Powerful Images of Women of Courage.

Saffiyah Khan staring down English Defence League protester Ian Crossland during a demonstration in Birmingham.
Image Credit: Photograph by Joe Giddens/PA
Shows of strength and defiance aren’t in short supply at your average protest – demonstrating, by its nature, requires a level of commitment that weeds out the bystanders.
But what is it that makes the money shot? The protest photo that goes viral?
Women, or, more accurately, one woman. Often a striking, beautiful-looking woman.
But mostly, a woman who looks like a badass and yet displays a quiet dignity.

A demonstrator faces down a riot policeman during a protest marking the country’s 1973 military coup in Santiago, Chile on 11 September 2016.
Image Credit: Photograph by Carlos Vera/Reuters
Source: Protest photos: the power of one woman against the world | World news | The Guardian

Women Cycling to Suffrage in America, circa 1890s.

The bicycle, when it was still new technology, went through a series of rapid iterations in the 19th century before it really went mainstream.
Designers toyed with different-sized front and back wheels, the addition of chains and cranks and pedals, and tested a slew of braking mechanisms.
By the 1890s, America was totally obsessed with the bicycle—which by then looked pretty much like the ones we ride today. There were millions of bikes on the roads and a new culture built around the technology.
People started “wheelmen” clubs and competed in races. They toured the country and compared tricks and stunts.
The craze was meaningful, especially, for women.
Both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are credited with declaring that “woman is riding to suffrage on the bicycle,” a line that was printed and reprinted in newspapers at the turn of the century.
The bicycle took “old-fashioned, slow-going notions of the gentler sex,” as The Courier (Nebraska) reported in 1895, and replaced them with “some new woman, mounted on her steed of steel.”

via How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights – Adrienne LaFrance – The Atlantic.

The Lattimer Massacre, north-eastern Pennsylvania, 1897.

tumblr_msx66baq0m1rnmfrmo1_500The anthracite miners of northeastern Pennsylvania were early members of the United Mine Workers of America.
In 1897, anthracite miners were faced with low wages, poor working conditions and sporadic work.
The miners struck to improve these conditions, but poor coal market conditions led coal operators to harden their opposition to the miners’ demands.
The companies decided on a show of force by their own company police and by the cooperative sheriff of Luzerne County, James Martin.
On Labor Day, thousands of non-union miners who were UMWA supporters marched peacefully in the anthracite mining towns.
In the following days more marches occurred. Anxious to avoid violence, the UMWA leaders urged marchers not to carry even walking sticks, though American flags abounded.
On 10th September 1897, the strikers marched to Lattimer and were stopped by a force led by Sheriff Martin.
The unexpected halt led to confusion and jostling, and shots suddenly rang out. Nineteen of the miners were killed, and perhaps fifty more were wounded, in what became known as the Lattimer Massacre.
Although the violence was committed by the so-called forces of law no one was convicted for the murders at Lattimer.
The primary result of the massacre was rapid growth in unionism in the anthracite region.
During the next four months approximately 15,000 new names were added to the Union rolls.
via The Lattimer Massacre | United Mine Workers of America.

Queen Nanny, Slave Rebellion Leader, Jamaica, circa 1730s

Picture-012-Small1Nanny, featured on the Jamaican $500 bill, was the leader of a group of slaves who revolted against their British oppressors. Queen Nanny was born into slavery sometime during the 1680s, a child of the Gold Coast, which is now Ghana.
At some point Nanny, reportedly of royal blood, was able to escape a British colony on Jamaica and lead a group of slaves into the inner mountainous areas of the island.
Soon, large communities of ex-slaves, now calling themselves Maroons, had formed. Nanny Town, founded around 1723, was the first and by far the largest of these communities. From this town, Nanny was able to lead raids against plantations in order to liberate the slaves.
However, her revolution quickly captured the attention of the British. A series of campaigns against the troublesome Maroons were launched, and Nanny was forced to lead her people in a guerilla defense operation.
To exploit the defensiveness nature of inland Jamaica, Nanny ensured that Maroon settlements were built high into the mountains. Often, they had only a single approach, meaning that attacking British soldiers were easily picked off by small numbers of Maroons, to whom Nanny had taught the art of camouflage.
Nanny Town itself was attacked on a number of occasions, in 1730, 1731, 1732, and several times in 1734. One British attack in 1734 succeeded in capturing the settlement, which forced Nanny and the survivors to flee and found a new camp, from which they proved just as defiant.
Some historians suggest that Nanny was trained in the art of catching bullets with her hands. Whilst others, mainly the British, seeking to discredit Nanny, claim she caught bullets with her buttocks and farted them back out.
Although Nanny and her people faced nearly constant attack and hunger, they remained united and strong against the British under her rule. From 1739–40, the British signed a peace treaty with the Maroons, giving them 500 acres of land to call their own.
Nanny, a Jamaican national hero, is credited with preserving the culture and freedom of her people and being a powerful symbol of the resistance to slavery.
via 10 Amazing Women Who Led Rebellions – Listverse.

