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.”
Mary Elizabeth Bowser
Mary Elizabeth Bowser was a former slave who operated as a spy for the Union while working on the household staff at the Confederate White House.
Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell was born in 1863, during the Civil War, and died in 1954, shortly after the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education — the culmination of the ﬁght to end Jim Crow segregation. Terrell had been a leader in this ﬁght throughout her long life.
Born into slavery in New York as Isabella Van Wagener, her mystic experiences took her into preaching. In 1843, she took the name Sojourner Truth. In the late 1840s she connected with the abolitionist movement, becoming a popular speaker. In 1850, she also began speaking on woman suffrage.
Josephine St. Pierre Rufﬁn
An African-American leader from New England who was a suffragist, fought slavery, recruited African-American soldiers to ﬁght for the North in the Civil War, and founded and edited a magazine, Josephine Rufﬁn is best known for her central role in starting and sustaining the role of clubs for African-American women.
Madame C.J. Walker
In 1905 Sarah Breedlove developed a conditioning treatment for straightening hair. Starting with door-to-door sales of her cosmetics, Madame C.J. Walker amassed a fortune. In 1910 she built a factory in Indianapolis to manufacture her line of cosmetics. Before her death in 1919 she was a millionaire, one of the most successful business executives in the early half of the twentieth century.
Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune, born to former slaves a decade after the end of the Civil War, devoted her life to ensuring the right to education and freedom from discrimination for black Americans. Bethune believed that through education, blacks could begin to earn a living in a country that still opposed racial equality.
Bethune worked tirelessly until her death and would not rest while there was “a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.”
Chisholm, the ﬁrst African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and made a run for the presidency in 1972, always said that she faced more discrimination as a woman than she did as a black person.