Kendra Bonnett

Nannie Helen Burroughs: Inspirational Women Who Wouldn’t Take “No” As An Answer

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It’s early on March 1, 2021—on the cusp of the transition from Black History Month and on to Women’s History Month. And we have the perfect We Can Do It Woman to introduce. Nannie Helen Burroughs.

And here’s why.

Burroughs was born May 2, 1879. Although she was the daughter of former slaves, she graduated high school with honors and went on to become a businesswoman, bookkeeper, secretary, civil rights activist and suffragist. But more than anything, she was a dedicated educator. “Education and justice,” she explained, “are democracy’s only life insurance.”

Burroughs’ legacy of determination is an important takeaway for us. Never one to let a few closed doors stand in her way, she worked to turn No into Yes. For example, as The Washington Post recently explained, after graduating, she hoped to teach domestic science. But the Columbia Public Schoo refused to hire her–not because she was African-American, but because she was “too Black.”

Undaunted, Burroughs worked to raise the money to start her own school. She realized her dream for improving opportunities for Black women in 1908 when she founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC. Here she taught for the rest of her life—until May 20, 1961.

Nannie Helen Burroughs bridged generations. Booker T. Washington was an inspiration early in her life, and later in life she befriended a young Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a suffragist, Burroughs worked for women’s rights. Although the 19th Amendment passed in 1920, she did not live to see the passage of either the Civil Rights Act (1964) or the Voting Right Act (1965), which helped to overcome the state and local barriers to equality.

Burroughs fought as a Black and a woman. But most of all she wanted individuals to have self-respect and purpose. “Having standards isn’t really for anyone else,” she wrote. “You should want to have them for yourself.”

The Literary Ladies Guide named Nannie Helen Burroughs one of “12 African-American Suffragists Who Shouldn’t be Overlooked.” We agree, and when we introduced our We Can Do It! Doll ornaments for Christmas 2020 in honor of the 19thAmendment Centennial, Nannie was one of our popular figures. Her life and her Can Do spirit are an inspiration for women of all ages.

Available on Etsy

Available on Etsy

 

Kendra BonnettNannie Helen Burroughs: Inspirational Women Who Wouldn’t Take “No” As An Answer

Happy Birthday, Susan | A Strong American Woman: Suffragist Susan B. Anthony!

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The suffragist Susan B. Anthony would be 201 today.

 

Feb 15, 1820 to March 13, 1906, Adams, Massachusetts

Susan B Anthony ArrestedAlthough suffragist Susan B. Anthony didn’t live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, she a leading force in the fight for women’s voting rights. From a family of ardent social reformers who worked on anti-slavery and the temperance movements, she dedicated her life to women’s suffrage.While their efforts on behalf of women’s voting rights were largely peaceful, Susan B. Anthony was not above actively forcing the issue. In spite of not yet having won the right to vote, in 1872, Anthony and 14 other Rochester (NY) women voted in the presidential election.

Suffragist Susan B. Anthony Arrested!

Susan B. Anthony was arrested on November 18, 1872. Her trial for violating the state laws of New York, which only allowed men to vote, began in June of the following year in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District—Justice Ward Hunt presiding.

At her trial, Anthony gave an impassioned speech (ignoring Justice Hunt when he told her to stop talking). She said, “You have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored.”

Although Anthony was found guilty and fined $100, she refused to pay what she called “your unjust penalty.” And even though she never paid the fine, the court neglected to jail her. To do so would have given her the right to escalate the case to the Supreme Court. (And we certainly couldn’t have that!)

In 1878, Stanton and Anthony officially presented Congress with an amendment calling to give women the right to vote. At the time, it was known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Ultimately, at the time of its passage, it became the 19thAmendment to the Constitution.

Although she did not live long enough to see the Amendment passed, on its 100th anniversary in 2020, President Trump used the occasion to pardon Anthony for voting back in 1872.

Celebrating We Can Do It! Women

Nannie Helen Burroughs

In honor of women, we created our We Can Do It! figures. Every ornament, keychain, sachet, t-shirt begins with a careful eye for research. Then we commission original designs and hand craft the figures…with just a little help from Kendra’s sewing machine. Our We Can Do It! Women are inspirational to everyone who strives to achieve. They’re a great teaching tool too. A booklet about the life and accomplishments of our We Can Do It! woman is included with every item.

Happy birthday, Susan B. Anthony!

