Women and the American Story

Produced in partnership with the New York Historical Society, this series on Women in the American Story illuminates diverse women’s contributions to the American past. You can visit the WAMS project here: https://wams.nyhistory.org/

Sarah Winnemucca

The first Indigenous woman to publish a memoir, Paiute educator and activist Sarah Winnemucca campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous Americans.

Beverly LaHaye: Conservative Activist

At a time when many women in the United States were campaigning for greater rights, Beverly LaHaye raised her voice for traditional values. An expert activist and founder of Concerned Women for America, today she is admired and reviled in equal measure.

Ernestine Rose

A pioneering suffragette and free thinker, Ernestine Rose was way ahead of her time. Described as the “first Jewish feminist”, she used her voice to campaign for women’s rights and improve the lives of millions.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Antislavery Activist

The first Black newspaper editor in the history of the United States, Mary Ann Shadd Cary spoke out to champion the cause of freedom in an era when the voices of African Americans were rarely heard.

Yuri Kochiyama: Unyielding Voice for Justice

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned on U.S. soil. Determined to right this wrong, Yuri Kochiyama testified to Congress and helped those affected win $20,000 in compensation.

Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller, a Native American activist who became the first female chief of her tribe, dedicated her life to the Cherokee Nation and the expansion of Indigenous rights.

Afong Moy

Afong Moy is believed to be the first Chinese woman to step foot on U.S. soil and her presence sparked an American fascination with Chinese culture, but her experience in the United States was far from welcoming.

Gladys Bentley: Breaking All the Rules

At a time when homosexuality was illegal in the United States, LGBTQ+ artist and pioneer Gladys Bentley broke all the rules to become one of the wealthiest Black performers of her time.