March is National Women’s History Month, but since women are pretty historic year-round, it begs the question: Why March? Is this month significant to women’s history, or is it just an arbitrary month on the calendar?
The answer involves a little bit of history and a little bit of coincidence.
From day to week to month
Women’s History Month, which is observed in the US, UK and Australia in March, and in October in Canada, began with a single day. International Women’s Day is March 8, and it has been observed in some shape or form since 1911. It was officially commemorated by the United Nations in 1975 and was officially recognized by the UN two years later.
In the 1970’s, local groups and municipalities began celebrating Women’s History Week. According to the National Women’s History Museum, one of the most notable celebrations was organized in Santa Rosa, California, by the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women in 1978.
The movement was so popular, people began lobbying for a more formal observance, and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter designated the first official National Women’s History Week, beginning on March 8 of that year.
Schools, universities and local governments came to realize that this period of time allowed them to not only celebrate the achievements of women, but look critically at equality and opportunities for women, and educate people on women’s history. It was only a matter of time before the week became a month.
Have you heard of the Underground Railroad? Do you know the most famous conductor of the railroad, Harriet Tubman?
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
Tubman was born a slave in Maryland’s Dorchester County around 1820. At age five or six, she began to work as a house servant. Seven years later she was sent to work in the fields. While she was still in her early teens, she suffered an injury that would follow her for the rest of her life. Always ready to stand up for someone else, Tubman blocked a doorway to protect another field hand from an angry overseer. The overseer picked up and threw a two-pound weight at the field hand. It fell short, striking Tubman on the head. She never fully recovered from the blow, which subjected her to spells in which she would fall into a deep sleep.
Around 1844 she married a free black named John Tubman and took his last name. (She was born Araminta Ross; she later changed her first name to Harriet, after her mother.) In 1849, in fear that she, along with the other slaves on the plantation, was to be sold, Tubman resolved to run away. She set out one night on foot. With some assistance from a friendly white woman, Tubman was on her way. She followed the North Star by night, making her way to Pennsylvania and soon after to Philadelphia, where she found work and saved her money. The following year she returned to Maryland and escorted her sister and her sister’s two children to freedom. She made the dangerous trip back to the South soon after to rescue her brother and two other men. On her third return, she went after her husband, only to find he had taken another wife. Undeterred, she found other slaves seeking freedom and escorted them to the North.
Tubman returned to the South again and again. She devised clever techniques that helped make her “forays” successful, including using the master’s horse and buggy for the first leg of the journey; leaving on a Saturday night, since runaway notices couldn’t be placed in newspapers until Monday morning; turning about and heading south if she encountered possible slave hunters; and carrying a drug to use on a baby if its crying might put the fugitives in danger. Tubman even carried a gun which she used to threaten the fugitives if they became too tired or decided to turn back, telling them, “You’ll be free or die.”
By 1856, Tubman’s capture would have brought a $40,000 reward from the South. On one occasion, she overheard some men reading her wanted poster, which stated that she was illiterate. She promptly pulled out a book and feigned reading it. The ploy was enough to fool the men.
Tubman had made the perilous trip to slave country 19 times by 1860, including one especially challenging journey in which she rescued her 70-year-old parents. Of the famed heroine, who became known as “Moses,” Frederick Douglass said, “Excepting John Brown — of sacred memory — I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than [Harriet Tubman].” And John Brown, who conferred with “General Tubman” about his plans to raid Harpers Ferry, once said that she was “one of the bravest persons on this continent.”
Becoming friends with the leading abolitionists of the day, Tubman took part in antislavery meetings. On the way to such a meeting in Boston in 1860, in an incident in Troy, New York, she helped a fugitive slave who had been captured.
During the Civil War Harriet Tubman worked for the Union as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy. After the war she settled in Auburn, New York, where she would spend the rest of her long life. She died in 1913.
The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as Vice President was held at the United States Capitol yesterday, January 20th, 2021. Let’s listen to Joe Biden’s inaugural address and learn English.
My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this, and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around here. We stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome as was mentioned earlier completed amid the Civil War when the Union itself was literally hanging in the balance.
Yet we endured, we prevailed. Here we stand, looking out on the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where, 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote, and today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.
Don’t tell me things can’t change. Here we stand across the Potomac from Arlington Cemetery where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace, and here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen; it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.
To all of those who supported our campaign, I am humbled by the faith you have placed in us. To all of those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward, take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy, that’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion, and I pledge this to you: I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans.
And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.
We have already been undergoing a historic pandemic with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world. On January 6, 2021, to rub salt into the wound, we had to witness another historic event that our democracy was being threatened at the Capitol. Here is the timeline of the U.S. Capitol attack. Let’s remember what happened because we need to learn from history.
Did you know the term, Black Friday was made in Philadelphia in the 1960s? Why did people shop online at work on Monday after they came back from their Thanksgiving holiday in 2005? If you don’t know the answers, please find them while watching the video below.
While we have been waiting for COVID-19 vaccine, have you ever wondered why vaccine is called vaccine? The word, vaccine, is from the Latin word, vacca, which means cow. Please watch the video below to find out the relation between vaccine and cow.