by Elizabeth Johnson
Excerpted from 33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women's History by Edited by Tonya Bolden Copyright © 2002 by Edited by Tonya Bolden. Excerpted by permission of Crown Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Past Is Prologue
When the earth was created
your ancestors gave respect to their ancestors.
They knew where they came from,
but do you?
You can't really call yourself a girl
without knowing what it really means to be a girl.
Being a girl is having the strength and wisdom of
Mary McLeod Bethune, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Rita Moreno.
for knowing less than you should about
Jane Addams, Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Frieclan, and Wilma
You should know that Anna Mae Aquash was martyred
for fighting for the rights
she knew her people deserved.
And that Ming-Na has helped create a diverse Hollywood.
And every published woman should know that
Phillis Wheatley was one of the first published women in the United States,
and her words inspired George Washington.
Oh, you know who Mr. Washington is.
But the women who paved the way for you to be
or a journalist aren't a part of your everyday story.
That's because you don't see the relevance of Gloria Steinem marching through
for woman's rights,
you just see that you have rights.
And you don't know why Dorothy Dandridge changed the movies, or
why Marilyn Monroe was so beautiful.
But you do know that JFK was a president loved by many,
and that Lincoln was assassinated.
You know the exact date Pearl Harbor was bombed.
But you don't know the battles your mother,
grandmother, and great-grand mother waged so you could live a better life.
You can't go anywhere in this world
without knowing where you as a woman have been.
To all the ferninine-lesses of the 21st century-
With every HisStory is HerStory,
find yours out before it's too late.