We Can Do It Women

Kendra BonnettHappy Birthday, Susan | A Strong American Woman: Suffragist Susan B. Anthony!

Stand with Women

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Rosie the Riveter is a strong female icon. We’ve created socks, pins and t-shirts to help you show your affinity.

Kendra BonnettStand with Women

Buy Bulk Wholesale

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Need Rosie gear for groups or events? Buy bulk and save. We offer many of our most popular items with big bulk savings.

Kendra BonnettBuy Bulk Wholesale

Women’s Memoir Writing

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Memoir Writing video lessons, books, and inspiration…and it all started with our book Rosie’s Daughters.

Kendra BonnettWomen’s Memoir Writing

RosieCentral

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We’re taking our Rosie gear to Amazon. If you love buying through Amazon, this is your link. And you can expect free shipping.

Kendra BonnettRosieCentral

RosieGram

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Rosie the Riveter is an icon for her times, and worth remembering today. During WWII Rosie took charge at home and on the job. RosieGram is a gift line for strong women in your life.

Kendra BonnettRosieGram

Rosie Legacy Gear

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Rosie the Riveter inspired gear and gifts for costumes, team themes, parties, parades, re-enactment and more. The focus is on quality, fun and historical accuracy.

Kendra BonnettRosie Legacy Gear

Welcome to RosieCentral

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Nothing gives me greater pleasure today that to welcome you to our launch of RosieCentral.com. This is an idea that has been more than 10 years in its creation and a year in planning. And we’re so happy to have you join us.

And Matilda and I are having a blast designing our new site. While the canvas is no longer completely blank, we still have a lot of flexibility to where we take this website moving forward. It’s a place for discussion of all things Rosie the Riveter. It’s a store for the many historically accurate, imaginative and fun Rosie-inspired gifts and gear we’ve created.

It’s a place for us to speak out, and a place for you to speak up about what you’re thinking. In fact, we invite you to share your thoughts with the RosieCentral audience. We’ll be running polls and surveys to get your opinion. And you can always use the comments to share your ideas.

So How Did RosieCentral Come to Be?

Matilda and I first published our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, in 2007. As part of our efforts to market the book, we gave a number of presentations. That’s when Matilda had the scathingly brilliant idea that we should deliver our talks wearing Rosie-style red-and-white, polkadot bandanas.

Funny thing. Back in 2007 you couldn’t find a red-and-white polkadot bandana anywhere.

Because necessity is the mother of invention, we went to work to create our own Rosie bandanas. With the help of Matilda’s son, we designed our bandana and screen printed our first batch. I think we had maybe 25 printed…thinking maybe we’d sell a couple along with our book at the end of a presentation.

The book did well. And the bandanas took off. People were buying bandanas for Rosie the Riveter Halloween costumes. We hadn’t quite realized the popularity of our bandanas, but we had upped our bandana orders to 100 or 200 at a time.

The rest is history. We sold online. We created our original Rosie Employment Badge collar pin. And within a year, we opened our first store on Etsy.

Today we have five Etsy stores, and we’ve recently opened RosieCentral on Amazon.

What does “All Things Rosie” Really Mean?

After publishing Rosie’s Daughters, Matilda and I began teaching memoir classes and coaching aspiring authors. Matilda even developed a couple of video writing programs. In 2012, we published Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep. You can find Matilda’s prolific blogging at Women’s Memoirs. But because our writing has its roots in Rosie’s Daughters, we’ll be incorporating some of our writing materials into RosieCentral.

And that’s not all. Our audience for Rosie gear has continued to grow. We have sports teams, event planners, schools, clubs, dance troupes, government departments and even businesses buying large numbers of bandanas and pins for their events. To support them, we created Buy Bulk Wholesale.

And increasingly, museums are carrying our Rosie gear. We’re in the process of developing an online catalog to help museums order. And that is here on RosieCentral too.

You see, we really are bringing together “All Things Rosie.” But most important of all are you. The women with the “We Can Do It!” spirit.

So let us know what you want. And we’ll do our part to ask and engage you in our growth. Stay tuned.

And remember…

We Can Do It…Pass It On!

 

Kendra BonnettWelcome to RosieCentral

Halloween Costume Survey 2019

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The latest Halloween costume survey proves Rosie the Riveter is the perfect costume choice I 2019

Kendra BonnettHalloween Costume Survey 2019