Ma Rainey made dozens of recordings, wore diamond tiaras and beaded gowns, and was once arrested for an intimate party involving several other women.
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Stephanie St. Clair
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Destined to be a mere political pawn, this Mongol queen rode into battle while pregnant, united the warring tribes, and was considered to be the second coming of Genghis Khan.
One of the greatest pharaohs to ever live, she built up Egypt so much that a generations-long sustained effort to erase her from history couldn't do the trick.
When an enemy killed her husband, this Apache woman broke the rules of her tribe to get revenge - and in so doing, became one of her tribe's greatest heroes.
To ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.
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.
This pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession - and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.
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.
This Armenian folktale princess saved her hapless beau - by making him get a job.
Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in…