Sister Rosetta Tharpe
The Mother of Rock 'n Roll
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Brilliant undercover spy who posed as a slave to spy on - and attempt to burn down - the Confederate White House.
Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
First her father died. Then her sons. Then her husband. Pregnant, saddled with debt, a failing company, and an overbearing mother, Rebecca Lukens rolled up her sleeves and showed the world what she was made of: iron.
This cheery godmother of trans civil rights masked a dark past of abuse.
Champion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.
This audacious black gangster fought the Italian mob for control of Harlem and won, taunting them in full-page newspaper ads as she went.
Loud, proud, uncompromising: this bold politician helped bring about Title IX, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment - as well as much more.
Rose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.
To warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere's.
The godmother of rock and roll, this black bisexual singer fused gospel and pop to blaze her own way across the Jim Crow-era south.