10 Women Who Changed American History

Today marks what would be the 115th birthday of famed aviator Amelia Earhart, who is known for defying both gravity and convention. However, Earhart isn’t the only heroine to leave a mark on American history. Listed below are ten women whose actions, bravery and words forever changed our country.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): Anthony was a prominent civil rights leader who dedicated her life to the women’s suffrage movement. She also campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and she advocated for women’s labor organizations.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910): The first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States, Blackwell started the NY Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.

Clara Barton (1821-1912): A true pioneer and humanitarian, Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.

Helen Keller (1880-1968): The first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, Keller forever changed our ideas about the disabled can accomplish.

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937): As the first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight in 1932, Earhart expanded the world’s notions of just how high a woman can soar. Her plane was tragically lost in 1937 on what was supposed to be the first around-the-world flight at the equator.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005): In 1955, this Montgomery, AL, woman refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott — a turning point in the civil rights movement. Parks is also known as “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Lucille Ball (1911-1989): Beloved comedian, film, television, stage and radio actress Lucille Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu, in 1962.

Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-): O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She served as an Associate Justice from her appointment in 1981 by Ronald Reagan until her retirement in 2006.

Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994): After surviving infantile paralysis, bouts of scarlet fever, whooping cough, chickenpox, and measles, Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during a single Olympic Games in 1960.

Sally Ride (1951-2012): Ride became the first American woman — and then-youngest American, at 32 — to enter space in 1983 on Space Shuttle Challenger.