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Madam C.J. Walker
America's ostensible first female self-made millionaire was a black beauty magnate who did it all for her daughter.
Marsha P. Johnson
This cheery godmother of trans civil rights masked a dark past of abuse.
Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
Carolina Maria de Jesus
Brash, funny, and difficult, this mother of three wrote her way out of extreme poverty with her uncompromising look at Brazilian society - and was alternately lauded and berated for it.
Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.
After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.
In 1915, this rowdy Puerto Rican activist was arrested for wearing pants in public. It wouldn't be the last time she wore pants, or got arrested.
Alice B. Clement
Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.
Te Puea Herangi
The reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader.
This revolutionary martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.
Born in a prison cell, this revolutionary financed and led a large chunk of Greece's navy to victory in their fight for independence.
This unlikely heroine created her own Woman's Army of 70,000 soldiers through good manners and political savvy - and then used it to overthrow one of China's greatest douchebags.
Tamar of Georgia
Saint, sovereign, and fiercely independent woman, she quashed two rebellions from her ex-husband, expanded her nation's borders, and ushered in a golden age.
To save an oncoming passenger train, this 15-year-old girl climbed across a collapsing bridge, with nothing but flashes of lightning to keep her from falling to her death in the flooding river below -- a river that had already killed her father.
When an unrequited admirer began threatening her, this early fresco painter became one of history's first warrior artists.
When attacked by Native Americans, this pregnant viking bared her chest, brandished a sword, and took them on by herself. And she won.
Sword-slinging, opera-singing bisexual rock star of the 17th century - who burnt down a convent to romance a nun and had to be pardoned by the king of France TWICE.
Catalina de Erauso
After escaping from a convent, this swashbuckler had the strength to chase her dreams: which were apparently to drink, fight, and womanize.
Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones)
This leader of the labor movement suffered imprisonment, defamation, and untold misery to battle against forces that most of us just take for granted.
When she came face-to-face with a great monster, this mother saved her child and herself through bravery, quick thinking, and great culinary skills.