Stephanie L. Kwolek, developer of Kevlar (circa 1995)
While working with DuPont Stephanie Kwolek developed the first liquid crystal polymer which provided the basis for Kevlar brand fiber.
….unless you drew either of the European scientists, they’re upcoming.
Smithsonian Education - Heritage Month Event Calendar -
Among the upcoming Asian Pacific American events at the Smithsonian:
American Indian Museum (NYC): kids make a Native Hawaiian style bookmark
Portrait Gallery (DC): Anna May Wong story time and craft
American Indian Museum (DC): Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom concert
Hattie Kawahara, American-Japanese student at Mt. Holyoke College, is shown weeding the college victory garden, 1943.
Rani Durgavati (1524-1564)
Pencil drawing by Lauren Goldberg (personal tumblr, art tumblr)
Rani Durgavati ruled the Gond Kingdom in central India as regent for her son from 1550 to 1564. In 1562, the Mughal General Asaf Khan attempted to annex Rani’s prosperous lands. Rani personally led her troops into battle and succeeded in defeating the Mughal invaders. Two years later, Rani attacked the Mughals with the hope of a permanent victory. Outnumber 20,000 to 50,000, Rani held her ground for two days before she decided to commit suicide rather than surrender. Her son was killed in battle and the Gond Kingdom fell to the Mughals.
Rani Durgavati Fort in Mandla is open to visitors. However, it is considered an unsafe place for women to visit. According to The Times of India, at least two gang rapes were reported at Rani Durgavati Fort in 2012.
Hoping to blossom (one day) into a flower,
Every bud sits, holding its soul in its fist.
Between the fear of the fowler and (approaching) autumn,
The bulbul’s life hangs by a thread.
Thy sly glance is more murderous than arrow or sword;
It has shed the blood of many lover.
How can I liken a candle to thy (glowing) cheek?
The candle is blind with the fat in its eyes.
How can Chanda be dry lipped. O Saqi of the heavenly wine!
She has drained the cup of thy love.
“Hoping to blossom (one day) into a flower”
Mah Laqa Bai (1768-1824)
Translated by Syed Sirajuddin, Women Writing in India: 600 BC to the Present
Mah Laqa Bai Chanda (1768-1824)
Art by Henrico Leorne (tumblr)
Mah Laqa Bai was a tawaif (courtesan) and a trusted adviser to the Nizam of Hyderabad. She was appointed to the omarah (highest nobility) and frequently consulted with the local rulers on government matters.
Tawaifs were accomplished artists and Mah Laqa Bai is best known as the first significant female poet to write in Urdu. In 1799, she gave a manuscript entitled Diwan e Chanda to a British captain. Today this manuscript is housed in the British Museum. Gulzar-e-Mahlaqa (Mahlaqa’s flowers), a book of 39 Ghazals, was published soon after her death.
A patron of the arts, Mah Laqa Bai endowed several shrines during her lifetime. After her death, her wealth was distributed to homeless women. Mah Laqa Bai’s tomb in Hyderabad was restored in 2011.
Eliza Johnson stayed out of the public eye as First Lady to President Johnson, partly due to Mary Lincoln’s poor public opinion and partly due to grief and illness. But “her invisibility should not be taken for inactivity.” When Eliza and Andrew first met in their teens, Eliza tutored him and helped him overcome his lack of formal education. In their White House years, “she clipped articles she thought he would see, shrewdly separating the good news which she gave at the end of each day, from the bad, which he got the next morning. One historian concluded that Andrew Johnson “may have consulted his wife and daughters more than he did any fellow statesman.”
Facts from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its new series
Image: Mrs. Andrew Johnson engraved by J.C. Buttre, published 1883. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Madre Laura named Colombia’s first saint - MiamiHerald.com -
In her lifetime, Laura Montoya’s stubborn determination to help Colombia’s indigenous people brought the reproach of society, the political elite and the church, which viewed her work with suspicion and accused her of being unstable.
Representative Yvonne Brathwaite Burke leaves Queen of Angels hospital with her 6-day-old daughter Autumn Roxann. Yvonne was the first member of Congress to give birth while in office.
Woman weaving in Lachung, Sikkim.
Qin Liangyu (1574-1646)
Art by Sertan Saral (tumblr)
From an early age, Liangy learned martial arts, horseback riding, and archery. At the age of 20, she married a local Sichuan commander named Ma Qiancheng. Together they maintained the peace in an area rife with warlords and insurrections.
Qiancheng died in 1613 and Liangyu took over his position. In 1620, the Nvzhen ethnic minority declared independence from the Ming Dynasty. Liangy led an army to defeat them, selling her own belonging to fund the campaign. Ten years later the Manchu threatened Beijing. Liangy once again led an army supported by her own funds and defeated the insurgents. The Chongzhen Emperor commemorated her victory with commissioned poetry.
The Ming Dynasty fell in 1644. Amid the turmoil, Liangy’s lands remained relative calm and agriculturally productive. She is believed to have helped 100,000 refugees find homes in Shizhu.
An active leader until her death at age 75, Liangy was named Grand Protector of the Crowned Prince by the Southern Ming Emperor She remains one of the highest ranking female warriors in Chinese history.
Qin Liangyu is not the real Mulan. Mulan is fictional character who predates Liangyu by several hundred years.