Comment about unsung civil rights heroine? August 18, 2014 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I recall seeing a comment within the past few months that I am 97% sure was on Metafilter and am trying to hunt down--details are so hazy that I am having trouble searching/Googling. It was about an African-American woman from the late part of the 19th Century or early part of the 20th Century who was an early advocate for civil rights and who is largely overlooked but who has an interesting history. Possibly framed in a "she totally kicked ass" kind of way in said comment. Notably, she managed to get an advanced degree/degrees at a time when that was systemically very challenging. Ring any bells? Know it isn't much to go on.
posted by HonoriaGlossop to MetaFilter-Related at 1:15 PM (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Are you remembering "Who is the most amazing woman who ever lived"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:26 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

That is a great thread, but alas the person who I am thinking of isn't on the list.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 1:41 PM on August 18, 2014

One of the women in the Help Me Identify These Black Heroines question?
posted by jabes at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2014

Perhaps Mary Ellen Pleasant? (via Drunk History)
posted by MikeKD at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2014

Not a Metafilter comment, but are you perhaps thinking of Ida B. Wells?
posted by darksasami at 2:48 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

So far, some wonderful resources, but alas, not what I'm remembering. I believe it may have been a comment on the Blue, though I could also be hallucinating the entire discussion (though I don't think so).
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 4:13 PM on August 18, 2014

I'm having a fuzzy memory of a woman who did what Rosa Parks did, but several years earlier.

Nope, it's not. She was Claudette Colvin.
posted by Solomon at 4:23 PM on August 18, 2014

You know who looks like she led an amazing life? Mary Burnett Talbert:
Mary Morris Burnett Talbert was born in Oberlin, Ohio in 1866. As the only African-American woman in her graduating class from Oberlin College in 1886, Burnett received a Bachelor of Arts degree, then called an S.P. degree. ... Talbert earned a higher education degree at a time when a college education was controversial for European-American women and extremely rare for African-American women. ... As a founder of the Niagara Movement, Talbert helped to launch organized civil rights activism in America.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:24 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

The two people who come to mind for me are Ida B Wells (Kate Beaton did a comic on her a little while ago, possibly you saw that?) and Dorothy Height (not sure if there's been a post on her since her obit).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:54 PM on August 18, 2014

My first idea was Constance Baker Motley, but it looks like we haven't covered her since she died in 2005.

Your comment on the advanced-degree getting made me think of the quiz question posted yesterday by The Green Bag: What pre-WWI civil rights activist found a reputable law school that would admit her (and eventually award her a degree), after she was denied admission to study law at Cambridge, Harvard, and Oxford universities?

I'll check in again when they post the answer.
posted by Sock Ray Blue at 6:17 AM on August 19, 2014

I think Lobster Mitten is right; Dorothy Height was featured on a Google Doodle on March 24, 2014.
posted by mefireader at 1:25 PM on August 19, 2014

It's not Dr. Height (or her fabulous hats), whom I adore(d). Much earlier, post-Civil War into the Gilded Age era, I think. Serendipity led me to it once, perhaps it will lead me to it again. Well, serendipity or AskMe if inspiration doesn't strike in the next couple of days. Thanks for everyone's suggestions, though--much appreciated.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 5:24 PM on August 19, 2014

Answer to that quiz question is Inez Milholland. She sounds like she totally kicked ass, but I don't think she's the heroine you're looking for.
posted by Sock Ray Blue at 7:35 AM on August 20, 2014

Do any of the names on this page about The National Association of Colored Women Clubs (NACWC) ring a bell?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:53 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Anyone from this list spark a memory?
posted by jph at 1:11 PM on August 21, 2014

You might ask the folks at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Could she have been mentioned in Hallie Q. Brown's "Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction"?

Also, look at this glorious photo of Mary McLeod Bethune. Not the person you're seeking, but wow!

Interesting question; please let us know if you find your answer.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:13 PM on August 21, 2014

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