March 2022 – Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month! In this edition of First Fridays, we highlight books, tv, films, and podcasts that discuss the lives and history of women – black, white, asian transgender, cisgender, past, present, future, and more. Throughout recent events like the invasion of Ukraine, anti-trans legislation, and the ongoing pandemic, we are reminded of the women today and before us who have persisted through conflict, discrimination and more. These women past and present have taught us, fought for our human rights, and supported our societies despite immense challenges. Below is just a small collection of women, past and present, who have persevered.
No Man’s Land by The Wing (available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and others)
A history podcast about women who were too bad for your textbooks. Follow along with Alexis Coe, The Wing’s in-house historian, as she shares the stories of the rulebreakers of yesteryear. From a 1930s Harlem gangstress to 1960s LGBT activists, learn more about these legendary women who refused to follow the rules.
The True Story of Toypurina (48 mins, August 2020) episode of 34 Circe Salon — Make Matriarchy Great Again — Disrupting History. Available on Google Play & others. She was a revolutionary who tried to free her people, but her story was lost to time… until now.
Toypurina was a shaman and high-status woman in her Native American tribe (the Kizh nation) when she led a rebellion against the brutal Spanish rule– yet she was barely out of her teens. Guided by mystical forces she fought bravely. Though her rebellion did not last, she planted seeds of defiance that would stay with her people forever.
Learn more about Toypurina at https://wams.nyhistory.org/settler-colonialism-and-revolution/settler-colonialism/toypurina/
The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson available via Netflix (streaming, 2017)
As she fights the tide of violence against trans women, activist Victoria Cruz probes the suspicious 1992 death of her friend Marsha P. Johnson
Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority – Documentary, 58 mins, 2008.
In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the US presidency and was the driving force behind Title IX, the landmark legislation that transformed women’s opportunities in higher education and athletics.
Mink was an Asian American woman who fought racism and sexism while redefining US politics. Her tumultuous, often lonely political journey reveals what can be at stake for female politicians that defy expectations, push limits and adhere to their principles. Mink encountered sexism within her own party, whose leaders disliked her independent style and openly maneuvered against her. And her liberal views, particularly her vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, engendered intense criticism.
A compelling portrait of an iconoclastic figure that remains seldom spotlighted in history books, this film illuminates how Mink’s daring to remain “ahead of the majority” in her beliefs enabled groundbreaking changes for the rights of the disenfranchised. A woman of the people as well as a pioneer, a patriot and an outcast, Patsy Mink’s intriguing story embodies the history, ideals and spirit of America.
Self Made Inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker available via Netflix (series, 2020)
An African American washerwoman rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Based on a true story.
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs with Scott Kurashige
A world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is unraveling before our eyes. In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements—for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times. From her home in Detroit, she reveals how hope and creativity are overcoming despair and decay within the most devastated urban communities. Her book is a manifesto for creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction that will collectively constitute the next American Revolution.
Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America by Amy Reed et. al
From Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, and more of your favorite YA authors comes an anthology of essays that explore the diverse experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America.
This collection of twenty-one essays from major YA authors—including award-winning and bestselling writers—touches on a powerful range of topics related to growing up female in today’s America, and the intersection with race, religion, and ethnicity. Sure to inspire hope and solidarity to anyone who reads it, Our Stories, Our Voices belongs on every young woman’s shelf.
This anthology features essays from Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, Ilene Wong (I.W.) Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Kaleigh Nelles is a member of the Progress North Community Contributor Team