WIP: Heroic Vignettes, Around the World With Eighty Heroines

THE PROPOSAL

Heroic Vignettes, Around the World with Eighty Heroines

An exploration of an archetype unfettered by geographical and geopolitical restraints and undaunted by time.

By Tami Richards

CONTENTS

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………

The Case for a series of Heroic Vignettes ………………………….

Overview ………………………………………………………………………

About the Author ………………………………………………………….

Length and Timetable ……………………………………………………

INTRODUCTION

The hero is a necessary element to the makeup of human experience and has been the quintessential star of the literary world for eons. From Homer’s Odysseus to The New Testament’s Paul of Tarsus, from Chaucer’s Wife of Bath to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the heroic influencers are long outlived by their stories.

In an ideal model of world building, the heroic trait would be exemplified in all citizens in order to achieve the most efficient method for every aspect of civilization from inventions of needed products such as electricity or automobiles to the creation of life preserving preparations of food and shelter, the heroic trait is what drives people to not only survive, but to thrive. Heroes in literature, then, are necessary to the survival of humankind – heroes teach us that quitters never win.

The twentieth century’s rise of women’s voices in literature created a cacophony of a new sound on the heroic front. The cymbal clash of a long awaited unveiling was heard from the keystrokes of Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Willa Cather, Maya Angelou, and hundreds more women as they streamed into the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.

We have reached a time where it seems as though nothing is hidden. History’s annals contain records of female doctors, botanists, lawyers, etc. Women have been pirates, dentists, scientists and aviators. Journals of pioneer women of the wagon trains westward were discovered, and letters of long ago poetic, political, and business friends and lovers revealed. History was always being made and there were always women involved! They are heroes, and as it is the heroes who build worlds, their stories must be told.

Book One: Feminine Americans

Book Two: Feminine West Africans

Book Five: Feminine Chinese

Nien Cheng

Book Eight: Feminine South Americans

Anabel Hernandez

Where should we go next?

THE CASE FOR A SERIES OF HEROIC VIGNETTES

The revelation of female heroes requires an introduction to not only the struggles they encountered, but also the sacrifices they made. Our heroes are human beings constrained by the forces of reality such as time and space and cannot, therefore, have it all. The more traditional feminine concerns of family and society were often refused by our heroines in order to succeed in their accomplishments.

The heroic attribute is not limited by time or space and can be found anywhere in the world at any time. The series, Heroic Vignettes, reveals the feminine heroes of China, South America, West Africa, and five other regions. Many of the players in the books are lesser known heroes, some are well known, but the thread of greatness binds them together flawlessly in vignettes short enough to inspire the reader quickly without losing interest much like Jason Porath accomplished with his series for younger readers, Rejected Princesses .

Heroic Vignettes aims to engage readers ranging in age from youth to adult. Recently, there welve listings of contemporary books about Babe Ruth in a city children’s library collection, there are only 2 of Babe Didrikson Zaharias who broke records in multiple sports including track and field at the Olympics, golf, and basketball. Granted, Zaharias was not the best baseball player to have ever lived, she was however one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Her obscurity is embarrassing.

OVERVIEW

Beginning with the United States and traveling through seven additional countries, Heroic Vignettes aims to fascinate readers with little known tidbits about women around the world in chronological order (within each respective section).

In the United States, we read about Toypurina, the 18th Century Tongva woman who led a revolt against the Spanish Mission encroaching on her tribal grounds in California and Deborah Samson Gannett who dressed in men’s clothing in order to fight in the American Revolution. Next we learn of Dorothea Lynde Dix who butted heads with businessmen, politicians, and doctors to win treatment for the indigent insane (people with mental health issues who could not afford help). Then we meet Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made female millionaire who saw a need for a hair product women of color and made it happen. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune is the next member of the Heroic Vignettes group as we follow her rise from birth to former slaves to enacting many political and social firsts such as … “founded and headed the only college in the South built and financed by a Negro woman…” (Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, MY DAY, March 6, 1948), followed by Hazel Hall, who wrote poetry, still in print today, and earned a living sewing fine linens, baby clothes, wedding dresses, and lingerie from the confines of her wheelchair. Next we meet Dorothea Lange, famed photographer of the great depression, and Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, “America’s first Asian Aviatrix” (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum). Mildred (Babe) Didrikson Zaharias, claiming long list of firsts in American and Olympic sports, is next then we read about Graciela Gil Olivarez who was instrumental in creating social programs such as Head Start, Job Corps, and Community Action Agencies.

