May 21

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1780 Elizabeth Fry born Norwich, England (d. 1845). "Angel of the Prisons." English Quaker prison reformer; advocate for homeless.

  • 1800 Susan Sisson born Portsmouth, RI (d. 1882). American Quaker abolitionist. Founding member of New England Non-Resistance Society, 1838.

  • 1889 Germaine Malaterre-Sellier born Paris, France (d. 1967). French feminist and suffrage leader. Vice-President, Women’s Union for the League of Nations (UFSDN); Vice-President, International League for Moral Disarmament by Women; President of peace section, National Council of French Women. Chaired Peace Committee of International Council of Women.

  • 1899 Ilse Langner born Breslau, Germany (d. 1987). German antiwar playwright and poet.

  • 1908 Olga Poblete de Espinosa born Tacna, Chile (d. 1999). Chilean peace activist; professor of world history and education; feminist “founding matriarch” of Movement for Emancipation of Women (MEMCH). Founded Chilean peace movement, 1950; assumed its presidency, 1960; openly opposed Pinochet dictatorship, 1973. Awarded World Peace Council gold medal, 1959; Lenin Peace Prize, 1962.

  • 1930 Rita Corbin born Indianapolis, IN (d. 2011). Anti-war artist; Catholic Worker.

  • 1944 Mary Robinson born Ballina, Mayo, Ireland. International Human Rights Law professor. First woman president of Ireland, 1990-97. Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience for Human Rights, 2004.

  • 1949 Marsha Feinland born Far Rockaway, NY. Teacher; union leader; Peace and Freedom candidate for president, 1996; won 243,407 votes for US Senate, 2004.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1660 Quaker Mary Dyer returned to Boston after being whipped out of Massachusetts and threatened with capital punishment if she returned.

  • 1881 Clara Barton organized American Red Cross in Washington DC.

  • 1930 Sarojini Naidu led nonviolent salt protests at Dharasana; 320 injured, two killed, Naidu arrested.

  • 2000: Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls led Blue Ribbon Peace Vigil of multi-ethnic women protesting military coup, Suva, Fiji.

  • 2015 In London, two Alaskan indigenous women passed out origami “roses of resistance” to Shell oil executives to protest drilling.