is my duty to empower other women like myself to believe in themselves and stand up for their rights. My own sister even followed in my footsteps by becoming a doctor as well.

(3) Although my family and I have always been advocates for anti-slavery and Women’s Rights, this degree was about more than myself. I received this degree in order to empower other women around me, and to give medical care to the poor.

(4) I started my journey by applying to multiple colleges and continually being denied because of my gender. Finally, New York’s Geneva Medical College accepted me and I gained my medical degree in 1849. In 1853, my friends helped me to open my own dispensary where I saw patients three times a week. My sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell later joined me in my practice.

(5) My sister and I, along with another female doctor Marie Zakrzewska, opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857. This was a medical college that provided practice and training for women in the medical field. The Infirmary also provided medical care for the poor.

(6) I think we all gained wisdom from the crowds by proving them wrong.

(7) As women, we were constantly being told that we could not become anything more than a teacher or a mother, but we proved everyone wrong by believing in ourselves and becoming doctors.

(8) I believe I pursued a voice and influenced others by being the first woman to receive a medical degree and by encouraging others to follow my path by providing a college for women in the medical field.

(9) I was able to get from voice to change by persevering. Even though I was constantly getting denied by colleges because of my gender, I continued to apply and eventually got accepted.

(10) I found allies by inspiring other women to fight for their rights and go against the odds.

––Sara Boyer, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell



Harriet Hanson Robinson

I am Harriet Hanson Robinson.

Harriet Hanson Robinson

1. Being an activist for women’s rights mat- ters to me because I have personally been affected and witnessed first-hand accounts of the injustices women face.

2. I share with my fellow women just like during the lectures at the mill, empowering and educating them and then on a larger scale, like being the first woman to speak before the Select Com- mittee on Woman Suffrage in Congress as well as plead my case in front the state legislature.

3. This goes far beyond myself, as I feel like my voice can be heard through public speaking and my literature and then I become a voice for all of the young girls from the mill and all across the country.

4. I started by participating in the strikes or “turnouts”, leading fellow mill workers that were afraid to react. I became educated and then empowered fellow women by forming clubs and holding lectures.

5. Educating women and encouraging them to use their voice will inspire them to join the cause.

6. We get wisdom from one another, sharing, discussing, strategizing to fight for progress for one another.

7. We allow negativity to push us forward instead of hinder our plight. 8. We are pursuing voice and influence by starting a journey that will begin with one person, one voice but will in- fluence others to seek justices and fight for their own cause.

9. We have to practice what we preach in order to see the change we are fighting for. We must take risks, be brave, and stop at nothing to win the fight.

10. We find allies in fellow humans that share passion for injustice.

-- April Cox, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Bella Savitsky Abzug

My name is Bella Savitsky Abzug, and I am at heart, a feminist.

(Q1) I pursued my goals as a liberal activist throughout my life. I knew at an early age living in the Bronx, New York that I wanted to be a lawyer. However, I almost did not achieve this when I was rejected from Harvard Law School for being a woman.

Bella Savitsky Abzug
Bella Savitsky Abzug

(Q2) I have always been outspoken. When I got my undergrad degree at Hunter College, I was the president of the Student Council. “I’ve been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish Mother with more complaints that Portnoy. There are those who say I’m impatient, impetuous, uppity, rude, profane, brash, and overbearing. Whether I’m any of those things, or all of them, you can decide for yourself. But whatever I am -- and this ought to be made very clear -- I am a very serious woman.”

(Q3) I have always tried to help others. As a lawyer, I started out in labor law but eventually moved onto civil rights cases. I worked for the ACLU. While I was there I took on Willie McGee’s case in Mississippi. He was a black man accused of raping a white woman. I received many threats for being involved, but I believed in his innocence. I did manage to get appeals on his case, but he was eventually executed. My goals have never been about myself. They have always been to help the greater good. I once said, “Women’s struggle for equality worldwide is about more than equality between men and women. Our struggle is about reversing the trends of social, economic, political, and ecological crisis - a global nervous breakdown! Our struggle is about creating sustainable lives and attainable dreams.”

(Q5) As someone who wanted to make changes, I began several groups that are still going strong today. In 1961 I organized a strike for peace against nuclear testing. The Women’s Strike for Peace included 800 women in New York and eventually led to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 which ended atmospheric nuclear testing.

(Q4) I also started the National Women’s Political Caucus with my friends Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan in 1971, the same year I took office in the House of Representatives.