The second section of Heroic Vignettes will star heroines from West Africa, a history invisible to eyes searching for records recorded by hand but rich in lore, mysticism, and music. In the twelfth century, Yennenga founded modern day Burkina Faso when she ran away from her father in order to marry. Yennenga’s tale is followed by 16th century’s Queen Idia of Benin and Queen Amina of Nigeria. Next is Queen Abla Pokou of the 18th century Ivory Coast, and Yaa Asantewaa, the sixty year old grandmother who led an uprising to protect her people’s heritage, will represent 20th century Ghana. The 20th Century also brings us Nyimasata Sanneh-Bojang, the first female leader elected to Parliament and a leading activist against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), and a group of freedom fighters in Guinea-Bissau known as the Warrior Women. The 21st Century brings us Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, of Liberia – the first elected female president in all of Africa, and the Nigerian authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and Buchi Emecheta.

The third and fourth sections of Heroic Vignettes are undecided, but the fifth section will introduce some of the feminine heroes of China’s history starting with Lady Fu Hao (12th century B.C.)the only female General in China’s history, followed by Lu Mu in A.D. 18 who organized the masses in order to usurp unjust rulers. In A.D. 49-120 We find Ban Zhao, China’s first known female historian. From 170 to 249 lived Cai Yan, an accomplished calligrapher and poet, some of her works can still be found. Wu Zetian (624-705) was the only female emperor in Chinese history, and Mu Guiying (960 – 1279) was a general in the Song army until she was 80 years old. Liang Hongyu (1102-1135) fought battles beside her husband and navigated great victorys, and Wang Zhenyi (1768-1797) was a famous astronomer who wrote many volumes explaining the behaviors of the celestial system. Qiu Jin (1875 -1907) who became a great warrior despite the pain in her bound feet, and we finish with Nien Cheng 1915 – 2009 who survived wrongful imprisonment of Communist China and wrote about it.

Sections 6 and 7 remain unexplored, but Section 8 will develop the stories of some of South America’s female heroes. Dandara of Palmares 17th century freedom fighter protecting freed and escaped slaves. Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Bolivia, South America Juana Azurduy was a leader of the Bolivian revolution in the 19th century. She fought for freedom from Spain’s rule with such vigor as to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Minerva, Patria, and Maria Teresa, The Mirabal Sisters confronted a dictator (Rafael Trujillo) who would not take no for an answer in 1950’s Dominican Republic. Anabel Hernandez, (1971- ) Journalist Anabel Hernández broke a story that led to a major investigation into embezzlement at the highest level of government.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heroic Vignettes, Around the World with Eighty Heroines, is an idea stemming from Tami Richards’ long time interest in the little known, the under celebrated, the forgotten achievements. It is an esoteric uncovering of how we, collective humanity, arrived where we are; a hobbled together group of individuals listening to the echoing cadence of invention, courage, and hope.

Tami Richards has written biographical material for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Most recently published is a piece on the Literary Ladies Guidewebsite about author Beverly Cleary. Upcoming in 2022, the print magazine, Military History, will feature her article about Sarraounia Mangou, a brave West African warrior queen who stood against the colonial scramble for Africa in the 20th Century. Prior biography related publishing credits include a guest blog post on Amazing Women in History about the Ming Dynasty Warrior, Lin Siniang, a piece about Dorothy Hobson’s Valsetz Star for the Woods Reader print magazine, a story about an oncologist battling his own cancer for a local print publication, and a short profile of Oregon’s leading suffragist, Abigail Scott Duniway.

Tami Richards maintains a local history blog and is active on social media FB Twitter Linkedin. Her complete author’s portfolio can be viewed here.

LENGTH AND TIMETABLE

The finished manuscript will be approximately 90,000 words and I will have it finished within a year.

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