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Thu Feb 20, 2014, 10:33 AM

how many of these early black feminists do you know?


How Many of These Early Black Feminists Do You Know?

Though black feminists have wielded social media to make willful strides into public consciousness, black feminism is nothing new. The challenge of being doubly oppressed as a black woman has always colored feminist conversations, and minority women rarely have the luxury of fighting solely on behalf of their gender. The question of intersectionality predates hashtags and Twitter feminism and goes all the way back to impasses such as the one between black journalist Ida B. Wells and white suffragist Frances Willard. Wells implored Willard to acknowledge the evil of lynching, while Willard, blinded by her race and class privileges, believed black men to be deserving targets.

Though not always recognized, black women have always made forays into the feminist dialogue to ensure black women and girls don’t remain an afterthought. In celebration of Black History Month, here are 11 early black feminists, in no particular order—some you’ve learned about and some you probably haven’t.


Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)



One of the most prominent black scholars in American history, Cooper was the fourth African American woman to earn a PhD when she graduated from University of Paris-Sorbonne in 1924. Having been born in slavery in Raleigh, N.C., Cooper used both her lived experience with racism and her scholastic ability to pen her first book in 1892, A Voice from the South: By a Woman from the South. The book, in which Cooper argued for the self-determination of black women, is considered the first volume of black feminist thought in the U.S.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)



An abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Truth was also born into slavery, but escaped with her young daughter. She later went to court to obtain freedom for her son, becoming the first black woman to win such a case. Her famous speech on gender inequity, “Ain’t I a Woman” was delivered in 1851 at a women’s rights convention in Akron, OH, and has endured as a raw and powerful utterance of the tribulations and burdens black women shoulder.
Amy Jacques Garvey


Amy Jacques Garvey (1895-1973)



Garvey, the second wife of black nationalist Marcus Garvey, was a daunting intellectual and social activist in her own right. A gifted journalist, she worked as a columnist for Negro World in Harlem and often discussed the intersectionality of race, gender and class as it pertained to black women. She wrote once in an essay, “The will more readily sing the praises of white women than their own; yet who is more deserving of admiration than the black woman, she who has borne the rigors of slavery, the deprivations consequent on a pauperized race, and the indignities heaped upon a weak and defenseless people? Yet she has suffered all with fortitude, and stands ever ready to help in the onward march to freedom and power.”

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

An activist for civil rights and suffrage, Terrell was one of the first African American women to earn a college degree when she graduated from Oberlin College in 1884. A close of acquaintance of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, she campaigned for racial equality, becoming a well-known activist in Washington, D.C. A writer and the first president of of the National Association of Colored Women, many of her works, including “A Plea for the White South by a Colored Woman” and “A Colored Woman in a White World,” focused on the status of black women in society. Terrell was also a founding member of the NAACP and helped organize the black sorority Delta Sigma Theta.

. . . .

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/02/19/how-many-of-these-early-black-feminists-do-you-know/

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Reply how many of these early black feminists do you know? (Original post)
niyad Feb 2014 OP
thucythucy Feb 2014 #1
niyad Feb 2014 #6
leftyohiolib Feb 2014 #2
niyad Feb 2014 #4
leftyohiolib Feb 2014 #7
RainDog Feb 2014 #37
leftyohiolib Feb 2014 #38
RainDog Feb 2014 #46
niyad Feb 2014 #54
gopiscrap Feb 2014 #3
niyad Feb 2014 #5
MadrasT Feb 2014 #8
niyad Feb 2014 #12
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #9
niyad Feb 2014 #11
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #45
RedRoses323 Feb 2014 #10
niyad Feb 2014 #13
Harmony Blue Feb 2014 #14
Pretzel_Warrior Feb 2014 #15
RBStevens Feb 2014 #28
alp227 Feb 2014 #16
niyad Feb 2014 #18
WinkyDink Feb 2014 #48
RBStevens Feb 2014 #49
WinkyDink Feb 2014 #50
myrna minx Feb 2014 #56
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #27
RBStevens Feb 2014 #17
niyad Feb 2014 #19
uppityperson Feb 2014 #23
RBStevens Feb 2014 #25
uppityperson Feb 2014 #26
RBStevens Feb 2014 #29
kenichol Feb 2014 #20
niyad Feb 2014 #21
AverageJoe90 Feb 2014 #39
stevenleser Feb 2014 #22
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2014 #24
Starry Messenger Feb 2014 #30
niyad Feb 2014 #32
TBF Feb 2014 #40
gwheezie Feb 2014 #31
etherealtruth Feb 2014 #33
niyad Feb 2014 #34
Jamaal510 Feb 2014 #35
CFLDem Feb 2014 #36
TBF Feb 2014 #41
niyad Feb 2014 #43
MerryBlooms Feb 2014 #42
niyad Feb 2014 #44
Number23 Feb 2014 #47
myrna minx Feb 2014 #51
niyad Feb 2014 #53
TheSarcastinator Feb 2014 #52
niyad Feb 2014 #55
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #57
niyad Feb 2014 #58

Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 10:38 AM

1. This is a great read.

Thanks for posting.

You might want to cross post, if you haven't already, in the History of Feminism thread.

Thanks again, and best wishes.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:45 AM

6. you are most welcome.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:09 AM

2. thankyou for posting this but what about ms Ida wells or Mary McLeod Bethune

 

ms tubman i learned about in school

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:44 AM

4. nobody said this was THE definitive list, merely some, including those who

might not be so familiar to all of us.

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Response to niyad (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:48 AM

7. yes,true,there were and are many brave women

 

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 09:47 PM

37. Ida Wells was always one of my heros

I could only hope to be half as brave.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #37)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 09:52 PM

38. from wiki. "They had made me an exile and threatened my life for hinting at the truth."

 

ida bell wells

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Response to RainDog (Reply #46)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 10:10 AM

54. thank you for those links. have them bookmarked.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:19 AM

3. Excellent, I knew a little bit but this is a great article

Thanks for sharing

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 11:45 AM

5. you are most welcome.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:06 PM

8. K&R for inspiration.

Thanks niyad.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:23 PM

12. you are most welcome.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:09 PM

9. Some other noted black women from Oberlin College's history...

In addition to Mary Church Terrell, who was profiled in the OP...

Mary Jane Patterson (1840-94) was the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in the United States when she graduated from Oberlin College in 1862. Her parents came to Oberlin in her early youth, probably as fugitive slaves. Upon graduation, she taught in the Institute for Colored Youths for seven years in Philadelphia. In 1869, she started teaching in Washington, DC, and in 1871, became the first African American principal of the newly established Preparatory High School for Negroes.

Edmonia Lewis (1843-?) was a sculptor famous for drawing on themes of African American slavery and emancipation. She attended Oberlin College and left in 1862 due to a scandal. She was accused of poisoning two of her white friends. Oberlin alumnus John Mercer Langston, however, represented Lewis, and she was proven innocent. She left and after briefly working in Boston, moved to Rome in 1865. At that time, Oberlin was one of the few institutions in the United States to admit female and African American students. Attending Oberlin made a huge influence on her; it enabled her to start studying arts. The Death of Cleopatra, a life-size sculpture by Lewis, is on long-term loan to the Allen Memorial Art Museum. Lewis was the first African American sculptor to achieve national and international recognition for her portraits of abolitionists and for her depictions of ethnic and religious themes. Later, the college established the Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgender People to represent anti-heterosexism and anti-racism and offer a safe space on campus to support and advocate for those disenfranchised based on gender, cisgender, or transgender.

And some still making history...

Jacqueline Berrien was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She received a bachelor’s degree in English with High Honors in government from Oberlin College, and attended Harvard Law School, where she worked as a general editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Her nomination is still pending.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (1970-present) is a politician and 49th mayor of Baltimore, the second woman and the youngest mayor in the city’s history. In 1992 she graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in political science.

Thanks for this thread, Niyad!

