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Harriet Tubman

Born Araminta Ross, Harriet Tubman lived as a slave on a Maryland plantation. Frequently threatened, beaten, whipped, and starved, Ms. Tubman’s indomitable spirit could not be broken. Suffering from a head wound incurred when a furious overseer aimed a two-pound weight at another slave, but missed, Harriet Tubman suffered from seizures for the rest of her life. But even this daunting physical obstacle could not keep her from her freeing herself and freeing others from slavery. A Union spy during the Civil War as well as a nurse, Ms. Tubman directed her consider energies towards humanitarian causes that included women’s suffrage after the war.

Dr. Daisy Century considers Harriet Tubman her role model, someone who encouraged her to put others first and to lead by example. Like her inspiration, Daisy grew up on a farm, has a wonderful singing voice and is a determined woman of conviction: once they start a project, they must see it through to completion. Harriet Tubman reveals a woman who made up her mind as a young girl that things could be better than they were, “I had reasoned this out in my mind. There was one of two things I had a right to – liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other.” Tubman shows us a woman who found freedom for herself and then made sure others were brought to freedom. The brave woman who rescued more than seventy slaves using the Underground Railroad declared, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Harriet Tubman takes each and every audience member along for this ride.

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Madam CJ Walker

Born Sarah Breedlove in Delta. Louisiana, she was the first member of her family to be born free to parents who had been slaves.  Her mother preached to little Sarah to learn to read, count and write and “mind nobody's business but your own.”  Malaria took both her parents leaving Sarah and her sister Louvenia to fend for themselves.  They took a ferry across the Mississippi to Vicksburg.  There they help the washerwomen wash, fold and iron clothes.  At 14 she married a man named Moses McWilliams.  At age nineteen she was widowed and expecting a baby girl.  She moved to St. Louis to join her brothers.

As a result of her hair falling out she started mixing several ingredients together to put on her hair to make it grow.  After about two months her hair began to grow.  She started to sell the hair growing products to her neighbors and friends.  She went door to door to pitch her new product.  As time went on women began to buy the product and word of mouth spread the news. She had to hire women to help her.  She moved to Denver to get a bigger population and newer clientele base.  Annie Malone was already selling a hair product in St Louis similar to  Sarah's.

Denver she reconnected with an old friend Charles Joseph Walker, everyone called him C.J.  They got married and instead of calling herself  Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker she called herself Madam C.J. Walker, Madam just sounded very proper and important.  The name stuck.  She began placing ads in the paper, taking in mail orders and building her own manufacturing company.  She took pictures of herself with her long hair and placed them on all of her products.  Business was booming!!  By now her daughter Lelia  was grown and had graduated from college.  She was tall, beautiful and knew how to conduct business and makes speeches on behalf of the company.  Shed moved her company from Denver to Indianapolis.  By 1917 she had one of the largest business in the United States owned by an African American.  Her  estimated worth at this time was a million dollars, placing her as one of the first Black female to achieve this status.

She was known for her generous donations to colleges, churches, civic organizations, YMCA's and orphan homes.  Some of the recipient organizations were:  NAACP, the Tuskegee Institute, Bethune-Cookman College and the anti-lynching campaign. Madam C.J. built a mansion called “Villa Lewaro” built in the wealthy New York suburb of Irvington on the Hudson, near the estates of John D. Rockefeller and Jay Gould.  The mansion was built for about 350,000.  It was designed by the only black registered architect in New York at the time in 1915, Vertner Tandy.  Walker spent several years enjoying her house.

