Every great dream begins with a dreamer. /Harriet Tubman/
Strange yet fascinating that something said decades, even centuries ago, keeps inspiring and moving people in modern days. Harriet Tubman, Miriam Makeba, Madam C.J. Walker, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama are only some of the fearless women who have inspired me to stand taller, not being afraid to follow my dreams.
I am a dreamer, too. I dream about these women getting more attention and appraisal for what they have achieved in civil rights history.
Who are they?
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist. Ms. Tubman was born into slavery but escaped and subsequently did missions to rescue enslaved people. She used the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Although the facts may vary, in most sources the information is that Harriet Tubman in ten years conducting the Underground Railroad had made 19 trips. Later as an armed scout and spy, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Harriet guided the Comanche River Raid which set free 700 slaves.
She remained illiterate for her entire life, but still, Harriet became involved in the cause for women’s suffrage. She gave public speeches in Boston, New York, and Washington.
An iconic personality in world history whose courage and stubbornness were a MUST HAVE in the 19th century. Harriet inspires me, and I hope you, too.
Madam C.J. Walker (1867–1919)
Walker was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, political and social activist; also the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Ms.Walker made her fortune with Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company cosmetics and hair care products developed to benefit black women's beauty. At a time when jobs for Black women were fairly limited, she promoted female talent, even stipulating in her company’s charter that only a woman could serve as president.
She donated generously to educational causes and Black charities, funding scholarships for women at Tuskegee Institute and donating to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the Black YMCA (Black Young Men’s Christian Association), and dozens of other organizations that helped make Black history.
Madam CJ Walker has shown in her life that with perseverance and faith in yourself, much can be achieved.
Miriam Makeba (1932-2008)
Miriam Makeba, aka Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. She was an advocate against apartheid and the white-minority government in South Africa. When the South African government prevented her from entering her home country, she became a symbol of apartheid's cruelty. She used her position as a celebrity by testifying against apartheid before the UN.
Miriam Makeba is a vivid example of a personality who was able to keep in touch with her homeland through music even in exile for 31 (!) years.
Miriam's South African roots were marked not only by her deep, African-only voice, she also expressed the pride of her homeland through her clothing and hairstyles.
Work on Miriam Makeba led me through emotions that reflected that we are all inhabitants of this planet. It doesn't matter where your home is, it matters what is in your heart and how you show it to the world.
Oprah Winfrey (1954-)
Billionaire media executive and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. From there she launched her own television network, OWN.
She had troubled adolescence in a small farming community in Mississippi, where she was sexually abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother. This woman was beaten down but was able to get up from the ashes like a Phoenix.
Oprah's television career began in 1971 with the Miss Black America competition. After it, Oprah was offered a job on the CBS television channel. Oprah became the first black employee to help a news commentator. The Oprah Winfrey Show was aired in 138 cities and the project's profit exceeded $ 125 million. Oprah became the highest-paid TV presenter.
She has donated over $80 million dollars to various charities and organizations, with most of her money going to three foundations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.
Many others would be broken by childhood as she had, but here again, it proves that strength can be found only in yourself. You have to believe that everything is possible and it will work. Oprah is one the greatest women to look up to and find inspiration to spread love and inspiration around the world
Michelle Obama (1964-)
Ex-first Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama. She was the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.
Michelle Obama has shown the world that it is possible to maintain a balance between love and career, between family and workload. She is my inspiration– an authoritarian personality who can handle the first lady's title. She combines power, femininity and has inspired many women, encouraged them to be themselves and believe in their own strengths.
I have created portraits in the stippling technique honoring these five magnificent women and their admirable legacy. They all hold a special place in my heart, and I hope they will find a way to yours as well.
In the Black History Month Collection, you will find bold designs, bright colors, and hopefully - inspiration to follow your dreams.