February 19, 2016

2 Examples of Fighting for Human Rights

The deeds and misdeeds of men throughout history are usually well documented. Men often played a more prominent role, due to gender inequality. Therefore, they were able to put their own spin on people and events. History is written by the victors.

There’s a well-known axiom that behind every successful man is a successful/powerful woman.  I’d say that holds true whether one is President of the United States, or a struggling author whose wife refuses to let him quit. Just ask Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Stephen King.

But, what of the gazillions of women who made a mark on history, in their own way? They can be unsung heroes who passed down legacies of mental stability, love and spirituality. That describes Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother. Alternatively, they may be brave souls who pioneered the battles for civil rights, equal rights, or any other kind of rights.

Harriet Tubman

On America: Facts vs. Fiction, I learned more about this amazing woman.  She was about my height; she wasn’t even five feet tall. Yet, this escaped slave was the powerhouse behind freeing hundreds of slaves.

A remarkable fact is that she made somewhere between 15 and 19 trips back to the same plantation where she had been enslaved in order to free others. She was probably successful because she insisted everyone follow her guidelines or leave the group. She knew the dangers of being caught, and she wouldn’t let anyone jeopardize the mission.

Perhaps a lesser-known fact is that Harriet Tubman also became a spy for the Union (northern) army.  She led them to various southern plantations where they freed many slaves.

Nancy Astor (Lady Astor)

I learned more about this lady through the Smithsonian Channel series, Million Dollar American Princesses. When her husband became a lord, he had to give up his seat in the House of Commons of the British Parliament. However, that didn’t apply to his wife.

She was the first female member of Parliament--around 1920. She was also born in America. Those were two huge hits against her in both the society and the politics of the day. Nevertheless, she was a towering figure on the political scene for decades. She was certainly an advocate for a variety of social reforms during that time.

Obviously, the going was initially rough. She was one woman among hundreds of delegates. She was assigned a seat in the middle of a row. She was also ignored and ridiculed. Yet, she refused to back down.

Sensitivity and insecurity don’t hold up in a man’s world. Lady Astor was known for her wit and intelligence. Crowds of all types loved her, not just those of her own class.

She and fellow member, future Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, often traded barbs. Here are two humorous examples:

  • She asked him in later years why he ignored her when she first entered Parliament.  He said something about how seeing a woman in Parliament made him feel like he was standing naked in a bathroom. She replied that no woman would want to see him naked, anyways, because of his appalling appearance.
  • On another occasion, Lady Astor stated that she would poison his coffee if she were married to him. He replied simply that he would be happy to drink it, in that case.
Both of these towering figures had American ties. Churchill was half American. His mother was Jenny Jerome. His father was Randolph Churchill, the third son of the Duke of Marlborough. Lady Astor was born and raised in America. 

My Conclusion

Lesson here? Watch out for Americans, especially us women; we don’t put up with @#@#!

We were born in freedom, and we plan to stay that way!

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”—Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

How have you stood up for your rights?

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