It is very well known that Berea College was the first interracial and coeducational college in the south. On this Martin Luther King Jr. day, it is important realize not only has Berea College invested in the potential of people of color, it has also invested in the potential of women. It would take several years for many other colleges and universities to invest in the academic needs of the women on their campus. Berea College, however, was founded with equal education opportunities in mind. That may have something to do with a very strong woman who is often looked over when discussing the founding of this school. That woman is Reverend John G. Fee’s wife Matilda. Mrs. Fee was an abolitionist just as her husband, in fact, she saved Rev. Fee from would be lynch mobs and took in African American boards when the school reopened in 1866. Many people saw her as a woman characterized by prayer and service to others. Mrs. Fee would even later become head of the Ladies Care board on campus, which supervised the life of students. Someone once said “behind every great man is a great woman,” and surely this applies to the Fees.
This Sunday, January 21st there will be women’s marches all over the world. They stand together for equality, justice, and tolerance. Organizers see this as an opportunity to ignite others and gain new leaders. The strength women possess has been exhibited many times throughout history, and even now. Women across the globe are taking a stance against the many injustices they face, such as unequal education opportunities, unequal job pay, and sexual misconduct. One example of this is recent #MeToo Movement. The #MeToo movement spread virtually through social media in October 2017. The hashtag denounces sexual assault and harassment in wake of many sexual misconduct allegations coming to light. Activist Tarana Burke is credited with starting the hashtag, but actress Alyssa Milano popularized it and encouraged women to tweet their experiences. This movement later made way for the Times Up movement. Times Up launched a few days ago. It raised $13 million dollars in legal defense fund administered by the National Women’s Law Center, to support low-income women seeking justice for sexual harassment/ assault in the workplace. It also advocates for tougher legislation against companies that tolerate persistent harassment and gender parity in studio and talent agencies. Once again, we see strong women daring to change history.