The Quotable Nerdy Civil Rights Activist

As we here in the United States celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr Day, we thought it would be nice to take a moment and celebrate the Civil Rights Movement, especially the many women who influenced it. The women we quote below were all leaders of the Civil Rights Movement; several were recipients  of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. We hope you are as inspired by these quotes — and these women — as we are.

Source: The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Source: The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

“Give light and people will find the way.”

-Ella Baker, Activist

“No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies.”

-Daisy Bates, Journalist

444px-Bethune42h“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”

Mary Mcleod Bethune, Educator and Activist

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

– Rosa Parks, Activist

Mary_church_terrell“Surely nowhere in the world do oppression and persecution based solely on the color of the skin appear more hateful and hideous than in the capital of the United States, because the chasm between the principles upon which this Government was founded, in which it still professes to believe, and those which are daily practiced under the protection of the flag, yawn so wide and deep.”

– Mary Church Terrell, founder of National Association of Colored Women

“Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.”

– Dorothy Height, former president of the National Council of Negro Women

377px-Fannie_Lou_Hamer_1964-08-22“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

– Fannie Lou Hamer, organizer Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”

— Coretta Scott King

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey_Hepburn_black_and_whiteI always wanted to have Audrey Hepburn’s voice with its unique European lilt. Or those distinctive eyebrows. Or that elegant, impeccable style. Alas, the only quality I share with Ms. Hepburn is size 10 feet.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, found herself in front of the camera as a model, and made her first Hollywood movie, Roman Holiday, in 1953. Not only did she get to rollick around Rome with the dreamy Gregory Peck, she earned an Academy Award. She went on to star in such memorable movies as Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, and My Fair Lady.

audrey-hepburn-1992-somalia---Unicef

1992—Audrey in Somalia

But Audrey felt her greatest role was as UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador. Having lived through the German invasion of Holland during World War II, she knew real hunger and suffering. For five years, Ambassador Audrey traveled to over 20 countries witnessing innocent children struggling for survival.  Today the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund continues her work of bringing help and hope to the world’s children.

Audrey Hepburn Quotes:

• For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his hands through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

• People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw anyone out.

• Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands—one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

• The “Third World” is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.

• Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanization of politics.

• Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist. I have seen the miracle of water which UNICEF has helped to make a reality.

You can read about Audrey Hepburn here and here.

Or watch this documentary about the iconic Hepburn style.

DDM coverIn case you missed it…

The winner of the DUCK DUCK MOOSE Giveaway was announced already! Click here to see who won.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Grace Hopper

grace hopperGrace Hopper (1909 – 1992) was born in New York City. In 1928 she graduated from Vassar College, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics and later received a MA and a Ph.D. from Yale University. She is known for being one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. A US Navy rear admiral, Hopper also developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. Nicknamed Amazing Grace, Hopper coined the phrase “debugging” for computer problems, and has had both a US Navy destroyer and a supercomputer named in her honor. You can read more about Grace Hopper HERE.

Grace Hopper Quotes

  • Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
  • Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew.
  • It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
  • A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.

I like these quotes! And while I’ve heard that third one many times, I never knew who to attribute it to. It’s true… but I hope my children don’t find this out for a while…

 

 

 

.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Wilhelmina Cole Holladay

WILHELMINA_HOLLADAY_lorez

Last week, I posted here about the absence of women in an art history textbook, and the founding of The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

thumbnail_visitor_info-nmwa_exterior_photo_tom_field

Photo by Tom Field

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, collector, philanthropist, and cofounder of the museum, is today’s Quotable Nerdy Chick. Her life’s work has been to expose and advance female artists’ contributions to the world.

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay Quotes:

• In my view…art is about beauty. Art reflects our shared humanity, the traits, talents, and qualities that make us human. Art transcends politics, gender, color, religion, age, and nationality. Art is the great unifier.

• When substantial accomplishments and excellence are known, the right to be taken seriously surely will follow. Women should know their heritage which has been so long ignored.

• When I see a work of art, it awes me. I want to share it. Art is one thing everybody can join together to applaud.

• If we can heighten the awareness of great achievement by women artists so they will be included in major museums, and heighten the awareness of the inequities so they’ll be corrected, that’s a step in the right direction.

• …we’re terribly indebted to the feminists. I think some of their activities in promoting were rather unpleasant and harsh, but maybe that’s what you have to do when you’re breaking ground.

