Josephine Baker, later known as ‘Bronze Venus’, ‘Black Pearl’ and ‘Créole Goddess’ was born in America in 1906 and later moved to France to become a singer, dancer, and actress. She was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture, and became famous worldwide.
Though she grew up as a maid in wealthy white households she eventually became an exotic dancer in France, famously appearing in next to no clothing, and became a French citizen in 1937.
Ernest Hemingway referred to Baker as ‘the most sensational woman anyone ever saw’ and she received approximately 1500 marriage proposals in her life time. She became a muse for Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Christian Dior. She had a variety of exotic pets including a cheetah named Chiquita, a chimpanzee named Ethel, a pig named Albert, a snake named Kiki, a goat, a parrot, parakeets, fish, three cats, and seven dogs.
When WWII broke out, Baker became a volunteer spy for France, and assisted the French Resistance by smuggling messages written in invisible ink on sheet music. She made great efforts to aid those in danger of enemy attack, sent Christmas presents to French soldiers, and smuggled information she gathered in Spain back to France by pinning notes containing the information on the inside of her underwear. She was awarded the Medal of Resistance with Rosette and later named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Baker also aided many civil rights movements by refusing to perform to segregated audiences and storming out of a club in Manhattan with actress Grace Kelly after she was refused service. She worked with the NAACP and spoke at a Washington march alongside Martin Luther King Jr. as the only official female speaker. Baker was actually asked by Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow to take his place as leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, but Baker declined on the grounds her twelve adopted children ‘were too young to lose their mother’.
Baker died in 1975, four days after her final show, attended by such names as Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, and Liza Minnelli.
Oh and she was queer and had a relationship with Frida Kahlo. All around badass.
According to the text of the Madrid manuscript of the “Synopsis historion,” a Byzantine chronicle written by John Skylitzes, “There were some Varangians dispersed in the Thrakesion theme for the winter. One of them coming across a woman of the region in the wilderness put the quality of her virtue to the test. When persuasion failed he resorted to violence, but she seized his Persian-type sword, struck him in the heart and promptly killed him. When the deed became known in the surrounding area, the Varangians held an assembly and crowned the woman, presenting her with all the possessions of her violator, whom they threw aside, unburied, according to the law concerning assassins.” In the image depicting these occurrences, the woman uses a spear to kill her attacker, and the other Varangian men approach her with armfuls of clothing.
hell yeah fuckin right
This is the cover of a short comic I made for school about Khutulun, a real life 13th century Mongolian princess who rode into battle with her father and wouldn’t agree to marry unless the suitor could defeat her in a wrestling match.
This is Sybil Ludington. Today is her birthday.
Sybil is not very well known and it’s a crying shame. The 16-year old was personally thanked by George Washington for her heroic feat, riding twice the distance of Paul Revere and warning the militia and rebellion sympathizers of the sacking of Danbury, CT. But thanks to Longfellow’s severely historically inaccurate poem, more people remember Revere’s ride than hers. *sighs*
By the way? Revere got captured by the British after his stint and had a ton of other riders out on the roads with him or to switch off with. Sybil Ludington was by herself, in the rain, and she beat highwaymen trying to stop her doing her duty WITH A STICK, still managing to get the job done and home safe.
Thanks, Syb. You should make everyone happy inside with your pure badassery.
Who is this lovely lady that my history class has never even mentioned?! Augh! (Although a little googling indicates that her birthday is the 16th, not the 6th.)
Queen Tamar of Georgia. Ruled the Kingdom of Georgia from 1184-1213.
Even though her father left her the throne, a lot of her counselors were wary about having a woman rule, so they picked out a husband for her - Yuri, Prince of the Rus’ (Russia). She complied, but when he started getting drunk and abusing her, she called off the marriage and kicked him out of Georgia. He came back with an army to try and overthrow her, but she and her armies beat them to a pulp and sent them packing.
A lot of neighboring countries tried to invade, actually, because they thought that a woman leader was a sign of weakness.
She showed them otherwise.
She expanded the Kingdom of Georgia to its largest size, created a Golden Era of peace in which the greatest Georgian poetry and art was created, and eventually married her friend and equal, David Soslan, prince of Alan.
She was incredible, guys.
“Her role was to fight alongside the men in a shield wall and her specific role was to plug up the holes in battle when the Vikings were falling. And I play, also, a young mother and a loving wife who has a true partnership and equal relationship with her husband. She’s a very strong woman. She’s definitely modern for her time.”
Katheryn Winnick on playing Lagertha
Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, 1941.
By the end of the war she had killed a confirmed 309 Germans - making her the most successful female sniper in history.
Cathay Williams - Became the first and the only known female Buffalo Soldier. Enlisting in the US Regular Army 1866 at St. Louis, Missouri for a three year engagement, passing herself off as a man.
She is the first African American female to enlist, and the only documented to serve in the United States Army posing as a man under the pseudonym, William Cathay.
Williams travelled with the 8th Indiana, accompanying the soldiers on their marches through Arkansas, Louisiana, and Georgia. She was present at the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Red River Campaign. At one time she was transferred to Little Rock, where she would have seen uniformed African-American men serving as soldiers, which may have inspired her own interest in military service. Later, Williams was transferred to Washington, D.C., where she served with General Philip Sheridan’s command. When the war ended, Williams was working at Jefferson Barracks.
The exact date of Williams’ death is unknown, but it is assumed she died shortly after being denied a pension, probably sometime in 1892. Her simple grave marker would have been made of wood and deteriorated long ago. Thus her final resting place is now unknown.