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Noted Social Reformers and Educators

A collection of social reformers and educators from throughout history.

  • Amelia Bloomer (born 1818, died 1894)

    American feminist.

    • Notorious as an advocate of sensible clothing for women
  • Betty Friedan (born 1921)

    American author and feminist.

    • Founded the National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist organization in the United States, in 1966
  • Carrie Chapman Catt (born 1859, died 1947)

    American suffragette.

    • Instrumental in the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote
  • Clara Barton (born 1821, died 1912)

    American educator. Founded the American Red Cross in 1882.

    • President of the American Red Cross, 1882-1904
  • Dorothea Dix (born 1802, died 1887)

    American philanthropist, teacher and crusader for the mentally ill.

    • Served as superintendent of women nurses in the U.S. Civil War, in the face of strong opposition from the medical establishment
  • Dorothy Day (born 1897, died 1980)

    American activist and author.

    • Founded the Catholic Worker Movement, 1933
  • (Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt (born 1884, died 1962)

    American author, lecturer, social activist and first lady. Niece of President Theodore Roosevelt.

    • Active in the Women''s League of Voters and Women''s Trade Union League
  • Elizabeth P. Peabody (born 1804, died 1894)

    American educator.

    • Founded the first kindergarten in the U.S.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton (born 1815, died 1902)

    American suffragette and writer.

    • With Lucretia Mott, led the 1848 women''s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York
  • Emma Hart Willard (born 1787, died 1870)

    American educator, activist, and writer.

    • Pioneer in the establishment of institutions for the higher education of women
  • Emma Goldman (born 1869, died 1940)

    Lithuanian-born anarchist, feminist, lecturer, and writer.

    • Twice imprisoned for anarchist activities in America; deported to Russia in 1919
  • Frances E. Willard (born 1839, died 1898)

    American feminist.

    • President of the Women''s Christian Temperance Union; president of the National Council of Women, 1890
  • Gloria Steinem (born 1934)

    American feminist, journalist and author.

    • A leader in the late twentieth-century women''s movement; founder of Ms magazine
  • Harriet Tubman (born 1820, died 1913)

    American abolitionist known for her work on the ''underground railroad.''

    • After her own emancipation, she helped other slaves escape to freedom in the North
  • Helen A. Keller (born 1880, died 1968)

    American author and lecturer. Left blind and deaf by an illness at the age of 19 months.

    • Crusaded for the education of the handicapped
  • Jane Addams (born 1860, died 1935)

    American social reformer and peace advocate. Ran Hull House, 1889-1935.

    • President of the Women''s International League for Peace and Freedom, 1919
  • Lucretia Mott (born 1793, died 1880)

    American abolitionist and feminist.

    • With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention
  • Lucy Stone (born 1818, died 1893)

    American suffragette and editor.

    • The first woman arrested for civil disobedience in the U.S.
  • Margaret Sanger (born 1883, died 1966)

    American nurse and writer who started the U.S. birth-control movement.

    • Founded the National Birth Control league, 1914; organized the first World Population Conference, 1927
  • Maria Montessori (born 1870, died 1952)

    Italian educator and physician.

    • Founded the Montessori schools for children
  • Mary Harris ''Mother'' Jones (born 1830, died 1930)

    Irish-born American labor leader.

    • Organized marches, strikes, and other campaigns to improve conditions for workers
  • Rigoberta Menchú (born 1959)

    Guatemalan Quiché Indian whose father, mother, and brother were tortured and murdered by the Guatemalan government. Activist for the rights of Guatemala's indigenous people.

    • Brought international attention to the plight of Guatemalan natives with her 1984 autobiography I...Rigoberta Menchú
  • Rosa L. Parks (born 1913)

    American civil-rights leader.

    • Her refusal to sit at the back of a bus sparked the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott
  • Rosalynn Smith Carter (born 1927)

    American first lady and social and political activist.

    • Advocate for mental health, early childhood immunization, and human rights; co-founded the Carter Foundation
  • Sarah G. Blanding (born 1899, died 1985)

    American educator.

    • President of Vassar College, 1946-1964
  • Sojourner Truth (died 1883)

    American, born into slavery, who became a powerful voice in the call for equal rights for blacks and women. Original name: Isabella Hardenberg.

    • Gave the famous speech ''''Aint I a Woman'''' at the 1851 Women''s Convention in Akron, Ohio
  • Susan B. Anthony (born 1820, died 1906)

    American abolitionist and feminist leader.

    • First woman to have her face depicted on a U.S. coin
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (born 1759, died 1797)

    English writer and feminist. Mother of author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

    • Considered the mother of the British women''s suffrage movement
  • Angelina Grimké (born 1805, died 1879)

    Daughter of slaveowners who became an abolitionist writer and lecturer.

    • She and her sister, Sarah, were forced out of Charleston for their abolitionist writings
  • Germaine Greer (born 1939)

    Australian feminist and author. Advocate of sexual freedom for women.

    • Wrote The Female Eunuch, 1970
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (born 1858, died 1928)

    British suffragette.

    • Founded the Women''s Social and Political Union, which used radical tactics in its struggle for women''s suffrage
  • Helen Caldicott

    Australian physician and activist.

    • dvocate for nuclear disarmament; founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and
  • Virginia M. Apuzzo (born 1941)

    American feminist, lesbian, and lecturer.

    • Advocate for lesbian and gay rights
  • Charlotta A. Sears Bass (born 1880, died 1969)

    American editor, journalist, publisher, and civil-rights activist.

    • 1952 Progressive party vice-presidential candidate
  • Polly B. Baca (born 1941)

    Hispanic-American activist.

    • Advocate for Hispanic-American education, economic opportunity, minority rights, and women''s rights
  • Kate Barnard (born 1867, died 1930)

    American activist and politician. An advocate for Native American rights, prison reform, and child welfare.

    • The first woman to be elected to a statewide office, serving as Oklahoma commissioner of charities and corrections from 1907 to 1914
  • Donaldina Mackenzie Cameron (born 1869, died 1968)

    Civil-rights activist.

    • Humanitarian, social worker, teacher and missionary
  • Coretta Scott King (born 1927)

    American civil-rights leader. Widow of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • President of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Alice Dunbar (born 1875, died 1935)

    American author, social worker and public speaker.

    • Activist for African-American rights and the rights of women
  • Iola M. Pohocsucut Hayden (born 1934)

    American activist and educator.

    • Advocate for Native American rights
  • Eunice Fiorito (born 1930)

    Social worker.

    • Advocate for rights of the differently abled
  • Emily Davies (born 1830, died 1921)

    British educator and feminist.

    • Founded Girton College at Cambridge, 1873
  • Christabel Harriette Pankhurst (born 1880, died 1958)

    British suffragette and evangelist. Daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst; sister of Sylvia Pankhurst.

    • Drew international attention to the suffrage movement when she was jailed for unfurling a ''''Votes for Women'''' banner at a Liberal Party meeting in 1905
  • Policarpa Salavarrieta (born 1795, died 1817)

    Columbian patriot known as ''La Pola.'' A spy and organizer among Creoles fighting against Spanish rule.

    • Executed at 22 by a firing squad; commemorated by a statue in Bogotá
  • Huda Shaarawi (born 1879, died 1947)

    Egyptian feminist.

    • Founded the All-Arab Federation of Women in 1944

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