(Q6) I’ve always known women are stronger than men give us credit for. “The women’s movement, not only here in the U.S., but worldwide, is bigger and stronger than ever before and in places where it has never been. It has arms. It has legs. And most importantly, it has heads.”

(Q8) I want to influence the world into giving everyone an equal voice. All of my organizations have been about equality and making men realize that women are smart and as capable in making positive changes.

(Q9) We, everyone, can make a change by using our voices to make things happen. With the technology of today it is easier than ever. My groups have flourished throughout the years, even beyond my death in 1998. You can access the websites and become part of the movements.

(Q10) If you speak with those around you, you will find your allies where you least expect them. “Women will not simply be mainstreamed into the polluted stream. Women are changing the stream, making it clean and green and safe for all - every gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, age, and ability.”

-- Jennifer Zeigler, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Bella Savitsky Abzug

Bella Savitsky Abzug






Sylvia Mendez

I am Sylvia Mendez. I am nine years old. I contributed to American freedom and equality by fighting against segregation in the public school system.

Sylvia Mendez
Sylvia Mendez

(Q1) This is important to me because I want to go to a good school near my home.

(Q3) The issue of segregation is important to all children because it prevents us from receiving a high quality education.

(Q4) It all started when my aunt Soledad tried to enroll her children, my brothers and I in an all white school.

(Q5) Her children were allowed to enroll in the 17th Street School because they were light skinned, but my brothers and I were not allowed into that school because we had darker skin and were Mexican. My dad, Gonzalo and my mom, Felicitas were outraged by this injustice, and they hired a lawyer to fight for us. His name is David Marcus. Four families joined us to sue the Westminster School District of Orange County.

(Q7) Judge Paul J McCormick ruled in our favor because he believed that separate was not equal, and the school district violated our 14th Amendment rights. We won our case. However, the Westminster School Board decided to appeal the verdict, so we had to go back to court.

(Q10) We did not get discouraged, and we stayed strong. Word of our case spread, and we gained the support of many others who were fighting for their civil rights. Thurgood Marshall, Governor Earl Warren, Judge Albert Lee Stephens, the NAACP and other civil rights groups were among those supporters. We won our case in 1947, and schools throughout California were finally desegregated. Our victory set the stage for all schools to be desegregated across the nation.

-- Shirita Sanjurjo, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia Mendez



Rose Schneiderman

I am Rose Scneiderman, I am a labor activist, union leader, and social reformer. I am responsible for creating the first labor unions for women demanding fair wages and shorter workdays, as well as higher safety standards in the workplace. To do so I joined the Woman’s Trade Union League and was president of the union from 1926 until 1950. I also fought for woman’s rights to vote which came through the New York referendum in 1917.

Rose Schneiderman
Rose Schneiderman

(1) These things matter to me because I have personally suffered through the low wages, long work days, and dangerous workplace conditions. I am also denied the right to vote simple because I am a woman. I know what it is like, I have watched my mother work for less pay than a man ever since my father passed away when I was nine years old.

(2) I share my life experiences and the struggles that I faced as a child in hopes that someone will hear my cries and that woman will be treated equally in the workplace.

(3) I will fight for the rights for all woman and immigrant workers. I want to see every person in the workplace treated equally and not discriminated against due to gender or ethnicity.  If you are doing the work of a man you deserve a man’s pay as well. We as women do not deserve less pay for the same jobs just because we are women.

(4) I will start my journey to form the women’s union by first assembling the women in my factory and we will expand our union by adding factory by factory across the city, and the state.

(5) Seeing as to how all of us women want the same things in the workplace we will bond together and fight for what we want. Without us these factories can’t make any money. If we refuse to work for these low wages then the factory owners must give us what we want. The factories simply cannot go on without us in there to do the work.

(6) The more woman we can get to join in on our union the more people we have to go on strike when the factory owners cut wages and refuse to improve safety in the workplace. The more woman that are on strike puts a bigger hurting on the factories and the owners. Every day, every hour that we are on strike there is work not getting done therefore it is costing the “big man” more money.

(7) When we strike we must speak powerfully and let these factory owners know what we are demanding. We must have our facts and state them loud so that we will be heard.

(8) By leading these strikes I am influencing other woman to join the union with me and to go on strike with me to influence change in the workplace. I also work to give woman a voice in government decisions by fighting for their right to vote.

(10) We were able to find allies throughout the city, state, and nation by rallying the women to strike with us until the workplace conditions are changed.  

