While the Green Book has become something of a buzzword lately thanks to Hollywood, the “mother” of the essential guide for African Americans navigating Jim Crow America has been overlooked and all but lost to history.

Victoria Martínez

In 1961, The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, known simply as the Green Book, had been helping African Americans navigate both America’s landscape and its structural racism for 25 years. Prohibited from patronizing “white-only” establishments like hotels, restaurants and gas stations, and even confronted with entire towns where blacks were told in explicit terms to leave before sundown, black travelers used the Green…


Labels and stereotypes, long used to subordinate and marginalize women in history, need to be opposed, not embraced.

Detail of “Orestes Pursued by the Furies” (1921) by John Singer Sargent. In the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

I have grown to hate the quote, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”[1]

Oft-repeated, frequently misattributed, and almost always taken out of context,[2] the now-famous words first appeared in the opening paragraph of a 1976 scholarly article written by American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. What has been overlooked is that the rest of Ulrich’s article went on to brilliantly qualify the statement.

In her analysis of sermon literature in early Puritan America, Ulrich demonstrates that there is “ample evidence”[3] that women and their…


Reading at a Table (1934) by Pablo Picasso, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Image by Wally Gobetz).

From a former slave to two Nobel laureates, a selection of women writers in modern history and their often-overlooked narratives of Christmas.

Victoria Martínez

In modern history, the story of Christmas has been written across cultures, social classes, and time, even if the narratives written by those with little power have often been drowned out by those with the lion’s share. The following is just a small sampling of some of the women of diverse backgrounds and nationalities who, throughout the 19th and 20th century, wrote the story of Christmas. …


Six little-known women from around the world — starting with a Russian-Jewish immigrant and ending with a French former chambermaid — who contributed to first-wave feminism in the United States.

By Victoria Martínez

The first-wave feminist movement in the United States was notable for the bravery and determination of its activists, as well as for racial segregation. Racism, politics, and conflicting backgrounds, aims and agendas all served to marginalize and exclude most African American and other women of color from the mainstream movement, including from more progressive and radical organizations like the National Women’s Party (NWP). …


Featured image: Detail from “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (bet. 1490 to 1510). Wikimedia Commons.

Katharine Houghton Hepburn helped American women secure the vote and reproductive freedom. Her daughter was a four-time Oscar winner. Chances are, you know about the actress, but not the activist.

By Victoria Martínez

As a Gilded Age heiress, Katharine Martha Houghton could have frittered away her time on fashion and socializing. Instead, she attended both Bryn Mawr College and Radcliffe College, earning her Master’s degree in 1900. As the wife of a doctor, whom she married in 1904, she might have been contented as Mrs. Thomas Hepburn, complacent society hostess. …


Memorial statue by German artist Fritz Cremer located at the site of Mauthausen concentration camp. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A major New York City airport is named in honor of her brother, but Gemma La Guardia Gluck’s story of surviving Ravensbrück concentration camp as the political prisoner of Adolf Eichmann unjustly exists in the shadows of history.

By Victoria Martínez

Details of Gemma La Guardia Gluck’s arrest and imprisonment in Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp were part of the testimony at the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, who had been responsible for implementing the Nazi “Final Solution” of Jewish extermination. She had been one of the few — perhaps the only — native-born American women to become a prisoner in…


The author’s praise of liberated women was just another fiction — and the feminists he dated weren’t afraid to say so

“The flowers of evil by Charles Baudelaire, 1891," a painting by Charles Maurin. Credit: DEA/G. Dagli/Orti/DeAgostini/Getty

The feminism of H.G. Wells, the author best known for science fiction novels like The War of the Worlds (1898) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), will come as a surprise to many today, even though it was widely known and publicly debated in the early 20th century.

Imbued with socialism and modernism, Wells’ utopian visions—such as in his 1905 novel A Modern Utopiagarnered both fervent support and intense criticism. His embrace of “the woman question” in favor of women and his avowed feminism — “I confess myself altogether feminist. I have no doubts in the matter,” proclaims the…


Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga by Percy Moran, circa 1911 (courtesy Library of Congress); overlaid by an image of the “Libertas Americana” medal commissioned by Benjamin Franklin and executed by Augustin Dupré in 1783 (Creative Commons).

Women played significant and important roles in the American Revolution. Many broke traditional gender roles and suffered as much as the men they served beside. Marauchie Van Orden’s bravery at the Battles of Saratoga in 1777 earned her the rank of soldier and the respect of George Washington.

By Victoria (Van Orden) Martínez and Jim Van Orden

At a young age, my father (and co-author of this piece) introduced me to the American television series M.A.S.H.[1], then in its early years of syndication. Instilled with a strong sense of female empowerment and an awareness that women had historically been deprived…


When patriarchy and feminism joined forces, it put Sweden on the path to becoming one of the most gender-equal countries in the world

Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin (L) and other members of Sweden’s self-proclaimed feminist government in Stockholm on February 1, 2017. Photo by Johan Schiff, Regeringen/AFP/Getty

While the word “feminism” can be divisive in many parts of the world, in Sweden it has been intimately paired with the country’s government since 2014. That year, Sweden’s new prime minister, Stefan Löfven, declared that the country would have the world’s first feminist government. A look at the official government website reveals statements like:

“Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice.”

Meanwhile, in the United States, the statement at the crux of the Equal Rights Amendment, “Equality of rights…


“The Parable of the Talents” (17th century) by Willem de Poorter. (Courtesy The Athenaeum)

Matilda Joslyn Gage, who wrote about how cumulative advantage (a principle not named until a century later) erased women and their achievements from history, was herself erased from history because of cumulative advantage. The reason why You Don’t Know Matilda involves the Bible and science.

By Victoria Martínez

Victoria Martínez

Writer and historical researcher. Find me at https://www.victoriamartinezwriter.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store