Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West. Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery. After the Civil War Mary made her way West where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.
In Montana, Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory. Unlike most women of the Victorian era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling. It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender. Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall, two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich. According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner, “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.
In Montana, Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent. She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood and stone work. However, it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”. The job was certainly dangerous as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers and wild animals. In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon. Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.
Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.
After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.
At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry. In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72-year-old woman knocked out one of his teeth. For the remainder of her life, Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars. She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.
Nichelle Nichols talks to a group of students at NASA Mission Control in 1977 and visits the Lewis Research center that same year.
In the mid-1970s, Nichols has given a speech that criticized NASA for not selecting women and people of color as astronaut candidates. The agency’s response was to hire her to find and recruit talented minorities and women, and she did exactly that. In her tenure as a recruiter, she helped the agency bring five women, three African American men and an Asian American male on board.
if you don’t think this lady is the best. You’re lying to yourself and we can’t be friends
I love the way that history works behind the scenes
You got Lucille Ball pushing to make Star Trek happen
You got MLK pleading with Nichelle to stay on the show
And then you get Nichelle helping motherfuckers get jobs at NASA
that is the tightest shit and if you don’t like you can get off my blog
#remember when sookie was played by a fat actress and there were literally no jokes about her weight on the show? #remember how she wasn’t defined by her weight? #remember how she got to date and get married and have kids and not be just the token funny fat friend of the main character? #remember when she ~got her life together and was happy before lorelai and that wasn’t seen as threatening?
remember how her insecurities (which she did have, because doesn’t everyone?) had nothing to do with her appearance and were more about her artistic failures, her ability to be a mom, her “annoying quirks” she thought Jackson would get tired of?
remember how even though she was often clumsy forgetful and disorganized she was still portrayed as a competent adult? remember how her decision to get married and have kids didn’t diminish her career as a master chef and entrepreneur? remember how she was a bubbly and funny supporting character without being shallow or unintelligent?