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Blazing Trails: Women on the Frontlines of War You May Not Have Heard Of

As Cheddar celebrates phenomenal women during the month of March, we're taking a second to highlight a few trailblazers who have helped shape the world we live in. Without the contributions of the following women during times of war, the history of the world might have taken a different trajectory.

Mary Jane Richards

Born into slavery in Virginia, Mary Jane Richards — popularly known as Mary Bowser — was recruited by the daughter of her enslaver after being freed upon his death, to spy on behalf of the Union during the U.S. Civil War. As part of the espionage ring, she gathered intel inside the "Southern White House" of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. Her work gathering information on the executive and the Southern legislature was part of the spy ring's instrumental effort towards winning the war.

Lozen 

A legendary Apache healer and warrior, Lozen was born in the current state of Arizona and rode alongside her brother in clashes with the encroaching Americans during the late 1800s. A keen military mind and celebrated fighter, Lozen was said to have even given birth while being chased by the U.S. Cavalry through the desert. A friend and ally of another legendary Apache leader, Geronimo, she fought in the last stand for indigenous resistance against colonization. Arrested alongside Geronimo in 1885, Lozen would die of tuberculosis while imprisoned.

Virginia Hall

An American who lived in France at the start of World War II, Virginia Hall found her way to England where she quickly became a spy sent into Nazi Germany to gather intelligence while posing as a journalist. She became known as a master of disguise and for evading capture. The Nazis came to know her as the "Limping Lady," since she had lost a leg in a hunting accident when she was a young woman, but to the Allies, she was the most highly-decorated female civilian to serve during the war.

Margaret Bourke-White

Meanwhile, Margaret Bourke-White didn't pose as a journalist during the Second World War. She was the first female photojournalist to work for Life magazine, and following her work documenting the Great Depression she took on the challenge of recording images from the frontlines as the first known woman to work as a war photojournalist. Bourke-White was the only foreign photographer to report from the Eastern Front in Russia during the Nazi invasion, and she would go on to document the eventual liberation of Germany. The intrepid photographer would also go on to photograph the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
This the one in a series of videos highlighting women of history. Check out more on Facebook and Twitter
Video produced by Megan Pratz, Aly Ellis, and Bella Santos. Article written by Mike Nam.
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