Human rights are the rights to which an individual has a just right as a human being

Human rights are the rights to which an individual has a just right as a human being. Men, women and children collectively and individually have these by virtue of their birth as human beings. Over the course of the history, many individuals, movements and groups fought for intense social changes in the name of human rights. Some of these individuals include Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, AJ Cooper, MC Terrell, IB Wells, and MW Stewart. While these women were primarily known for their fight against slavery or abolition, their philosophies encompassed much more. Specifically, their philosophies made connections between inequality, conflict, social justice, governance, and human rights in a challenging era.
Harriet Tubman was a slave who dedicated her life to fulfilling her cry to the slaveholders, “Let my people go!” She escaped from slavery, herself, yet returned to the South nineteen times to free over three hundred slaves. She was called “the Moses of her people,” and she never lost a slave or failed on her missions. She was a scout and a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War and her information was responsible for the destruction of enormous amounts of Confederate resources. Harriet Tubman continued to battle for social reforms and justice for slaves even after the Civil War. Harriet Tubman’s widely recognized successful work for the Underground Railroad overshadowed many other noteworthy contributions she made as a peacemaker and stateswoman. She rose above the societal limitations imposed by being enslaved and a woman and made unparalleled contributions to the cause of social justice.(1 Crew)
Sojourner Truth was one of the most famous black abolitionists. She was emancipated from slavery then she became a preacher who became involved in the abolitionist movement, and later in the women’s rights movement. Sojourner Truth During lived during a time when racism and sexism were the norm in this country. She defied the society’s rules and insisted that black people should be treated as the equals of whites and that women should have the same rights as men. She saw achieving women’s suffrage to be essential in the fight for equality and would not settle to see black men on equal footing as white men, only to leave women without voting rights.
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper is remembered as a writer, teacher, and activist. She campaigned for the education of African Americans and women. In addition to working to advance African American educational opportunities, Cooper also established and co-founded several organizations to promote black civil rights causes. One organization the she helped found was the Colored Women’s League and she was a member of the executive committee of the first Pan-African Conference. Since the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) did not accept African American members, she created “colored” branches to provide support for young black migrants moving from the South into Washington, D.C.
Mary Church Terrell was an educator, speaker, writer, and activist. She was close friends with Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, Terrell and worked tirelessly to end discrimination. Between 1892 and 1954, Terrell used her publics peaking abilities and written-communication skills to promote reform and gender equality(4). She became the first black woman on the Washington, D.C. Board of Education and founder and first president of the National Association of Colored Women. Her greatest accomplishments occurred later in life. While in her eighties, she aggressively pushed to integrate eateries, theaters, and public lodgings in Washington, D.C. As an opponent to injustice, Terrell became a spokeswoman for global peace. She traveled the world advocating the end to discrimination, emphasizing that it affected all races. She promoted the idea that all humans should be treated fairly. Although Mrs. Terrell toiled in many efforts for civic and social betterment, she devoted her great ability, consecration, and devotion chiefly to colored women in behalf of whom she always served as “a watchman on the wall.” (3)
Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a crusader for various causes. She was a crusader for anti-lynching, women’s rights advocate, journalist, and speaker. She stands as one of our nation’s most uncompromising leaders and most ardent defenders of democracy. She remained committed to the cause of justice and to the abolition of lynching. At one point in the 1880s, she refused to give up her seat on the train and had to be removed to the colored section. She then sued railroad. (5) She went on to found and become integral in groups striving for African-American justice.
Maria Stewart was an essayist, lecturer, abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Stewart is known for four powerful speeches she delivered in Boston in the early 1830s at a time when no woman, black or white, dared to address an audience from a public platform. She was a first in many things including : first African American woman to lecture about women’s rights, and black women’s rights; first African American woman to speak to a mixed audience of men and women, black and white; first known African American woman to lecture in public on political issues; and the first African American woman to make public anti-slavery speeches. Stewart demonstrates that, even within an oppressed community, the condition of women is not to be overlooked, and most importantly she makes a compelling case for the indispensability of women’s efforts at institutional creation and transformation in struggles for liberation.(6)
As you can see these women all made significant contributions to society beyond those related to slavery. Harriet Tubman made contributions to the field of housing for older persons and other populations at risk. She as well as other early housers performed good works and were contributors to the rich legacy of community social work practice and its sage principles of empowerment and self-help. (2)Anna Julia Cooper is known for her education philosophy that emphasized preparing students for college. Ida B Wells-Burnett used a newspaper to propagate her self-defense philosophy to combat structural violence after some of her friends were lynched. She was also labeled as a radical in her time because she was one of the few Black leaders who opposed Washington’s views. Mary Church Turrell was concerned about ensuring the fight for suffrage for black women. She was involved in developing organizations and was a founding member of the NAACP. Not known by many people she also participated in the battle against the segregated eating places. Maria Stewart spoke out against ills in society that included tyranny, oppression, and prejudice. She wrote essays challenging slavery and political and economic exploitation. She stressed that the Bible and the Constitution gave everyone the birthright of justice and freedom. Sojourner Truth spoke and fought for women’s rights. She also lobbied for the desegregation of public transportation and tried to win help for land allocation for former slaves that gained their freedom. The contributions of these human activists continue to benefit all of society today.

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