• My greatest challenge was to acquire the ability to speak in public. It has helped me so much. See, this helps you and in order to face any challenge, to be successful, you have to be able to sell. The only way you sell is to truly be comfortable in speaking.

Some quotes are taken from an oral history interview with Wilhelmina Holladay, 2005 Aug. 17-2005 Sept. 23, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Learn more about Wilhelmina Holladay here or here.

Portrait credit: Michele Mattei, Wilhelmina Holladay, 2010; Archival ink on cotton rag paper, 30 x 40 in.

100 years ago today….

Women demonstrating, 100 years ago, for the right to vote.

Women demonstrating, 100 years ago, for the right to vote.

Five thousand women marched along Pennsylvania Avenue and demanded the right to vote. This was a huge step toward being awarded that right on August 26, 1920. So today we celebrate Sudan B Anthony’s words of wisdom.  Anthony (1820-1906) is known for her work with the United States’ women’s rights movement. Today, nerdy chicks everywhere salute her eloquence.

Susan B. Anthony Quotes

• It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.

• Men – their rights and nothing more; Women – their rights and nothing less.

• The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball — the further I am rolled the more I gain.

• I can’t say that the college-bred woman is the most contented woman. The broader her mind the more she understands the unequal conditions between men and women, the more she chafes under a government that tolerates it.

• I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.

• If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.

• Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood.

Susan b

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Michelle Rhee

File:Michelle Rhee at NOAA.jpgToday’s Quotable Nerdy Chick is someone I have admired for a long time. Michelle Rhee is the daughter of Korean immigrants who has become a force on the American education stage. Not everyone agrees with her positions — I can’t say that I always do, either — but it is impossible to deny her passion for school reform and her commitment to every child’s right to a quality education.

Michelle started her career as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1997, she founded The New Teacher Project, a non-profit organization that has trained over 43,000 teachers to work in many of our country’s city schools. Between 2007 and 2010, she was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, and when she left that position, she founded StudentsFirst, an organization which is devoted to political advocacy on education reform issues.

Quotes from Michelle Rhee: 

  • “As a nation, we should get engaged and involved in changing laws that are not serving kids.”
  • “Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost?”
  • On the perceived failures of the public education system: “I have talked with too many teachers to believe this is their fault. I know they are working furiously in a system that for many years has not appreciated them — sometimes not even paying them on time or providing textbooks. Those who categorically blame teachers for the failures of our system are simply wrong.”
  • “My job is to hear all the input, and then as the leader, then decide which are the things that I think are going to move student achievement forward in this district. And I have to make those decisions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not listening. It just means I have to choose to take into consideration all of that input.”
  • On teacher’s unions: “People often say to me the teachers unions are here to stay, that they are big players, that I have to find a way to get along. I actually disagree with that. It’s important for us to lay out on the table what we’re willing to do, but what our bottom line is for kids. The bottom line is that if you can’t come to agreement then you have to push your agenda in a different way, and we’re absolutely going to do that.”
  • “Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”

To learn more about Michelle Rhee, click HERE.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Frances Perkins

File:Image FrancesPerkinsAfterRooseveltsDeath.jpgIn 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed a woman named Frances Perkins as Secretary of the Department of Labor. This was the first time a woman held a cabinet position in the United States. She held this position for twelve years, the longest tenure of any Secretary of Labor. That means Frances was not only the first time a woman to enter the presidential line of succession, but that she was in line for the job for over a decade. As astonishing as this is, Frances was probably so used to breaking convention by that point that it hardly shortened her stride. After all, she went to court to defend her right to keep her own name after she got married (in a time when women were really only known by their association with men) and she was sole wage earner in her family. As Secretary of Labor through the New Deal, Frances put a lasting mark on American life and culture. We can thank her for things like social security, unemployment insurance, federal child labor laws, and the federal minimum wage. Find out more about this amazing Nerdy Chick HERE.

Frances Perkins Quotes:

  • “Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees.”
  • “The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.”
  • “I promise to use what brains I have to meet problems with intelligence and courage. I promise that I will be candid about what I know. I promise to all of you who have the right to know, the whole truth so far as I can speak it. If I have been wrong, you may tell me so, for I really have no pride in judgment.”
  • “Most of man’s problems upon this planet, in the long history of the race, have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage.”