Aunt Clara Brown: Colorado PioneerRead Now
Clara Brown was born enslaved in 1800 in Virginia. One of her earliest childhood memories was being sold on an auction block. Clara and her mother were sold to a tobacco plantation in Virginia. At the age of 18 she married a man named Richard and had four children. Clara’s family was sold again, this time they were all separated in the sale. Clara was brought by plantation owner George Brown and moved to Kentucky. She also made a vow to herself to find her daughter Eliza Jane before she died.
In 1856 George Brown Clara’s master died giving her freedom from slavery. Her mind was set on finding her daughter so she left Kentucky to do so. Upon her journey she started working as a cook for a family traveling to the Leavenworth Kansas Territory. In 1859 she worked for Colonel Benjamin Wadsworth cooking for the Colonel and his crew. Her time with Colonel Wadsworth led her to Colorado making her one of the first African-American women involved in the Colorado Gold Rush. Clara never stopped looking for her daughter Eliza, despite her various successful pursuits.
Clara eventually settled in Aurora, Colorado and became a founding member of the nondenominational Union Sunday school. She would later create her own laundry business in Central City, Colorado, serving the miners and local town’s people. In addition to her laundry business she was a maid, cook and mid-wife. Clara Brown was becoming a very successful entrepreneur as an African-American woman during slavery. Clara was also savvy enough to invest her money into mine claims and land; this earned her $10,000, ownership of 16 different properties in Denver, 7 houses in Central City, as well as property and mines in Boulder, Georgetown, and Idaho Springs.
Clara was given the name “Aunt Clara” because of her generous nature. She was well known for giving to those who were in need. She even used her own home as a hospital and refuge for the needy. Clara personally helped to fund the building of the Catholic Church and the first Protestant Church located in the Rocky Mountains. In 1865 Clara resumed her search for her daughter and her family. She used her savings to help her travel back to Kentucky and Kansas. In 1879 Clara was a part of the building of a community and farm land by former slaves in Kansas.
At the age of 80 Clara’s funds were dwindling but not her spirit; she was still determined to find her daughter. Two years later Clara was told that her daughter Eliza lived in Iowa, she packed up and traveled to Iowa to see her daughter. She eventually did find her daughter and had the pleasure of meeting her granddaughter. Eliza and Clara kept in close contact until Clara’s death in 1885. Clara was later voted into was voted into the Society of Colorado Pioneers. She is the first woman inducted into the Society of Colorado Pioneers. Clara Brown overcame inhumane obstacles, and was able to reach her goals and reunite her family. Mrs. Clara Brown, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
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The Candace's of KushRead Now
When we study history and the great people who contributed to our world, our women warriors and rulers are often overlooked. From the third century BCE to the second century CE, the Empire of Kush (Ethiopia) was ruled by a line of independent female rulers called the Candace’s or in the traditional language of Kush, Kentake. Amanerinas, Amanishakhete, Nawidemak and Maleqereabar were the four Queens, well known as the Candace’s. Different from their Egyptian counterparts, the Candace’s had absolute rule, instead of the power coming from their husbands.
During the period known as the Meroitic period, Kush thrived, and it was often thought of as a nation never ruled by a male. The word Kentake means “queen mother”, so the title was not taken lightly. If a woman was a Candace, she was able to influence the line of succession and consolidate her power. The Candace often played a role in the coronation of a new King. The Candace’s are well known for refusing Alexander’s entry into Kush, and deterring him on one of his military campaigns causing him to overtake a weaker Egypt. The strength of the Candace rulers also appeared in history as they were able to thwart the roman conquest of Kush. Using brilliant battle tactics, Amanerinas attacked Petronius during Rome’s punitive invasions of Napata. They waited until most of his troops were gone off to battle, then Amanerinas attacked the army. When Petronius returned he found his “mighty” army in a standoff with a Nation they considered weaker. The standoff lasted until Augustus Caesar and Amanerinas were able to settle on signing a peace treaty.
Over a period of 1250 years, the kingdom of Kush was amazing and certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest, civilization of its time and all time. The title of Candace lasted for 500 years, allowing Kush to become the great civilization it was under female rule. The Candace’s set a standard for excellence and stability. A female dominated society with a female warrior class is not talked about much in the pages of history, especially a purely African civilization. The Candace’s were brave, brilliant and influential; they were an example of how a strong spirit will not be held back by sexism and male domination. Women, no matter their race or creed, can learn a lot from the Candace’s– women who successfully ruled a kingdom and inspired Egyptian culture and prestige. To all of the Candace’s, and all the female rulers of Kush, thank you for your brilliance and courage which helped create greatness in the form of a Kingdom. These women are an example of the greatness of the female spirit. To all the Candace’s, we stand on your shoulders.