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:23 PM

11. thank you for adding to this list. some truly remarkable women.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:47 AM

45. Some more on Edmonia Lewis

http://www.biography.com/people/edmonia-lewis-9381053

I'm convinced if she were white there would have been a score of books and movies based on her extraordinary life.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:12 PM

10. Thank you!

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Response to RedRoses323 (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:24 PM

13. you are most welcome.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:24 PM

14. Good post

thank you.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:25 PM

15. Personally? None of them

 

They all departed prior to my arrival.

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Response to Pretzel_Warrior (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:54 PM

28. Well, there you go

 

women's history, especially the history of women who are not white, is of little/no value.

Most of them departed before my arrival too but I was at least familiar with Sojourner Truth.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:30 PM

16. Sojourner Truth, and my public school education NEVER mentioned that dreaded F-word!

no wonder our nation is deep in misogynshit. NCLB has censored ANY "inconveniences" like feminism and the labor movement from the classroom.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:33 PM

18. it is a sad commentary indeed on what passes for "education" in this country.

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Response to niyad (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:35 PM

48. I taught "Ain't I a Woman?" to h.s. students.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #48)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:43 PM

49. Some of the very best oratory EVER

 

thank you for sharing the link

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Response to RBStevens (Reply #49)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 07:53 AM

50. :-)

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #48)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 10:15 AM

56. Thank you for the link. That looks like a wonderful site.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:53 PM

27. Hell, when I was attending public school...

...many, many, many moons ago, the word "slavery" was barely even mentioned in history class and you never heard a peep about women. My real education came from the public library and the "other histories" we weren't supposed to know about, much less talk about.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:33 PM

17. This jumped out at me

 

"minority women rarely have the luxury of fighting solely on behalf of their gender".

People often try to deflect/redirect feminist energy by implying that not enough is being done about racism. It is sadly necessary to remind those people that half of all people of color are female.

Thank you for posting this in general discussion.

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Response to RBStevens (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:34 PM

19. you are most welcome.

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Response to RBStevens (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 02:56 PM

23. Hi, I do not understand what you mean. Would you please clarify for me? Thanks

"People often try to deflect/redirect feminist energy by implying that not enough is being done about racism. It is sadly necessary to remind those people that half of all people of color are female. "

What do you mean? Thanks

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #23)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:43 PM

25. I'll try -

 

Perhaps I could have worded it like, 'by implying that my advocacy/energy would be better spent on racism because racism is a *bigger issue*'

Yes, racism is a really big issue but so is sexism. I choose to expend the political energy I can afford on women's issues and by extension, since half of all people of color are female, I am also expending a good deal of that energy on racism because not all female people are white.

My point is that it is normally men who are asking those of us who focus on women's girls' issues to re-focus our energy to a *main* cause that includes men. And women's issues (all of them, including racism) do not.

One edit, I want to add that women who experience racism and sexism do have a double burden of course, no question about that!

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Response to RBStevens (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:52 PM

26. thanks for clarifying, I thought that was what you meant but have found asking

for clarification helps me avoid the excess energy needed in jumping to conclusions based on assumptions.

I am in agreement with what you write, thanks

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #26)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:56 PM

29. You're welcome! And thank you for asking :)

 

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:53 PM

20. African American Month

Your posting this in February (African American Month) is a great way of reminding us all of those brave feminists abolitionist and women’s rights activist of earlier days and their contribution toward a real and lasting equality of the races and genders. Thank you!

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Response to kenichol (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 12:57 PM

21. you are most welcome.

