#MindforBooksPrompt – May

Anisguti (Planting Moon)

May is known as Anisguti (the planting moon) in the Cherokee calendar and I kind of love the imagery it conjures up. Especially because this is the month I start in on my garden for the summer.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Green and plants come to mind! Green covers, plants on covers, sprayed/stenciled edges, green or plants in the title or in the story. Hey, characters who display large amounts of growth throughout the story would totally work as well.

Also would love to see posts that include books that represent any and all indigenous people and culture. From USA, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and all in between.

Women of Note

5 May 1864 Nellie Bly born. Nellie Bly is the pen name of Elizabeth Cochrane, an American journalist whose around-the-world race against the fictional eighty-day record of Phileas Fogg brought her world renown. She began her career when her angry letter to the Pittsburgh Dispatch newspaper about an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’ got her a job.

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6 May 1980 María Luisa Bombal Anthes dies. Chilean author, born 1910. One of the few Latin American female authors to receive worldwide acclaim. She led a pretty interesting life. She married a homosexual painter and shot her lover, but was acquitted because he said he didn’t blame her. Afterwards she moved to the US and married a count. She produced fascinating writing about gender, which is probably not surprising. Hans Christian Andersen was an early influence.

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7 May 1919 Eva Perón born. Wife of Argentine president Juan Perón, and a powerful unofficial political leader herself. Adored by the masses, especially the poor – los descamisados (the shirtless ones). Largely responsible for the passage of the Argentinian women’s suffrage law in 1947. Formed the Peronist Women’s Party to help women stand as political candidates.

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9 May 1951 Joy Harjo born. American poet, musician, playwright, author. Member of the Muscogee Nation. First Native American US Poet Laureate. She has voiced strong support for women’s rights and equality. ‘I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings.’

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12 May 1907 Katharine Hepburn born. American film, stage and television actor. Hepburn’s career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned over 60 years. She was known for her headstrong independence, spirited personality and outspokenness, cultivating a screen persona that matched this public image, regularly playing strong-willed, sophisticated women. Won four Academy Awards for Best Actress. In 1999, Hepburn was named the greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute. Hepburn shunned the Hollywood publicity machine and refused to conform to society’s expectations of women, most notably being outspoken about her choice not to have children. Hepburn epitomized the “modern woman” in the 20th-century United States, and is remembered as an important cultural figure.

13 May 1888 Inge Lehmann born. Danish seismologist and geophysicist whose main discovery, in 1936, was that Earth has a solid inner core within a molten outer core. She lived to be 104. An annual Inge Lehmann Medal is awarded by the American Geophysical Union to honour ‘outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core’.

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16 May 1975 Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the top of Everest. ‘Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the willpower that is most important.’ Japanese climber, born 1939. As well as climbing Everest, Tabei was the first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent. Some male mountaineers refused to climb with her, others thought she only climbed to find a husband, so she founded the Joshi-Tohan Club (Women’s Mountaineering Club) in 1969. The club’s slogan was ‘Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves’. In 1970 the club completed the first female and first Japanese ascent of Annapurna III in Nepal. To fund the climb for Everest, Junko taught piano and tutored kids in music and English. The club members made their gloves out of old car seats and sewed their own sleeping bags.

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17 May 1912 Mary Kenner born. Kenner was an American florist and inventor who, in 1956, developed a sanitary belt which was adjustable, with a built-in, moisture-proof napkin pocket. The Sonn-Nap-Pack Company wanted to buy it but changed their minds when they found she was African American. Her patent expired and others took her idea. She held five patents for inventions. Owned four flower shops. Fostered five boys.

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17 May 1961 Enya born. Regarded as the “Queen of New Age”, Enya is the best-selling Irish solo artist in history. Enya’s discography has sold 26.5 million certified albums in the United States and an estimated 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the 2016 Sunday Times Rich List, which listed its top 50 Music Millionaires of Britain and Ireland, she emerged as the richest female singer with a fortune of €115 million and ranked number 28 overall. Enya is known for keeping a private lifestyle, saying: “The music is what sells. Not me, or what I stand for … that’s the way I’ve always wanted it”. Enya is single, childfree and lives in a castle in Killiney, County Dublin. A true QUEEN!

18 May 1803 Catherine Flon sews the first Haitian flag. We have no birthdate for Flon, a Haitian seamstress, patriot and national heroine. The Haitian Revolution was the only successful slave revolt in the world and Catherine is a heroine of it. Admired by woman-led Haitian activist movements of today.

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25 May 1925 Rosario Castellanos born. Novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, diplomat and probably the most important Mexican woman writer of the 20th century. Castellanos wrote about cultural and gender oppression and became a symbol of Latin American feminism. She was appointed Mexico’s ambassador to Israel from 1971 to 1974 and died in Tel Aviv when she was accidentally electrocuted in her home.

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27 May 1907 Rachel Carson born. American marine biologist, author and environmentalist. Her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, woke many Americans to conservation concerns, especially around the use of pesticides. The environmental movement owes her a great debt.

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29 May 1851 Sojourner Truth gives legendary ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ speech. Born into slavery around 1797, Sojourner Truth was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist and inspirational speaker. There is almost too much to say about this incredible woman who escaped slavery with her daughter in 1826 and won a court case against a white man in 1828 to recover her son. It was in May 1851 that she gave an ad-libbed speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, which later became known by the title, ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’.

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‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ is a freaking great speech. See below.

Well children … Well there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that betwixt the Negroes of the South and the women at the North all talking about rights these white men going to be in a fix pretty soon.

But what’s all this here talking about? That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helped me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place. Ain’t I a woman?

Look at me, look at my arms, I have plowed, and planted, and gathered in the barns, and no man can head me. And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much, and eat as much as a man when I could get it, and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman? I have borne 13 children and seen most all sold off to slavery. And when I cried out with my mother’s grief none but Jesus heard me. And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head … What’s this they call it? What’s this they call it?

Intellect, that’s it honey. Intellect. What’s that got to do with women’s rights and Negroes’ rights? If my cup will hold but a pint, and yours will hold a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure fool?

And then that man back there in the black … That man back in the black says that women can’t have as much rights as men because Christ wasn’t a woman. Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him. Now if the first woman that God ever made was strong enough to turn this world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again. And now they is asking to do it and you men better let them.

Obliged to you. Thank you for letting me speak to you this morning. Now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

Full transcript of Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech from May 29, 1851.

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