Bertha von Suttner wins the Nobel Peace Prize: 18 April 1906

Cropped photo of Bertha von Suttner in 1906

On 18 April 1906, Baroness Bertha von Suttner becomes the first woman to collect the Nobel Peace Prize. She had been instrumental in Albert Nobel creating a prize for peace at all.

Von Suttner was an international leader in the peace movement, and continued to campaign until her death, a few weeks before Franz Ferdinand’s assassination triggered the first World War she had sought to prevent.

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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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