(9) In 1922 I met a very nice lady by the name of Eleanor Roosevelt. We became close friends and she joining the Women’s Trade Union League in 1922. Mrs. Roosevelt’s husband, Franklin D Roosevelt, became governor of New York in 1929 and then the president of the United States in 1933 which gave me access to increasing political power. In 1933 President Roosevelt appointed me to the Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration where I wrote many of the regulations for industries with predominantly female workers. I also worked with President Roosevelt on the New Deal administration including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act.

-- Jessica Dowdam KSU Preservice Teacher

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Rose Schneiderman

Rose Schneiderman



Audrey Whisenant

My name is Audrey Whisenant and I made contributions to racial relations in my small town in rural Alabama.

Audrey Evelyn Jackson
Audrey Evelyn Jackson

(1) I really wanted to help these relationships for two main reasons. The first was that my daddy was a very devout Christian and always taught me that we were all God’s children and the same on the inside. He taught me to be kind to everybody. My second reason was because, as a school-teacher and principal, I loved my students!

(2,4) I wanted them to all get along and create a community. I wanted to share this philosophy with the world but I knew that I needed to start in my own county.

(3)  This problem wasn’t just about me and my classroom. I knew that teaching my own students would help with racial relations outside of my classroom and even outside our school.

(5)  My classroom, and later, my school, served as a model for others around us. It wasn’t hard and we set a new standard for the area.

(6) People outside of our school taught us about the effects of bad racial relationships in schools. We learned about schools that had armed forces walking black students into schools. We were the peaceful side of integration.

(7) We did have some people oppose our classroom relations, of course. We even had several students fight in our class during the transition period. I was persistent though. I continued to teach my students to love each other and lead by example.

(8) I was not looking for a voice in civil rights or racial relations. I was only looking to influence my students and my community.

(9) If I had wanted a voice, I could have used that voice to influence law makers and prominent people in my community. This could have improved racial relations.

(10) I found allies in my family and my co-workers. Soon, my workers were following in my example.

--Cassidy Dunbar, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Audrey Evelyn Jackson

Audrey Evelyn Jackson





Helen Adams Keller

My name is Helen Adams Keller. I am an American author, lecturer, socialist, and activist. I was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27, 1880 and died on June 1, 1968. When I was just nineteen months old, I was stricken with a damaging brain fever that left me blind and deaf. Education was out of the question, until I turned seven years old, when a teacher named Annie Mansfield Sullivan came to teach me to read the Braille system and to write with a specially constructed typewriter. Annie was almost blind herself from a fever, except her fever was different than mine. When I grew older, I helped blind and deaf students by raising enough money to educate them. By1940, I graduated from Radcliffe College with honors and began lecturing.

Helen Adams Keller
Helen Adams Keller

(Q1)  After World War II (1939-1945), I visited wounded veterans in United States' hospitals and lectured in Europe on behalf of physically handicapped people. If I hadn't had the courage to learn Braille and to speak, I wouldn't have been able to communicate my ideas to all the people suffering around the world. This matters most because ignorance and comfort hinder change, opportunities for the advancement of a masked people.

(Q2) Who better to stand than the affected and wounded, born with the essential resources?

(Q3) I will share with whoever will listen and heed the wisdom so freely given. 

(Q4) I made it about more than just myself when I picketed at my own biographical film, standing firm on the equal and fair pay for all and also, creating the resources for people suffering with disabilities.

(Q5) The overwhelming need for advocating started when I met Annie and the large influence she made in just a small package.

(Q6) Engagement with ease came later through my schools and picture books, spreading the word to all without resources.

(Q7) I believe in the recycling of good work. The world isn’t to far gone to do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

(Q8) Keeping them united, as one for one thing is key. Discord among the ranks will be disastrous, providing literature and education is hoe I choose to fight back.

(Q9) I believe in the voice of the voiceless. Their influence and will bring innovation and intrigue.

(Q10) Through the challenging task of recruitment, allies will materialize.

--Ashely Boling, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Helen Adams Keller

Helen Adams Keller



Sojourner Truth

I am Sojourner Truth. I was born into slavery in 1797 and endured several owners until I escaped in 1826. Although I was free, my children were not.

Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth

(Q1) Once I escaped slavery, I discovered that my son, Peter, was illegally sold to a plantation owner in Alabama. I took the issue to court and in 1828, I became the first black woman to take a white man to court and win. I retrieved my son and moved to New York City.