Walker died on may 25, 1919, at the age of 51, at her estate Villa Lewaro.  She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

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Sojourner Truth

Born Isabella Baumfree, the slave from a small town north of New York City changed hands several times, sold by one brutal owner to another just as harsh. Her life included repeated beatings, rapes and a forced marriage. In 1826, having been promised freedom, but then cruelly denied emancipation, she left her current owners and found her way to the Van Wageners’ home. There she had an epiphany, became a devout Christian, and renamed herself Sojourner Truth, after which she began her travels as a preacher. In 1850, Sojourner began speaking on women’s suffrage, believing the causes of abolition and women’s rights to be intertwined and equally important. Ms. Truth’s most quoted speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” was delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Although there has been much dispute about the words she spoke and the rhythm of her speech, there is no debate about the power and integrity of the speaker or about the impact of the speech and the speaker’s life. Truth also helped recruit black troops during the Civil War for the Union Army, and she worked as a Union nurse.

Dr. Daisy Century and Ms. Sojourner Truth are both powerful singers and very intelligent women, whether self-taught or academically trained. Almost as impressively tall as the woman she portrays, Century gives a commanding performance of Ms. Truth, bringing to life a woman undeterred by incredible obstacles, a woman who mixed with the leading figures of her day, including Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Audience members are urged to consider the twin goals of racial and gender parity of equal importance. We are inspired by Ms. Truth’s fiery wit, as exemplified by her rejoinder to a comment that since she smoked a pipe (at one time), her conduct did not reflect cleanliness being next to godliness. Said Sojourner, “When I die, I expect to leave my breath behind.” The audience has the opportunity to sign Sojourner Truth’s Book of Life, signifying their connection to Ms. Truth’s legacy.

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Phillis Wheatley.png

Phillis Wheatley

The first published African-American poet and the first African-American female published writer, Phillis Wheatley’s life began in West Africa. Taken from her home on a slave ship when she was only 7, she was bought by the affluent and well-connected Wheatley family of Boston. The young girl looked so pitiful and so sickly and was “uncommonly intelligent,” so Mrs. Wheatley educated Phillis and had her work inside the house. She was further separated from other slaves because the Wheatleys didn’t let her associate with them. Phillis Wheatley was between two worlds, belonging to neither. This was made even more apparent when Phillis was not named in Mr. Wheatley’s will. Yet, through the Wheatleys she had met Benjamin Franklin, attended balls, written and published poetry. One poem, dedicated to George Washington, elicited a note from Washington who said he’d visit if he came to Boston. When Washington was in Boston, he sent soldiers to get her and was surprised to discover the poet was a black woman. And he might have been surprised to learn that although Ms. Wheatley was smart and educated and talented, with connections and published works, Phillis died at 31 in poverty in a boarding house with little heat. He would probably not be surprised that her words live on.

The world would be less beautiful, less inspired, without Phillis Wheatley. Dr. Daisy Century, also a published author, portrays this talented poet with respect and flair.


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Bessie Coleman

The first African-American woman to become a licensed airplane pilot and the first American to hold an international pilot license, Bessie Coleman was a woman who didn’t give up. Born in Texas, raised on a farm, she loved school and walked four miles every day to attend a one-room all-black school through 8th grade. Working with her mother and two sisters, she did laundry, cleaned homes, picked cotton to earn money to finish school. At age 18, she enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural Normal University, but only had enough money for one year. Traveling north to Chicago to live with her brothers, she heard stories from pilots returning from World War I and decided to become a pilot. After applying to 3 American aviation schools that refused to teach her, this smart, naturally-gifted “double threat” prepared to study in France. Learning enough French to get by, she enrolled in a French school, the only black person in the class. Finishing the 10-month course in 8 months, she achieved her goal.
Dressed in an authentic bomber’s jacket, boots and scarf, Dr. Daisy Century as Bessie Coleman is an exciting portrayal of a beautiful, determined woman who knew what she wanted and made it happen. Audience members thrill to tales of barnstorming and stunts with parachutes. Bessie inspires the audience to identify with a woman who risked everything to make her dream a reality. Performed as if standing on a wing of the plane, Bessie is a woman who never gave up, raised by a mother who told her that “these words don’t live here.” Daisy brings a pattern for the younger audience members to use to create their own plane. And she showcases a life that broke the mold, inspiring her audience to do the same.

