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Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.
Mekatilili wa Menza
When colonial powers went too far, she rebelled in the most stylish way possible: dancing from town to town. It was surprisingly effective.
Rose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.
Madam C.J. Walker
America's ostensible first female self-made millionaire was a black beauty magnate who did it all for her daughter.
Alice B. Clement
Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.
The exiled daughter of a deposed ruler, she could have been a fairytale bridge between worlds - but fairy tales are not real. Benazir, whose name means "without flaw," was anything but.
This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.
Fannie Lou Hamer
This uneducated, impoverished activist suffered unbelievable abuse in her journey to be able to vote -- but that did not stop her.
The last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.
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.
One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law…
This "most dangerous of all spies" staged daring mountaintop escapes, prison breaks, and railway bombings -- all on her trusty wooden leg, codenamed "Cuthbert."
1920s Afghanistan was a progressive and rapidly-modernizing country in large part to the most powerful, empathic, and maligned queen it had ever seen.
This most-wanted WW2 spy rescued Jews and POWs, blew up Nazi trains, and used an X-rated radio rhyme to identify herself to Britain.
Massively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.
"Stagecoach" Mary Fields
Pistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.
Tomboy, daughter, spy, soldier, foster mom, innkeeper, gold miner, nurse, activist; veteran: Angela Jimenez doesn't need a movie so much as a mini-series.
Jeanne de Clisson
When her husband was unjustly executed, this French noblewoman-turned-pirate became the terror of France.
When her brother of this fairytale princess decided to marry her, she warded him off by cutting off her own hands. Then she gave birth to a dog. It got weirder after that.
After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.