March Madness by Laurie Calkhoven

For me March is about Women’s History Month not basketball (is that the sport with the big round orange ball or the small round white ball? I know it’s not the ovalish ball with the pointy ends).

Here are a few things that drove me to madness while I was researching WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD:

After Sacagawea’s months of hard work for Lewis & Clark, she was paid nothing. Her husband (who bought her from her Hidatsa Indian captors when she was thirteen) was given $500.33 and 320 acres of land.

Susan B. Anthony got her start as an activist in the temperance movement. When she stood to speak at a convention, she was told to sit down and let the men do the talking. Not long after, she made her way to the women’s suffrage movement and a partnership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Harriet Tubman was just five or six when she was taken away from her parents and hired out to a nearby slave master. She was expected to work all day and keep the master’s baby quiet at night. When the baby cried, Harriet was beaten.

Maria Tallchief was urged to change her last name to Tallchieva when she became a dancer so that people would think she was Russian instead of Native American.

And a few things that made me happy:

Elizabeth Blackwell was admitted to Geneva Medical College as a practical joke. But the joke was on them—Elizabeth worked harder than the male students, aced her classes, and graduated with honors.

Amelia Earhart and her sister built a roller coaster in their backyard after seeing one at the St. Louis World’s Fair when they were kids. Amelia zoomed off the tracks on her very first ride – her first flight!

Julia Child was a disaster in her first cooking course.

Ella Fitzgerald entered her first talent contest at the Apollo Theater as a dancer. Stage fright got in the way and she couldn’t move her feet, so she sang instead—and won.

Coretta Scott King had the word “obey” removed from her marriage vows.

Women change the world on a daily basis!


  1. Love hearing these stories of unsung heroic women. Thanks for writing such an important book Laurie!

  2. Ooh, those first stories made me seethe! But so grateful to authors like you who make sure we never forget how far we've come thanks to the courage of those brave women who came before us.

  3. I didn't know that about Ella glad she got stage fright!


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