After her parents' mysterious deaths in 1808, Maria Stewart was forced into indentured servitude.
At 15, she was finally free – and determined to educate herself. But she was up against intense discrimination based on class, race, AND gender.
Being Black and a girl, Stewart struggled to receive an education. But she wouldn’t be stopped!
She took free Sunday school lessons, worked, got married and, inspired by the writer David Walker, began writing against slavery and sexism. All was well – until it wasn’t.
Stewart's husband died, and crooked white lawyers swindled her out of his small fortune! Despite being broke, she fought on – surprising everyone as she began publicly speaking out against slavery and for women’s rights, becoming one of the first women of any race to publicly address a crowd!
She was a sensation – but that also made her a target.
Stewart’s legacy lives on in Black women-led movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, which continue to call out white supremacist systems like Stewart did nearly two hundred years ago. Like Stewart, we must challenge systems that work to oppress us, speaking up when no one else will!