I'm a New York-based writer, editor and multimedia journalist. I write on gender, culture, teens & trends for the New York Times, The Atlantic, Cosmo & Time, where I'm a contributing columnist. I'm also a contributing editor for Sheryl Sandberg's women's org, Lean In. Past Lives: Executive Editor of TUMBLR, Senior Editor at NEWSWEEK.
Trailblazing Women You May Not Know (But Should): Civil Rights Pioneer Claudette Colvin
Each week, the Lean In tumblr will spotlight women who made a lasting mark on the world — yet didn’t end up in the history books. This week we celebrate Claudette Colvin, the first African American woman to refuse to move to the back of a bus, nine months before Rosa Parks.
Colvin was a 15-year-old student when she took a seat for justice on the very same bus system as Parks did in Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, Colvin refused to get up for a white person — defiantly announcing that she had “paid my fare.” But police didn’t care. “They knocked my books out of my lap, grabbed both my arms, dragged me, and handcuffed me,” she wrote in her biography. “I kept screaming over and over, ‘This is my constitutional right!’”
On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, a trip to my high school, where Dr. King spoke during his only trip to Seattle in 1961. GHS was the first non-white majority high school in Seattle, as commemorated in a new hallway mural project that traces Seattle’s Central District history — and Garfield High School’s place within it.
NYC Then-and-Now: Old newspaper photographs of crimes and accidents, matched with present-day locations. Brought to you by the historian of the New York Press Photographers Association, and the photo morgue of the New York Daily News.
It was on this day in 1920 that women were granted suffrage, but it’s worth noting that it was three years prior that members of the National Women’s Party — Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others — picketed outside the White House, burning copies of Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and demanding the right to vote. What resulted — mass arrests (most for “obstructing traffic”), unlawful imprisonment and bloody beatings — became known as the Night of Terror, though it’s fair to say most among my generation don’t know it.
The Night of Terror took place on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Workhouse Prison, in Occoquan, Virginia, ordered his guards to teach the suffragists a lesson. For weeks, the women’s only water had come from an open pail. Their food had been infested with worms. But on this night, some 40 prison guards wielding clubs beat the women senseless — grabbing, dragging, choking, kicking and pinching them, according to affidavits recounting the attacks.
Nylon Stockings During WWII Silk or nylon stockings were in extremely short supply by the summer of 1942, despite the presence of American GI’s In Britain who could sometimes get hold of stockings from the US. Most women had to find ingenious methods of dressing their legs.
These pictures show a woman drawing in the seam-line on “Makeup” stockings with a device made from a screw driver handle, bicycle leg clip, and an eyebrow pencil, 1942. (source: Bettman/Corbis)