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Response to kenichol (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 10:15 PM

39. Seconded! nt

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 01:00 PM

22. K&R nt

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 02:58 PM

24. I only recognized two of them. n/t

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:58 PM

30. k&r

Fantastic list. May I add Claudia Jones?



http://www.politicalaffairs.net/claudia-jones-a-life-in-the-struggle/



<snip>

In the post war period, Jones' published numerous articles criticizing the emerging Cold War mentality offered by the likes of Winston Churchill, rejected the anti-Semitism of the ultra right and the anti-Communists, called for end to lynching and terrorism against African Americans, and opposed the anti-labor Taft-Hartley law. In 1947, Jones accepted the position of chair of the National Women's Commission of the Communist Party. It was during her tenure at this post that Jones first formulated the theory of the triple oppression of working-class women of color who represent a 'vital link' to a 'heightened sense of consciousness' of the need for a common, united struggle against oppression and exploitation. In her report to the Communist Party’s 1950 national convention, Jones asserted the need to 'demonstrate that the economic, political and social demands of Negro women are not just ordinary demands, but special demands, flowing from special discrimination facing Negro women as women, as workers and as Negroes.' Jones also viewed racial oppression as a strong motivation and justification for proponents of U.S. imperialism and aggressive wars, making international solidarity, a strong peace movement, and a vigorous movement for equality more necessary than ever.

<snip>

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #30)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 07:43 PM

32. thank you for bringing us this amazing woman. pkease fel free to include others.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #30)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 08:05 AM

40. ...

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 04:17 PM

31. Shirley Chisholm

“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: "It's a girl.”
― Shirley Chisholm
Ms Chisholm was elected to congress when I was just becoming politically aware as a young teenager, she was my 1st political hero.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 07:46 PM

33. Not neaarly enough

Great post!

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Response to etherealtruth (Reply #33)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 07:53 PM

34. it was my pleasure.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 08:19 PM

35. Except for Sojourner,

I've never heard of any of them in my life. This country needs more than 1 month (albeit the shortest month of the year) for Black History. It's a shame that I was never even taught the full history of my own people!

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 09:29 PM

36. One

 

I know one. Where's my prize?

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 08:14 AM

41. May I add Lucy Stanton?

Lucy Stanton Day Sessions (1831-1912) became the first black American to graduate from a four-year college when she received a Literary Degree from Oberlin in 1850.

A Plea For The Oppressed
by Lucy Stanton (1850)

When I forget you, Oh my people, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, and may my right hand forget her cunning! Dark hover the clouds. The Anti-Slavery pulse beats faintly. The right of suffrage is denied. The colored man is still crushed by the weight of oppression. He may possess talents of the highest order, yet for him is no path of fame or distinction opened. He can never hope to attain those privileges while his brethren remain enslaved. Since, therefore, the freedom of the slave and the gaining of our rights, social and political, are inseparably connected, let all the friends of humanity plead for those who may not plead their own cause.

Reformers, ye who have labored long to convince man that happiness is found alone in doing good to others, that humanity is a unit, that he who injures one individual wrongs the race;—that to love one's neighbor as one's self is the sum of human virtue—ye that advocate the great principles of Temperance, Peace, and Moral Reform will you not raise your voice in behalf of these stricken ones!--will you not plead the cause of the Slave?

Slavery is the combination of all crime. It is War.

Much more here: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/stantonaplea.html

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Response to TBF (Reply #41)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:29 AM

43. thank you for adding this amazing woman

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 08:25 AM

42. Bookmarked-

Thanks for posting and thanks to all the others for contributing additional info.

Great thread.

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Response to MerryBlooms (Reply #42)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:29 AM

44. you are most welcome

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:30 PM

47. Bookmarking!!

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 07:56 AM

51. Wonderful article! Thanks so much for posting. K&R

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Response to myrna minx (Reply #51)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 09:33 AM

53. you are most welcome

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 09:10 AM

52. I know a few; not nearly enough

thank you for the education. This type of article is much more transformative than the "let's villify each other based on gender stereotypes" and the "hey, look: swimsuit models! whats da madder wichoo angry broads anyway?" posts. Thank you!

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 10:12 AM

55. kick for weekend crowd

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 11:22 AM

57. To Barbara Jordan... an inspirational hero since the time of my political infancy

Oh, how I miss her. From the moment you first heard Barbara's impassioned eloquence, you couldn't wait to claim yourself as a Democrat.

Bio:
http://www.biography.com/people/barbara-jordan-9357991

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #57)

Sat Feb 22, 2014, 07:49 PM

58. truly a most remarkable woman.

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