The Lowell Mill Girls Strike, Massachusetts 1836.

A group of Boston capitalists built a major textile manufacturing center in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the second quarter of the 19th century. The first factories recruited women from rural New England as their labor force.
These young women, far from home, lived in rows of boardinghouses adjacent to the growing number of mills.
The industrial production of textiles was highly profitable,and the number of factories in Lowell and other mill towns increased. More mills led to overproduction, which led to a drop in prices and profits. Mill owners reduced wages and speeded up the pace of work.
The young female operatives organized to protest these wage cuts in 1834 and 1836. Harriet Hanson Robinson (Pictured Above)  was one of those factory operatives; she began work in Lowell at the age of ten, later becoming an author and advocate of women’s suffrage.
In 1898 she published Loom and Spindle, a memoir of her Lowell experiences, where she recounted the strike of 1836.
One of the first strikes of cotton-factory operatives that ever took place in this country was that in Lowell, in October, 1836. When it was announced that the wages were to be cut down, great indignation was felt, and it was decided to strike, en masse. This was done.
The mills were shut down, and the girls went in procession from their several corporations to the “grove” on Chapel Hill, and listened to “incendiary” speeches from early labor reformers.
One of the girls stood on a pump, and gave vent to the feelings of her companions in a neat speech, declaring that it was their duty to resist all attempts at cutting down the wages. This was the first time a woman had spoken in public in Lowell, and the event caused surprise and consternation among her audience.
Cutting down the wages was not their only grievance, nor the only cause of this strike. Hitherto the corporations had paid twenty—five cents a week towards the board of each operative, and now it was their purpose to have the girls pay the sum; and this, in addition to the cut in the wages, would make a difference of at least one dollar a week.
It was estimated that as many as twelve or fifteen hundred girls turned out, and walked in procession through the streets. They had neither flags nor music, but sang songs, a favorite (but rather inappropriate) one being a parody on “I won’t be a nun. ”
Read on via history matters

William Cuffay, Chartist and Transported Convict, 1788-1870.

William Cuffay (1788-1870), the son of a former slave, was a leading figure in the Chartist movement, the first mass popular political movement in Britain. He was transported to Australia for allegedly planning an uprising against the British government.
William Cuffay was born on a merchant ship in the West Indies in 1788, the son of a naval cook and former slave from St Kitts. His family later settled in Chatham, Kent. Cuffay became a journeyman tailor but lost his job when the new tailors’ union went on strike in 1834.
Furious at the way he had been treated and convinced that workers needed to be represented in parliament, he became involved in the struggle for universal suffrage. In 1839, he helped to form the Metropolitan Tailors’ Charter Association and soon became an important figure in the Chartist movement in London.
He was elected to the national executive of the National Charter Association in 1842 and later that year voted president of the London Chartists. Cuffay’s significance is illustrated by a contemporary report in The Times which referred to ‘the black man and his party’.
During 1848 Cuffay was one of three London delegates at the National Chartists Convention and was considered one of its most militant leaders.
The main task of the convention was to organise a march to London to present a Chartist petition to the House of Commons. Cuffay was disgusted when the march was called off at the last minute.
In the summer of 1848 Cuffay became involved in a conspiracy to lead an armed uprising against the government. Based on the evidence of a government spy, Cuffay was arrested and convicted for preparing to set fire to certain buildings as a signal for an uprising. He was sentenced to be transported to Tasmania for 21 years.
Three years later all political prisoners in Tasmania were pardoned but Cuffay decided to remain, carrying on his trade as a tailor and again becoming involved in radical politics and trade union issues.
He played an important role in persuading the authorities to amend the Master and Servant Law in the colony, before dying in poverty in 1870.