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Women In History Essay Winner: 3rd Place, 8th Grade

Bailie Knight from Slippery Rock Middle School earned third place with her essay on civil rights pioneer, Ida B. Wells


Although no two people are the same, there are two things women can agree on. We want opportunities, to have a voice. And today, we have that because hundreds of women did everything they could.


So, what about those women? The ones that protested and boycotted. Stood for hours, got arrested. We have the right to vote, express our opinions openly, be paid what we deserve, own property, actively take part in politics, get a job that isn't viewed as "a women's duty", have a Women's History Month, all because of these women.


July 1848, the 189o's and extending into the 192o's and into today. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucretia Mott, Marta Coffin Wright, Ida. B Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, and many more, are just a few of the recognizable women that changed history. A few of those women not only advocated for women's rights, but for the civil rights movement and for Black women to be included in the fight for women as well as they were often excluded. And there were so many women who were born soon after the early 1900s that went on to do remarkable things because those women set examples.


It's incredibly hard to pick just one woman from our history to discuss, as there are many extraordinary influential women I could choose from, too many to count. But, I'm going to be focusing on Ida B. Wells.


Although I am not black, I still have incredible admiration for Ida B. Wells. A journalist who used her writing to shine a spotlight on injustice happening towards the late 1800' s involving lynchings, an activist for the early civil rights movement, a co-founder of the NAACP and an educator. It's disappointing that I only learned of her several months ago because truthfully, I've never heard one person around me talk about anyone who had a strong influence during this time besides Susan B. Anthony. Which is why many important Black women of this movement are so overlooked.


Ida started by using her writing to speak up. This is something I truly admire as speaking up through my writing is something I hope to actively do one day and persuade people to listen. She is often an erased/ignored figure in the movement because she's black. She and many other Black women were pushed to the back of a march in Washington, D.C while the white women marched in front. Wells knew this was wrong and marched up front. Ida B. Wells was actively pushed aside for rejecting the racist idea intertwined and normalized within the feminist movement.


There is so much more to learn about Ida and her accomplishments within the women's rights movement, and I encourage you to learn more. She is truly a person I admire and look up to what she took part in and did. Ida B. Wells is often forgotten when learning about women's history even though she was such a strong figure within it.


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...," but what about women?

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