Winnie MandelaShe was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including 27 years during which he was imprisoned. Although they were still married at the time of his becoming president of South Africa in May 1994, the couple had separated two years earlier. Their divorce was finalised on 19 March 1996, though Winnie Mandela continued to be a presence in Mandela's life in later years despite his remarriage in 1998. Winnie could be seen almost daily visiting her former husband Nelson Mandela at the Mediclinic heart hospital in Pretoria where he was receiving treatment. Of all the major figures who came to global prominence during the South African liberation struggle, Madikizela-Mandela was seen as the most at home in the world of celebrity culture, and for many of the years just before Nelson Mandela's release from 27 years in prison, she was his public face, bringing word of his thoughts and his state of mind.

Maya AngelouMaya Angelou is a celebrated poet, author, activist and educator. Her work in literature has won her critical acclaim both here and abroad. Meanwhile, Angelou has remained at the forefront of politics and racial empowerment by appearing at inaugurations, rallies and sharing tales of discrimination and struggle with the world.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician and economist. After studying iEllen Johnson Sirleafn the United States at Harvard, she became Assistant Minister of Finance then Minister of Finance in Liberia.

Her now dead ex-husband used to unleash violent outbursts as he struggled to accept his wife's career...

In 2005, Ellen became the first woman to be elected president of an African state, in elections organized by the UN.

In mid-October 2011, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came out ahead during the first round of Liberian elections.

On the 7th October 2011, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shares with two other women, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, for their pacifist commitment in favor of male-female equality.

Rosa ParksBorn in Alabama, an American state that was highly segregated in the 1950s, Rosa Parks was an unassuming seamstress who would soon become the "mother" of the civil rights movement.

On the 1st of December 1955, Rosa Parks entered the history books by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This was considerd a violation of the segregation laws that were in place at the time, resulting in her arrest, a court appearance and a $14 fine.

Her action led to a huge protest campaign, led by 26-year-old pastor Martin Luther King: for 381 days, black citizens boycotted the bus company. The influential pacifist movement resulted in the abolition of segregation laws one year later by the Supreme Court.

Several years after her arrest, Rosa Parks confessed: "People say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically (...) No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Harriet TubmanHarriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820. She succesfully escaped to the free state of Pennsylvania in 1849, but was forced to leave many family members behind.

Over time, Harriet returned back to the South to deliver her parents, siblings and over 60 others to the freedom of the North. Harriet became known to history as the conductor of the Underground Railroad, the series of hideouts and houses leading slaves to safety.

As slavery changed with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, she began to help escaping slaves make it all the way to Canada, where slavery was outlawed.

Harriet was active during the Civil War as a cook and nurse for the Union Army and worked as an abolitionist throughout her life.

When she died, Harriet was buried with full military honors, and now has dozens of schools named in her honor, the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, and the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge, to honor her memory.

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