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Today in Herstory: Phillis Wheatley

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Despite being an African slave, Phillis Wheatley was one of the most renowned poets in pre 19th century America. She was taken from Senegal/Gambia, West Africa and brought to Boston, where she was purchased by prominent colonist John Wheatley. Due to her maturity, she was taught to read and write.  Wheatley was a pioneer of her time, as she became the first significant  Black poet in America. It is documented that Wheatley wrote about 145 poems during her lifetime. The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame both in England and the American colonies. Prominent figures such as George Washington praised her work, which revolved majorly around Christianity and Classicism. She was emancipated as a free woman when John Wheatley passed away.

A Hymn to Humanity, By Phillis Wheatley:

I.
Lo! for this dark terrestrial ball
Forsakes his azure-paved hall
A prince of heav’nly birth!
Divine Humanity behold,
What wonders rise, what charms unfold
At his descent to earth!

II.
The bosoms of the great and good
With wonder and delight he view’d,
And fix’d his empire there:
Him, close compressing to his breast,
The sire of gods and men address’d,
“My son, my heav’nly fair!

III.
“Descend to earth, there place thy throne;
“To succour man’s afflicted son
“Each human heart inspire:
“To act in bounties unconfin’d
“Enlarge the close contracted mind,
“And fill it with thy fire.”

IV.
Quick as the word, with swift career
He wings his course from star to star,
And leaves the bright abode.
The Virtue did his charms impart;
Their G—–! then thy raptur’d heart
Perceiv’d the rushing God:

V.
For when thy pitying eye did see
The languid muse in low degree,
Then, then at thy desire
Descended the celestial nine;
O’er me methought they deign’d to shine,
And deign’d to string my lyre.

VI.
Can Afric’s muse forgetful prove?
Or can such friendship fail to move
A tender human heart?
Immortal Friendship laurel-crown’d
The smiling Graces all surround
With ev’ry heav’nly Art.

Read more about Phillis Wheatley

 

 

 

 

 

Today in Women’s Activism and Herstory: Ms. Magazine and Gloria Steinem

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Gloria Steinem started Ms. Magazine in 1972 with partner and fellow feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin. Ms. Magazine represents the first major publication written by women and for women.  Some of the magazine’s most groundbreaking topics including publishing the names of women who had admitting to having an abortion before it was legal, and a cover story on battered women—making it the first magazine to discuss the topic of domestic violence.  As an avid activist, Ms. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, which is a national information center focused on multiracial children’s education, as well as the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group that continues to work towards advancing the numbers of pro-equality women in elected offices at a national and state level.  Other activist endeavors include the Women’s Media Center, Voters for Choice, and Planned Parenthood.

Learn more about Gloria Steinem

Learn more about Ms. Magazine

Malala Yousafzai proves to us that courageousness and advocacy for women’s rights can from anyone-regardless of age!

Malala rose to prominence because of her persistent activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley where the Taliban had once banned girls from atending school. In 2009, at the age of 11, Malala used a pseudonym while writing for a BBC blog.  She detailed her life under Taliban rule and her views on education for women.  In October 2012, Malala was shot in the head by gunman in northwest Pakistani district of SWAT. But the attack has not stopped her from continuing her advocacy efforts and speaking out about women’s rights.  At only sixteen years old, Malala is truly an inspiration.

Learn more about Malala and the Malala Fund

 

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How much do you know about Moms Rising? Moms Rising is a grassroots organization that helps to garner support and visibility of critical issues facing mothers and families through amplifying women’s voices, holding corporations accountable for fair treatment of women and mothers, and accelerating the grassroots impact on Capitol Hill.  Moms Rising has successfully reached over 1 million supporters.

Learn more about the cause here

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