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Lewis LatimerRead Now
Lewis Latimer was born September 4th, 1848 in Chelsea, Massachusetts to runaway slaves. He served in the United States Navy for the Union and received an Honorable discharge on July 3rd, 1865. While working in Boston as an office boy for a Patent Law Firm, he taught himself mechanical drawing and mastered the art of drawing to scale. As Latimer’s talent was becoming noticed, he was promoted from the position of office boy with a pay of $3.00 a week to head draftsman earning $20.00 a week. In 1873 he became married to Mary Wilson, and a year later, Latimer and W.C. Brown co-invented an improvement on the train water closet. Two years later Alexander Graham Bell needed a design drawn for a patent application for the telephone. With consistent labor and long working hours, Latimer was able to complete the application which was turned in on February 14th, 1876, hours before Elisha Gray could submit his design for a similar device.
After relocating to Bridgeport, Connecticut, Lewis Latimer was employed as the assistant manager and draftsman for the U.S. Electric Lighting Company. It was there that Latimer was set to compete against Thomas Edison’s light bulb by improving on the filament. He encased the filament in cardboard which prevented the carbon from breaking up, therefore extending the life of the bulb. This allowed it to be placed anywhere. Latimer was responsible for installing the first lighting in New York, Philadelphia and Montreal. He also oversaw the lighting of rail stations and government buildings extended from America to Canada and even London.
Latimer became employed by Thomas Edison in 1890 and began working in the legal department of Edison Electric Light Company. He served as a chief draftsman and patent specialist. He later authored the most comprehensive book on electric lighting, “Incandescent Electric Lighting: A Practical Description of the Edison System.” Latimer was also designated as one of the charter members of the Edison Pioneers, a group of individuals responsible for the electrical industry.
In 1894 Latimer invented the safety elevator, a great improvement for the elevator of that time. His name also holds the patent for the locking racks of hats, coats and umbrellas. He went on to create a version of the book supporter allowing books to be arranged on shelves followed by the Apparatus for Cooling and Disinfecting, a system for keeping rooms more hygienic and climate controlled. Among his many notables, Latimer was also a civil rights activist, painter and a poet. Lewis Latimer passed away on December 11, 1928, however during his lifetime he exhibited amazing imagination, skill and courage which created a path for others like him to follow. Mr. Latimer, we stand on your shoulders.
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Hypatia of AlexandriaRead Now
Born in 370 AD as the daughter of Theon, a mathematician and Philosopher, Hypatia of Alexandria is the first woman in history to make a substantial contribution to mathematics. Throughout her childhood, Hypatia was taught mathematics by her father who worked at a distinguished museum used for higher education which also housed the Library of Alexandria. Upon finishing her formal education she left for Athens and Italy to further her studies. After completion, she returned to Alexandria and began teaching mathematics and philosophy. In 400 AD Hypatia became the leader of the Neo-Platonists school, which was the last of its kind dedicated to the Greek Philosophy of Plato. Because of Hypatia’s grand reputation of being regarded as an authority figure on Platonic Philosophy, she attracted a great number of students desiring to learn from her.
Hypatia was the first woman known to write on the subject of math, including the conic section (The intersection of a plane and a cone). She also wrote several papers on philosophy and astronomy. However, only fragments of those writings still exist today. Hypatia was said to have refined the algebraic equations of the early Egyptian mathematician Diophantus. She is given credit for the creation of the astrolabe, which is an instrument used to measure star positions relative to earth as well as to purify water.
In 415 AD Hypatia was tortured to death by an angry mob of religious zealots following the new Christian patriarch Cyril of Alexander. The assassination was thought to be linked to her association with a non-Christian prefect. Hypatia became a martyr after her death, and it was said that her death caused other scholars to leave the School in Alexandria. Her loss was also regarded as the fall of the influences of the Greek philosophers. Hypatia gave the world wisdom in the form of science, mathematics and philosophy, and she paved the way for female educators by setting a standard of greatness to follow. Hypatia, we stand on your shoulders.
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