5 Influential Women Who Made Their Mark On American History
To kick off Women's History Month, we're celebrating the stories of five remarkable women who transformed the landscape of America across culture, law, and business.
Sacagawea (1788-1812) | Sacagawea was a Shoshone Indian who is best known for guiding the Lewis and Clark expedition during her teenage years. Between 1804 and 1806, she assisted the explorers from the Northern Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean and back. She provided knowledge of the land's topography and helped them find edible roots and plants that were unknown to the explorers. And with her infant son bound to her back, she was said to rescue Clark's journals from the Missouri whitewater when their boat capsized. Photo Credit: Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post/Getty Images
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) | Tubman was one of 11 children born into slavery in Maryland. Worried that she might be sold again, Tubman ran away with her two brothers but they later turned away, frightened by the journey. Yet Tubman continued her escape north and reached Philadelphia. Over the course of ten years, she led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of safe houses. Later she became a leader in the abolitionist movement, and served in the Civil War as a spy for federal forces and as a nurse. Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) | Anthony is best known for being a champion of the women's suffrage movement, traveling across the country to give speeches, spread petitions, and organize local women's rights organizations for the right to vote. She also campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and she advocated for women's labor organizations. Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty images
Ida Tarbell (1857-1944) | Tarbell emerged as a pioneer in "muckraking journalism" and a prominent critic of the power big business wields after writing an expose on John D. Rockefeller's standard oil company in McClure's magazine. Her findings were later published in a two-volume book titled, “'The History of the Standard Oil Company," where she detailed the strategies and techniques the company used to outmaneuver its competition and maintain an illegal monopoly. Photo Credit: PhotoQuest/Getty Images
Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919) | Walker, originally known as "Sarah Breedlove," made history as the first American woman who became a self-made millionaire. She is also known as a prominent black businesswoman during the Jim Crow era. After battling with hair loss, she began to create her own hair treatments and eventually concocted a lucrative new formula: "Madame C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower." After changing her name to "Madame C.J. Walker," she traveled around America marketing her products and hair tips to African American women. Her successful business strategies also enabled her to create a consumer base in the Caribbean and parts of Central America. And in 1917, she organized the National Negro Cosmetics Manufacturers Association to help other black women find employment in the beauty industry. "I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself," she said. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images