Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree) December 1, 1797 to November 26, 1883
Best known for her speech Ain’t I a Woman? delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. However, before this, Truth had already lived an extraordinary life, escaping slavery on her own initiative and suing for the freedom of her children in 1827 with the aid of the “New York State Emancipation act” of the same year. Soon after she had a spiritual experience that led her to take on the name she is best known by, but more importantly she took to preaching for the abolition of slavery. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, alongside notables, such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. During the Civil War she led the movement to recruit black soldiers to aid the Union with her grandson leading the movement by joining the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. After the war she continued her activism for both women of color and for all black Americans until she passed away from old age in 1883.
Ronan Farrow December 19, 1987 to Present
By all accounts a child prodigy, Farrow received a degree from Bard’s College at the age of fifteen and studied law at Yale Law School at the age of sixteen. Afterwards he studied international relations at Oxford University. During President Obama’s first administration, Farrow served as one of his foreign policies advisors and during his time he established the State Department’s ‘Office of Global Youth Issues.’ His work mostly focused on the needs of women and children in third world countries, most notable Sudan. On top of his work within the government, he is also a notable reporter whose focus is on human rights and foreign policy. For his efforts he was awarded Refugees International’s McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award and the Cronkite Award.
Ryan Wayne White December 6, 1971 to April 8, 1990
An activist more by circumstance than by choice, because it is never anyone’s choice to contract the AIDs virus. White was the first “poster-child” to end discrimination and ignorance related to the virus. Around the time he contracted the virus he was expelled from his middle school in Indiana, this was overturned after a lengthy lawsuit that ended with a victory for White and his family. His case was special in that it ended the long time belief that only gays, minorities, and the poor could contract the disease. His struggles doubled since he had to fight both the virus and the stigma that the disease brought with it. His story gained national attention and support, and because of his efforts and in his memory Congress passed the “Ryan White Care Act” that to this day is the largest provider of aid and education in the United States.