Katy Ferguson: Earth Angel

Catherine_Ferguson
By Unknownhttp://maap.columbia.edu/image/view/716.html, Public Domain, Link

Born a slave in 1779, Catherine Ferguson accompanied her mistress to church on Sundays until she was freed at sixteen by a white woman benefactor who paid $200 for Katy’s emancipation. Two years later, Katy married; by the time she was twenty, her husband and two infant children were dead. Katy, a fantastic baker, made wedding cakes and other delicacies to support herself. On the way to market to sell her baked goods, she would see dozens of poor children and orphans who pulled at the strings of her heart. The indomitable Katy started teaching these waifs church classes in her home on what is now Warren Street in Manhattan until a Dr. Mason lent her church basement to her in 1814. This is believed to be the origins of what we now call “Sunday school.” Katy’s classes were so popular that droves of poor black and whit children came to learn. Soon, many young, unwed mothers started showing up, too, whom Katy took home to care for and teach them self-reliance. Katy died of cholera in 1854, but her work carried on in the Ferguson Home for Unwed Mothers where kindness, good works, and good learning are the helping hands to a better life.

“Where Katy lived, the whole aspect of the neighborhood changed.”

                        —from an article on her work

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

Advertisements

Guerrilla Girls: Grafitti Godesses

Guerrilla_Girls_-_V&A_Museum,_London.jpg
By Eric Huybrechts – https://www.flickr.com/photos/15979685@N08/15330478694/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The Guerrilla Girls are a group of women artists and art professionals who make posters about sexism and racism in the art world and the culture at large. These self-styled feminist do-gooders see themselves as counterparts to Robin Hood, Batman, and the Lone Ranger, using humor to provoke discussion and wearing gorilla masks to focus on the issues, not their personalities. In ten years, they have produced seventy posters that have been passed around the globe by kindred spirits. Their slogan? “We could be anyone; we are everywhere.” To join the cause, contact  http://www.voyagerco.com/gg/

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

Julie Krone

Julie_Krone_riding_Halfbridled_at_2003_Breeders'_cup
By Harlan1000Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Julie Krone has her own wild rides. Petite and determined, Julie Krone was the first female jockey to win Triple Crown a race at the Belmont Stakes. She had shown that women can ride the winning race and has $54 million worth of purses to show for it. (Jockeys keep 10 percent of the take, quite a motivator!) Even though Julie says that “times have changed” for women, she will still occasionally be heckled with yells of “Go home, have babies, and do the dishes,” when she loses. The wealthy winner’s final comment: “In a lot of people’s minds, a girl jockey is cute and delicate. With me, what you get is reckless and aggressive.”

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

Camille Claudel: The Feeler

Camille_Claudel_atelier.jpg
By William Elborne – http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/resources/educational-files/rodin-and-camille-claudelhttp://the100.ru/en/womens/camille-claudel.htmlhttp://theredlist.fr/wiki-2-24-224-268-view-culture-art-fashion-profile-camille-claudel-auguste-rodin.html, Public Domain, Link

Camille Claudel, born in France in 1864, is beginning to be accorded more respect for her sculpture, after being hidden in the looming shadow of August Rodin, best known for “The Thinker.” Part of a creative clique in France that included Camille’s brother Paul who was a Catholic poet and playwright of note in the late nineteenth century, Camille was an artist of considerable talent. She studied with Rodin, becoming his model and mistress. Their relationship was stormy; the two artists’ tempers would burn brightly and they were constantly breaking up and making up, but the relationship endured until 1898. When her brother Paul abandoned her, she committed an auto-de-fe. As was typical in that era, Camille was institutionalized for depression and hysteria starting in 1913, eroding her ability to continue forceful sculpting until her death in 1943. Anne Delbee’s 1982 play “Une Femme: Camille Claudel” was the beginning of a revival of interest in Claudel. Controversial, the play posits the theory that Camille was more than a muse; indeed, she was the true artist of the two, infusing Rodin with creativity and ideas. In 1989, Isabella Adjani and Gerard Depardieu did a wonderful job of bringing the creative couple to the big screen. Despite the difficulties of her last years, Camille Claudel has become a French national sheroine and cause celebre.

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

Bertha von Suttner

Bertha_von_Suttner_nobel
By Unknownhttp://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1905/suttner.html, Public Domain, Link

Baroness Bertha von Suttner was sheroic from the start when she went against her family’s aristocratic ways and worked as a governess and nanny (Does that remind you of any other titled nanny turned peace activist sheroes?!) going on to write an antiwar novel Die Waffen Nieder (Lay Down Your Arms) and receiving the prize on the designated day of December 10, 1905.

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

Manon Rhéaume

Manon_Rhéaume_cropped.jpg
By Manon_Rheaume2.jpg: Tsunami330derivative work: TFCforever (talk) – Manon_Rheaume2.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Hockey is certainly no sport for lightweights. For many, taking shots from a bunch of big men with sticks might seem like a risky business, but to French Canadian Manon Rhéaume, it’s the sport she loved. She is goalie for the Atlanta Knights and, as such, is the first woman to play professional hockey in the men’s leagues. At five feet six and 135 pounds, Manon is slight compared to many of her team members and opponents, but she has proven her ability to stop a puck. The world is finally taking none of women’s ability to play this sport overall; in the year 1998, women’s ice hockey became a full medal sport at the Winter Olympics, no small thanks to Manon and others like her.

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.