It Takes Just One Voice To Start A Revolution
Most times, it is difficult to believe the saying, “One man [or woman] can change the world”. Written below are women who have proven the true worth of the statement time and time again:
Mary McLeod Bethune
For a very long time, African-American women were not allowed to vote and this did not change till the early 1990’s. Mary McLeod Bethune was a well-known activist and educator who made sure that she and other African-American women exercised their rights to vote. She raised money to pay the poll tax in Daytona, Florida and also taught women how to pass their literacy test. Bethune also founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935 to advocate for black women.
Coretta Scott King
Her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., might be the more famous one, but Coretta Scott King also played a huge role in the American Civil Rights movement. After the assassination of her husband, King broadened the scope of her work to include women’s rights and world peace while carrying the mantle of her husband for equal rights for African Americans. She founded the King Centre and spoke at numerous protests and rallies around the world.
After hundreds of young girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria in 2014 by terrorist group Boko Haram, Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Federal Minister of Education of Nigeria and Vice President of the African division of World Bank, started the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. Ezekwesili launched the movement at a rally in Nigeria and it spread over social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, putting global attention on the issue.
Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan-born activist who founded the Green Belt Movement. This organisation focussed on planting of trees, conservation and women’s rights. Although she passed away in 2011, she became the first African women to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her contribution to sustainability and peace.
Rosa Parks became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement for her simple gesture of resistance in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.
The gesture was a grand statement in Montgomery, Alabama (which was segregated at the time), and she was arrested for civil disobedience. She became an important symbol of desegregation protest, and her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott was essential to its success.