Florence Mills in 1923. She was born in 1895, to ex-slaves in a Washington, D.C. slum. By the age of four, she was performing on stage. By the 1920s, she was the toast of Broadway and London and the first black woman featured in Vogue. Her trademark song, ‘I'm a Little Blackbird Looking for a Bluebird’ was a protest against racial inequality. Mills died in 1927, aged only 31.
Scientist Rosalind Franklin made the first clear X-ray images of DNA’s structure. Her work was described as the most beautiful X-ray photographs ever taken. Franklin’s ‘Photo 51’ informed Crick and Watson of DNA’s double helix structure for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize. Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958, aged 37, her contribution to DNA’s discovery story unacknowledged.
Sally Ride (First American Woman in space) has died after a 17-month long battle against pancreatic cancer. She became a household name after her historic flight on Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983, and then used her high-profile to encourage kids, especially young girls, to pursue science, math, and engineering careers. Sally, you will be dearly missed.