Marion Anderson sings in Washington: 9 April 1939

Contralto Marian Anderson sang at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, April 9, 1939, to an estimated crowd of 75,000 people.

On 9 April 1939, Marion Anderson stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. A crowd of 75,000 listened to her, and millions more tuned in on the radio. She sang where she did because she had been refused the use Constitution Hall by its owners. Marion was black, and the owners had a white-artists-only clause.

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Yaa Asantewaa: 28 March 1900

On 28 March 1900, Queen Yaa Asantewaa addressed the remnants of the Ashanti government in Kumasi, in modern-day Ghana.

I must say this: if you, the men of Asante will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.

Her words galvanised the Ashanti Confederacy, starting their final war against British colonialism on the Gold Coast. The Ashanti leaders chose Yaa Asantewaa to be the war-leader, the first woman to hold the post, and an army of several thousand was placed at her command.

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Greenham Women: 22 March 1982

Several women are seated on the ground with peace signs whilst a man and a police man attempt to move them

On 22 March 1982, around 250 women block access to the airbase at Greenham Common in the UK. It is the first time the women’s peace camp has put non-violence to the test on a large scale, and 34 women are arrested. By the end of 1982, 30,000 women would arrive for the ’embrace the base’ protest. By 1983, over 100 similar peace camps are set up near nuclear sites around the world.

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