HomeCultureWomen From The South Who Inspired the World

Women From The South Who Inspired the World

Throughout history, we have repeatedly seen individuals that seem to have the ability to inspire and drive significant change. There are literally hundreds of figures over the years that would fit this description, but only a handful of people who did more than anyone to make the world a better place. Many of these individuals have been women—and some of them from the South

Influential women over the course of history have been pivotal in shaping the attitudes of modern women. In the current digital age, such figures are celebrated and their memories kept alive in different ways, including online fun activities such as women-themed pokies.

Here is a list of five influential and inspiring women from the American South, both recent and past, continue to inspire us.

Rosa Parks

An article about important women must start with Rosa Parks. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913, she was absolutely pivotal for the changing mentality between African Americans and white Americans. Her bravery didn’t just change things in the U.S., it rippled through the rest of the world.

For those that don’t know, Rosa Parks was the lady who made a stand during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She’s actually referred to as “the mother of the freedom movement,” which is quite a big title.
As buses in the United States back in the day were segregated for people to sit based on the color of their skin, Rosa Parks decided to sit in the area of the bus that was reserved for white people, and she refused to move when asked to do so. She continued to fight for equal rights between white Americans and African Americans throughout her life. She sadly passed away in 2005 but is remembered every year on Rosa Parks Day on December 1 and February 4 (her birthday).


Sandra Day O’Connor

Another incredible woman who defied all odds to become the first woman justice appointed to the supreme court, Sandra Day O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1930. At a time when female lawyers had limited opportunities, she was relentless in school, where she graduated among the top students in her class. She later worked without pay for California’s county attorney, and her dedication earned her a stable position as a deputy county attorney.

Her fantastic career attained recognition from prominent people such as the state governor, who appointed her to the state Senate, and the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who nominated her to the Supreme Court.


Bette Graham

When describing strong-willed women from the south, it would be criminal not to mention Bette Graham. Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1924, Graham developed a multimillion-dollar company and solved an important working problem at the same time. She was employed as a secretary in Dallas, where she got frustrated in her typing role, realizing that there were no effective ways to make corrections for typing errors.

She took the initiative to develop the correction fluid Liquid Paper or white out, which got a high demand from other secretaries in the building. Realizing the opportunity, she converted her home into a manufacturing plant for her product and struggled to overcome all the challenges that came with the business. By 1980, all her hard work paid off when her innovation sold for $47.5 million.


Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was the first African-American congressional representative from the Deep South. She was also the first woman to be elected to the Texas Senate in 1966. Jordan was born in Houston in 1936 and had an active career, despite the harsh environment subjected to people of color in the South.

She was a true iron lady that every modern woman can draw motivation from. Jordan rightfully earned her spotlight in the Watergate scandal, where her moral integrity and courage fascinated the entire nation. She took a firm stand in the crisis, saying, “I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.” She would later proceed to call for President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment for taking part in the illegal scandal. She won the hearts of many and even got invited to the White House by President Lyndon Johnson to discuss civil rights.



Jessie Ann Benton Frémont

Jessie Ann Benton Fremont is a classic depiction of a woman who refused to be sidelined by the success of the powerful men around her. She was born in 1824 in Virginia, where her father was the state senator and was later married to a renowned military officer, politician and celebrated explorer. Instead of playing a passive role in these men’s lives, Fremont pursued a career in political activism and was also an avid writer.

She was often described as a woman ahead of her time, outspoken in political issues and vehemently opposed to slavery at a period. Her publications have earned great historical value, and her work played an integral role in supporting her entire family through the financial crisis.

Influential women in the course of history have been pivotal in shaping the attitudes of modern women. In the current digital age, such figures are celebrated and their memories kept alive in different ways.

These five women are only a handful of strong women we never should forget.

All images from Wikimedia Commons.

Two Poems by Mariann
Dear Vulcan