*1: According to popular history, Saartjie Baartman (more commonly known as Sarah or Sara Baartman) was born in 1789 in the Gamtoos Valley of South Africa. When she was barely in her 20s, she was sold to London by an enterprising Scottish doctor named Alexander Dunlop, accompanied by a showman named Hendrik Cesars. She spent four years in Britain being exhibited. Her treatment caught the attention of British abolitionists, who tried to rescue her, but she claimed that she had come to London on her own accord. In 1814, after Dunlop’s death, she traveled to Paris. With two consecutive showmen, Henry Taylor and S. Reaux, she amused onlookers who frequented the Palais-Royal. She was subjected to examination by Georges Cuvier, a professor of comparative anatomy at the Museum of Natural History. In post-Napoleonic France, sideshows like the Hottentot Venus lost their appeal. Baartman lived on in poverty, and died in Paris of an undetermined inflammatory disease in December 1815. After her death, Cuvier dissected her body, then displayed her remains. For more than a century and a half, visitors to the Museum of Man in Paris could view her brain, skeleton and genitalia until she was buried.
*2: Sojourner Truth (1797 – November 26, 1883) was an African-American abolitionist andwomen’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Sojourner Truth was named Isabella (“Bell”) Baumfreewhen she was born. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on gender inequalities, “Ain’t I a Woman?”, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves.
*3: Harriet Tubman was an American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She was born in Maryland in 1820, and successfully escaped in 1849. Yet she returned many times to rescue both family members and non-relatives from the plantation system. She led hundreds to freedom in the North as the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose.
*4: Gee’s Bend was named for Joseph Gee, an early large land owner from Halifax County, North Carolinawho settled here in 1816. Gee brought 18 African American slaves with him and established a cotton plantation within the bend.
*5: Queen Nzinga Mbande (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663) was a highly intelligent and powerful 17th-century ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (modern-day Angola). Around the turn of the 17th century, Nzinga fearlessly and cleverly fought for the freedom of her kingdoms against the Portuguese, who were colonizing the Central African coast at the time to control the trade of African human beings.To build up her kingdom’s military might, Nzinga offered sanctuary to runaway slaves and Portuguese-trained African soldiers. She stirred up rebellion among the people still left in Ndongo, by then ruled by the Portuguese.
*6: Carlota Lukumí (died 1844) was kidnapped from her Yoruba tribe, brought in chains to Cuba as a child and forced into slavery in the city of Matanzas, working to harvest and process sugar cane under the most brutal of conditions. She was bright, musical, determined and clever. In 1843, she and another enslaved woman named Fermina led an organized rebellion at the Triumvarato sugar plantation. Fermina was locked up after her plans for the rebellion were discovered. Using talking drums to secretly communicate, Carlota and her fellow warriors freed Fermina and dozens of others, and went on to wage a well-organized armed uprising against at least five brutal slave plantation operations in the area. Carlota’s brave battle went on for one year before she was captured, tortured and executed by Spanish landowners.
*7: August 14, 1970, a massive attempt to arrest Angela Davis began. On August 18, 1970, four days after the initial warrant was issued, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover made Angela Davis the third woman and the 309th person to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.Soon after, Davis became a fugitive and fled California. According to her autobiography, during this time she hid in friends’ homes and moved from place to place at night. On October 13, 1970, FBI agents found her at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in New York City.President Richard M. Nixon congratulated the FBI on its “capture of the dangerous terrorist, Angela Davis”.
*8: McDaniel received a plaque-style Oscar, approximately 5 1/2 x 6 inches, the type awarded to all Best Supporting Actors and Actresses at that time.) Yet on the night McDaniel became the first black American to be honored by the motion picture industry, she could not escape being reminded of how far the industry and the country had yet to go to overcome racism: McDaniel and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two, apart from both herGone with the Wind colleagues and those in the motion picture industry.
*9: Sophie Redmond werd geboren te Paramaribo als dochter van de onderwijzer Philippus Redmond en Adolfina Herku. Na de lagere school en de MULO met HBSmet goed gevolg te hebben doorlopen, wilde ze in 1925 ingeschreven worden op de Geneeskundige School. Haar vader raadde het haar af; onderwijzeres worden was in die tijd voor een zwarte vrouw het hoogst haalbare. De directeur van de school weigerde haar aanvankelijk in te schrijven. Maar Redmond zette door, en ondanks alle discriminatie die zij tijdens haar studie ondervond studeerde ze in 1935 af, als eerste Creoolse vrouw. Vervolgens vestigde Redmond zich als arts in Paramaribo. Ze behandelde arme patiënten dikwijls gratis, en gaf ook adviezen over huwelijksproblemen en financiële problemen. Aanvankelijk deed ze dat alleen in haar artsenpraktijk, maar later ook via radiopraatjes in het Sranantongo onder de titel Datra mi wan aksi joe wan sani (Dokter mag ik u wat vragen?)
*10: Miriam Makeba nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist. In the 1960s, she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music around the world. She is best known for the song “Pata Pata”n 1966, Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording together with Harry Belafonte for An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba. The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid, and it was one of the first American albums to present traditional Zulu, Sotho and Swahili songs in an authentic setting.
*11: Shirley Chisholm(1924–2005)- was “a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself,” Shirley Chisholm. Those are the words that she asked to be remembered by. Let us not forget that she was a U.S Representative, the first (African American) women to run for presidency, and the first black woman to be elected into congress.
Website Patricia Kaersenhout