Around July Fourth, our country reflects on the brave patriots who brought our country to fruition. We remember Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and who could forget Alexander Hamilton anymore? But somewhere in history, the incredibly women of the Revolution were forgotten. While we are not able to make a post celebrating every single one (that list would go on for miles!), we did want to highlight some of our lesser known favorites!
BETSY ROSS (1752 – 1836) We all remember from elementary school that Betsy Ross sewed the very first U.S. flag, but did you know she was also credited with naming the United States of America? Born eighth out of seventeen children in a large Quaker family, Betsy Ross was as dedicated to the American Revolution as any soldier. When developing the flag, Ross argued for five-point stars against Washington, who wanted 6-point stars – because they required only one snip on folded cloth. Talk about efficiency!
ELIZABETH FREEMAN (unknown – 1829) One fateful day, Elizabeth Freeman read the newly developed Constitution. She saw that “every man is created equal” and it resonated with her. Using the Constitution itself as evidence, Freeman met with a lawyer and sued the state of Massachusetts for her liberation and won. The irony is that she had been a slave for a proponent of the Revolution! Following her emancipation, she worked tirelessly as an abolition advocate.
NANYE’HI (1738 – 1824) Also called Nancy War and Beloved Woman, this Cherokee woman made a splash in the early United States political climate. When her husband was killed in battle, she picked up his gun and led the army to victory. She also served as a negotiator for the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell. This treaty was the first of its kind between the United States and the Cherokee.
SYBIL LUDINGTON (1761 – 1839) In 1777, at just age 16, Sybil Ludington rode on horseback overnight to New York and Delaware, warning them of approaching British troops. Despite saving their lives, and the battles, she’s only ever been given tribute with a poem in 1912 and a postage stamp in 1975. She’s often called the “female Paul Revere,” but maybe we should be calling him the “male Sybil Ludington.”
PHILLIS WHEATLEY (1753 – 1784) As a young child, Phillis Wheatley was taken from West Africa to the United States as a slave. She was incredibly talented with a pen, and around the young age of twenty she published a book of poems – the third woman to do so, and first African American! Soon after, she was granted her freedom from slavery and became an outspoken advocate of both the Revolution and abolition.
LYDIA DARRAGH (1729 – 1789) Nurse and housewife Lydia Darragh overheard British troops discussing plans to attack George Washington’s army in December of 1777. Making up a cover story of fetching groceries, Darragh warned the Revolutionaries and saved their lives. She is considered one o the first U.S. spies and her story is still told in the CIA!
Evidently, women have long served as important historical figures and current members of society. We have not stopped fighting, working, and thriving, despite any obstacles thrown our way. Want to be part of helping other women succeed? Go down in history as a mentor today! Click here to learn more about our various mentorship programs, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!