We Are Standing On the Shoulders of Giants

Do you know who Hetty Green is? Maybe you know her as the “Witch of Wall Street.” Vilified because she breached the boundaries of proper womanhood and became one of the most successful financiers of her time. 


Rebecca Lee Crumpler started her medical education observing and assisting an aunt that took care of the sick and elderly. She was educated and began working as a nurse by 1852. In 1864, Lee graduated from the New England Female Medical College, becoming the first African American woman to receive an M.D. degree.

In 1773, Phillis Wheatley became the first African American woman poet published, when her book of poetry, Poems on Various SubjectsReligious and Moral, was published in London.

Ana used her education to further the interests of women and girls. She founded several schools for girls, including the College of Mayaguez in 1903, which is now the Mayaguez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. At the beginning of the 20th Century, she wrote the Botany of the Antilles, the most comprehensive study of the flora in the Caribbean.

Inspired by those who helped her, she championed efforts to get more students of color and women enrolled in the sciences. Daly’s father had the aptitude and desire to become a great chemist as well. He couldn’t afford it, so he quit college and worked as a postal worker. In 1988, she established a scholarship at Queens College, in honor of her father.

Wilma Mankiller was the sixth of eleven children. She was born on Mankiller Flats in Oklahoma to a Cherokee father, and a Dutch-Irish mother. She was immediately influenced by her people’s fight for their land and independence. Her foundation of activism began in the home, and her unique native approach combined with her education, made her a leader and a legend.

Grace Lee Boggs died at the age of 100, having dedicated over 70 years of her life to social activism. She fought for civil rights, labor, feminism, the environment, and so many other causes she valued. Born to Chinese immigrant, Ms. Boggs embarked on an odyssey in the states that made her an American Revolutionary.

Williams was the first woman to be recognized alongside the greats of Jazz musicianship. She was involved in the Kansas City Jazz scene in the 20s. She was essential to the Swing Era and Bebop in the 40s. In the 50s her religious beliefs moved her to compose various religious works, including one that was performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Born in 1922, she was the barely younger sister of “pretty & proper” Jeanne, a tomboy and A student whose sharp intellect was always leavened by a kindness that drew people to her. Until her younger brother came along, she was the one who played catch with her dad, read the Great Books she was destined to later teach, never missed a day of school all the way through high school, and picked up a lifelong love of bowling by tagging along to the lanes with her dad to his weekly league play.

“Strengthening our depth perception requires accurately seeing with both eyes. When we see with one eye, our vision is limited in range and devoid of depth. When we add to it the single vision of the other eye, our range vision becomes wider, but we still lack depth. This is only when both eyes see together that we accomplish full vision and accurate depth perception.”

-Gerda Lerner

Friends called her “Daisy” and her siblings called her “Crazy Daisy” was born October 31, 1860 in Savanna Georgia. A strong, independent, resilient woman who historians speculate was dyslexic, was the founder of the Girls Scouts. At a young age she was sent to boarding school and was raised to be loyal, dutiful and respectful of others all traits that Girl Scouts were taught.

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