In 1867, Rebecca J. Cole became the second African American woman to receive an M.D. degree in the United States (Rebecca Crumpler, M.D., graduated from the New England Female Medical College three years earlier, in 1864). Dr. Cole was able to overcome racial and gender barriers to medical education by training in all-female institutions run by women who had been part of the first generation of female physicians graduating mid-century. Dr. Cole graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867, under the supervision of Ann Preston, the first woman dean of the school, and went to work at Elizabeth Blackwell's New York Infirmary for Women and Children to gain clinical experience.
Kalpana Chawla made history as the first Indian-American /India born woman to go to space on the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87 in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
Though the exact circumstances surrounding Custer’s death have long been the subject of debate, a new and intriguing account of his final moments surfaced in June 2005 when members of the Northern Cheyenne broke more than a century of silence to recount their tribe’s oral history of the battle. According to their account, it was a female fighter named Buffalo Calf Road Woman (alternately called Buffalo Calf Trail Woman) who knocked Custer off his horse that day, leaving him vulnerable, and who may have killed him.
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was born in Canton, China in 1904 (a year after the Wright brothers’ first flight). When she was 17 she moved with her father to California to study music at the Los Angeles Conservatory. After graduating, she continued her studies at Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Southern California.
In 1950 the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize was poet Gwendolyn Brooks' book of poetry, Annie Allen, which won the award for the best book of poetry in the United States.
Dr. Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973. Two years later, she became the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute.
As the first Chinese-American movie star, Anna May Wong used her fame to challenge racism and stereotypes in Hollywood. Born in 1905 in Los Angeles, California to second-generation immigrants.
In 1890 Dr. Ida Gray Nelson Rollins became the first black woman to earn a doctor of dental surgery degree in the United States when she graduated from the University of Michigan. She opened her practice in Cincinnati, where she was able to serve all races, genders, and ages.
Queen Aliquippa was a leader of the Seneca tribe of Native Americans during the early part of the 18th century. Little is known about her early life. Her date of birth has been estimated anywhere from the early 1670s to the early 1700s, but historians have indicated that she was born in the 1680s, probably in upstate New York.
Nancy Lopez was the most celebrated player in women's golf in the decade after her rookie year in 1978. She began playing golf as a young girl and was an accomplished amateur before starting her professional career while a sophomore at Tulsa University in Oklahoma. Lopez was named Player of the Year by the Ladies Professional Golf Association four times (1978-79, 1985 and 1988) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame when she was only 30 years old (1987). The greatest female golfer of her generation, she was also known for her cheerful persona on the course.
In 1945, Elizabeth (Wanamaker) Peratrovich (Tlingit Nation) a civil rights activist was instrumental in gaining passage of America’s first anti-discrimination law. Her husband Roy (also Tlingit Nation) was mayor of their small Alaskan town for several years, but they moved to Juneau, Alaska for greater opportunities for their children.
Anandi Gopal Joshi was a pioneer who graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in the class of 1886.
Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook, Nella Larsen’s first story was published in 1926. Her first novel, Quicksand (1928), concerns a young, headstrong biracial woman who seeks love, acceptance, and a sense of purpose, only to be mired in an emotional morass of her own creation. Her second novel, Passing (1929), centers on two light-skinned women, one of whom, Irene, marries a black man and lives in Harlem, while the other, Clare, marries a white man but cannot reject her black cultural ties.
Kartar Dhillon was a South Asian American writer and activist. Her father, Mr. Bakshish Singh, was one of the first Punjabi pioneers to arrive in the United States in 1897. Her mother, Rattan Kaur, later joined him in 1910. The family lived primarily in Astoria, Oregon and, southern California, but her family maintained ties to the Sacramento Valley and father worked in the Sacramento Delta at one time.
María Irene Fornés is one of the most influential Latina playwrights in the United States. Her career spans over forty years of excellence as a playwright, director, and teacher from the 1960's to the early twenty-first century. She has written over forty plays and has received numerous awards.
In 1946, eight years before the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Mexican Americans in Orange County, California won a class action lawsuit to dismantle the segregated school system that existed there.
John Swett Rock, one of the first Black Americans to obtain a medical degree, also had a successful career as a teacher, doctor, dentist, abolitionist, and lawyer. Rock was born in Salem County, New Jersey, on October 13, 1825. Rock grew up in a slave-free state, but with modest means; his parents rejected the common, but often necessary, the practice of putting black children to work instead of attending school. His family encouraged his education up until the age of 18.
A ceramist and author of two best-selling autobiogrophies---Fifth Chinese Daughter and No Chinese Stranger, Jade Snow Wong was among the first Chinese-American artist to have her work shown in major American museums, while her books pioneered the rich tradition of memoir writing among Chinese-American women.
In 1863, construction began on the transcontinental railroad—1,776 miles of tracks that would form a link between America's West and East coasts. While thousands of European immigrants worked on the westbound Pacific Union rail, there was not enough manpower to build the Central Pacific line, which snaked through the rugged Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Carlos Juan Finlay, a Cuban-American epidemiologist who discovered that yellow fever is transmitted from infected to healthy humans by a mosquito. Although he published experimental evidence of this discovery in 1886, his ideas were ignored for 20 years.
In 1969, The Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), was a coalition formed with the Black Student Union, the Mexican American Student Committee, and the Native American Indian Association at UC Berkely. The TWLF lead a five-month strike on campus to demand a shift in admissions practices that mostly excluded nonwhite students and in the curriculum regarded as irrelevant to the lives of students of color.
On May 7, 1878, the fire escape ladder was patented by Joseph Winters. Joseph Winters invented a wagon-mounted fire escape ladder for the city of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.