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Mary Fields

Wild west, cowgirl, Stagecoach driver, delivering the US mail in Montana circa 1890's


When one thinks of the wild west, cowboys and cowgirls, the vision of a big Black woman is not usually thought of, well think again folks.  Mary Fields, Black Mary, Stagecoach Mary was 6'2", 200 pounds of pure meanest if you cross her.  On the other hand, she was a gentle as a lamb, but two things got her blood to boiling and that lead to dust ups (fist fights) or a shootout.  The two things that riled her:  Don't sass Mary and don't put your hands on Mary.  


After she was freed by the emancipation Proclamation, she traveled up and down the states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio doing all kinds of work, mostly farming, plowing, driving wagons, working on a ranch and even on the Robert E. Lee Steamboat.  Whatever the job, it was mostly on the outside.  She needed to feel the breeze because she was a free spirit.  Her travels led her to Montana where her childhood friend was living as a nun and was gravely ill.  She took care of her friend and nursed her back to health.  She found work there as a stable hand and foreman at a mill.  One of the times coming out of the saloon, yes saloon, she was the only woman that was allowed to go into the saloon and have a drink and play cards with the men.  She had the blessings of the local sheriff.  Well, the sign read, WANTED STAGECOACH DRIVERS DELIVERING THE US MAIL. She proved that she could hitch a team of six horses and drive them and that landed her the job of the first Black woman to drive the stagecoach delivering the US mail.  This stagecoach was the predecessor of the Wells Fargo stagecoach. 

Mary caught people by surprise because she could read, and she carried a pair of six shooters under her apron.  Let's ride along with cowgirl, mail carrier and stagecoach driver--Mary Fields.


Cathy Williams-female Buffalo Soldier

We are all familiar with the famed 9th and 10th Calvary Buffalo Soldiers.  They were given the task of calming and protecting the Wild West after the Civil War.  The infantry walked from Jefferson City, Missouri to New Mexico on the infamous Santa Fe trail covering five states, some 1,203 miles.  They were assigned all the tasks no one wanted.  They painted, repaired Forts, cut bushes and trees, cleared and made roads, dug latrines, guarded wagon trains and fought the Trail Indians.  That was a very tough job for any soldier. Well, there was a woman among the soldiers, disguising herself as a man.  She was Cathy Williams.  When she enlisted at Jefferson City, she reversed her name and called herself William Cathay. Over the years the spelling changed according to who was recording it.  It was very rough for Cathy, but she endured every mile right alongside the men.  The men started calling her Billy C and Bill Cats.  Because she could read, she would teach the men how to read, how to march and other things like saluting.  She learned all of those skills in her three-year duty with the 8th Indiana during the Civil War.  She proved to be a "good soldier" never complained or refuse any assignments.


Time and wear and tear caught up with her causing her to deliberately get sick and be discovered in the infirmary.  She was immediately discharged!  Let's travel back in time and see what happened to Pvt. William Cathay after being discharged from the army.  Her life story, her bravery serves as an inspiration to all women today enlisting in all branches of the military.


The Princess who would be king, daughter of King Thutmose1 and Queen Ahmose.  Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Her father saw the leadership ability in Hatshepsut when she was a little girl.  When she played in the courtyard with her friends, she would be the one to direct and tell everyone what to do. Her father made sure she went to school to learn to read, write, count and study the stars.  She also attended most of the Royal meetings.  She would listen to all of the Departments make their monthly reports.  She also traveled with her father to the land of Punt.  They brought back exotic animals, trees and incense.  As time went on, Hatshepsut herself was wed.  She had a daughter, but to rule you had to be of Royal blood and male.  Hatshepsut had a stepbrother, but he was too young to rule so Hatshepsut stepped in and ruled for twenty-three years as Pharaoh.  During her reign, it was peaceful.  Egypt flourished and Hatshepsut had constructed some of the most prolific buildings in Egyptian history.  She is considered Egypt's most successful Pharaoh's.  Hold on to the chariot and let's see what Hatshepsut did during her reign.



The Princess who would be King

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