Phenomenal WomenPosted on: 10/03/2020
Michaela DePrince (born Mabinty Bangura)
My inspirational woman is Michaela DePrince, a black American ballet dancer who faced many struggles throughout her life. Her father was shot by the Revolutionary United Front and her mother starved to death soon after. She was brought to an Orphanage by her Uncle during the Sierra Leone civil war. She had vitiligo a skin condition causing skin depigmentation and so was described as a “devil’s child” by her uncle. She had to flee to a refugee camp with her orphanage after it got bombed.
In 1999 (at the age of 4) she was adopted by an American family. When she arrived in America she joined a ballet class, inspired by a magazine cover of a ballerina she had found and kept while in Sierra Leone. In the end she pursued a career in ballet despite encountering racial discrimination. Just aged eight she was told she couldn’t perform as Marie from the nutcracker because “America’s not ready for a black girl ballerina”. A year later, one of her teachers told her adoptive mother that black dancers weren’t worth investing money in. After all of this she is now extremely famous and has overcome many struggles to get to where she is today. She is strong, independent and resilient and she is my inspiration.
By Fiona Bull (Year 9)
My inspirational for National's Women's Day is my Mum because she is the most hard-working woman I know. She is a year 6 teacher and she often gives up her weekends and evenings to prepare her lessons in order to get them through their exams. She also raises me and my brother and I rarely hear her complain about anything. I think her hard work and dedication make her an inspiration for everyone!
By Ella Hale (Year 9)
On the 1st December 1995, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing James F. Blake’s order for her to relinquish her seat in the “colored section” of the bus for a white passenger.
Rosa’s defiance against the racist laws of 90s America sparked a series of protests for her freedom, and America was changed for the better as more and more civil rights activists joined the fight.
Rosa was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913. In addition to African ancestry, one of Parks' great-grandfathers was Scots-Irish and one of her great-grandmothers a part-Native American slave. When her parents separated, she moved with her mother to Pine Level, just outside the state capital, Montgomery. She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents, mother, and younger brother Sylvester.
After the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa and her husband moved to Hampton, Virginia, primarily because Rosa could not find work, though also partially because she disagreed with Martin Luther King and some of the other leaders of Montgomery’s civil rights movement about how to proceed with their campaign, along with a constant stream of death threats from those who disagreed with what she had done.
“At the time I was arrested, I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.”
By Tabitha Gardiner (Year 9)
Despite the tragic loss of my dad in an accident when she was very young, my mother never lost her sense of humour and her sense of fun. She was not bitter and even said that "boys didn't mean to kill your dad, it was an accident". She had fond memories of family life before the accident, but never said it was better than the one after! She accepted her injuries with grace and never complained even though she was in and out of hospital a lot! She even joked that her hospital file weighed more than her in the end! She gained respect from everyone around her and was a great role model for the younger generations of our family, including me. She was determined and brave, yet fun and almost childlike in her humour, making her very popular with my young friends as I was growing up. It was only when she was dying that she said "I have had a good life, but it would have been better with your dad!".
My mum was a true inspiration to all those around her and I could not be more proud of her and I am so grateful to her for bringing us up in the way that she did.
Julie Minell - Cover Supervisor