Frederick Douglass February 1, 1818 - February 20, 1895
Most famous for his autobiography Douglass has given readers, students, and historians a look at what life as a slave was like during slavery’s end in the United States. His story is one of endurance and to many is seen as an important part of American history with the determination of one man showing that freedom is worth fighting for no matter the opposition. Before gaining his freedom in 1830, Douglass learned how to read from a combination of determination and cunning. However, he did not hoard what he learned, but would often teach others exposing others to possibilities. After gaining his freedom Douglass would spend his life advocating the rights for Black Americans and for women as well.
Alice Walker February 9, 1944 - Present
The Pulitzer Prize winning author behind the world renown book The Color Purple (1982) told the story of an African American woman dealing with the issues of both racism and patriarchal culture within African American communities. She started her career as an activist at Spelman College where she met her mentor Howard Zinn who is best known for his activism during the Civil Rights movement. Through her capacity as an author, she became a leader in the Black Arts movement. Walker has dedicated her life to boast social justice and activism through both her writings and time.
Leymah Gbowee February 1, 1972 to Present
A peace and women’s rights activist Gbowee is best known for leading the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that is said to have brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Gbowee’s focus was to better her nation and for the betterment of women. She has worked alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for this goal. During the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1996) she faced the ravages of war at a young age and from this experience she would join UNICEF to become a social worker to aid those with the trauma of war. For her work she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.