(Q3) For the next eight years, I worked as a household servant. In 1843, I decided to leave and preach the word of God. I attended and held several prayer sessions. I eventually joined the Northampton Association, a community founded on the ideas of freedom and equality. It is through that group that I met other abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass.

(Q4) After realizing how many were effected by slavery and inequality, I became involved in moral reform and started my street-corner preaching career.

(Q5) I told stories and sang gospel songs that instructed and entertained. So many individuals desiring the same goals stood behind me and joined the abolitionists.

(Q6) Hearing the different stories told by the people lead me to gain insight on the struggles that so many were facing. As I began my protests, I was able to relate to the people and began to be called the “wandering orator”.

(Q7) We as women need to fight for equal rights! We are no less than men. As long as we stand together, no one can bring us down.

(Q8) First, I spoke out against slavery and inequality within my local community. Once I noticed that I was able to reach people through protests and preaching, I traveled to many of the western states attempting to influence a change.

(Q9) Along with protesting, I took action! During the Civil War, I collected food and clothing for black regiments. I traveled to Washington D.C. where I met with Abraham Lincoln and immersed myself in relief work for the freed people.

(Q10) Finding allies did not seem to be a problem. So many families were impacted from slavery and inequality. We must stand as one to reach our common goals.  

--Taylor Evans, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth



Lucy Parsons 

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons
(1) Why does it matter to me? Equality matters to me because I was not treated equally growing up as a minority in Texas. I am looked at differently because I am a woman. I am looked at differently because I am in an interracial marriage. We are all humans and should have equal rights as citizens of the united states.

(2) How much should I share? I will share what my beliefs are. I will share what is on my mind. I will share my time and effort to speak out for those who are too scared to speak for themselves.

(3) How do I make it about more than myself? I want everyone to have the same rights and be treated as equals. I have been involved in many political organizations, including the Workingmen’s Party of the United States and the Socialistic Labor Party (SLP). She wrote articles in support of the working class in the SLP’s publication called the Socialist, and spoke out on women’s issues, such as the right to vote, for the Working Women’s Union. My goal is to get as many people involved as possible.

(4) Where do we start? I feel we start with ourselves and how we want to be treated. Then we talk to others and get them involved. We explain the importance of what we are doing and the long term effect we will make on this country and its people.

(5) How can we make it easy and engaging for others? We make it easy and engaging for others by giving people places to gather and talk about our problems and find solutions to the problems. We set up workshops for people to come fill out the paperwork to register to vote. We write articles to inspire others and speak out against the racist and sexist ways of our country.  

(6) How do we get wisdom from crowds? Crowds can teach us a lot of things including what not to do. As we gather we need to remain civil but still demand that things need to change.

(7) How do we handle the downside of crowds? We will handle the the downside of crowds through education. We will educated the people in the crowds and teach them the best way to protest without hurting the cause.

(8) Are we pursuing voice or influence or both? First we are pursuing voice. One we have a voice we can then use it to influence change.

(9) How do we get from voice to change? We can go from voice to change by making the voice so loud that everyone hears it. We grow the numbers of all the voices until they can no longer pretend to not hear us.

(10) How do we find allies? We find allies through communication. We talk to people and educate them on our beliefs. We publish articles in newspapers for everyone to read. We hold rallies and town hall discussions. As the idea spreads and more people are made aware of the rights we are pushing for we will gain more allies.

--Garret Dunlap, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons





Clara Barton

Hello my fellow citizens. I am Clara Barton. I encourage you all to help join the Red Cross.

Clara Barton
Clara Barton

Q1) Our fathers, brothers, and uncles are fighting for us and we need to help them fight!

Q3) We want our loved ones to be able to return home.

Q4) Let’s help provide them with the care and resources that they need to get better and return home! We do not want children to grow up without their fathers or wives without their husbands!

Q5) If you love America and want this war to end, if you want your loved one to come home then help!

Q6) Rally up your neighbors, coworkers, and family members and let’s encourage one another to help our men who are injured and suffering!

Q7) This will not be easy, but it is not impossible. Stand by my side and help!

Q8) YOU can be the voice and you can be the influence for others! I know it is a scary thing but it has to be done!

Q9) All it takes is one step. One step, one move and we can help so many men get back to their families!

Q10) We are America. We are great. If we don’t fight for our own men, what are we even doing? These men NEED assistance. DO NOT RESIST!!!

-- Olivia Willis, KSU Preservice Teacher

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Clara Barton​​​​​​​