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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

‘Badass Women’ Of Chicago History Highlighted In Virtual Tour

The virtual tour, being held during Women's History Month, will highlight six local women who have made a mark on Chicago and world history.

Maria Tallchief (l.), Bessie Coleman and Enid Yandell are some of the women highlighted in the Badass Women of History virtual tour of Chicago.
Provided/Wikimedia Commons
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AVONDALE — Chicago women do not get their due in conversations about the city’s history, said tour guide Amanda Scotese.

A virtual series of tours this month hosted by Scotese’s company, Chicago Detours, will work to change that.

The Avondale-based tour company is hosting a virtual tour event called “Badass Women of History.” The event will be held four days in March, starting Monday, which is International Women’s Day. March is Women’s History Month.

Badass Women of History will tell the story of six women with Chicago ties who left a mark on the city or the world, Scotese said. Hopefully, the event helps level the playing field when it comes to gender equity in the retelling of the city’s history, she said.

“If you ask people to name five important men in Chicago history, they’d have no problem,” Scotese said. “There’s so many women who have incredible stories and you’ve never heard of them.”

The one-hour event will take participants on a tour of a number of Chicago neighborhoods and locations associated with the six women being featured, Scotese said. Each tour stop will highlight a character trait that made the women successful in their fields.

“The more we show women as equals in history, the more we can show that women can do anything they want,” Scotese said.

Tickets cost $20 for an individual or $35 for household access and can be purchased here.

Some of the women who will be highlighted:

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Enid Yandell, pictured with her work, “Pallas Athena,” created pieces for the World’s Fair in 1893.

Enid Yandell

Enid Yandell is a Kentucky-born sculptor who is best known for her work in the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. She designed a number of statutes for the fair and contributed to The Woman’s Building, designed by a team of female architects and sculptors. Due to the success of her Chicago work, Yandell was commissioned to create the Pallas Athena in Nashville, which in 1897 was the largest sculpture ever created by a woman.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman is the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license, but she had to move to France to do it. Coleman, who moved to Chicago from Texas at age 23, could not get accepted to flight school in the United States because of her race. She enlisted the help of the Chicago Defender, a legendary Black newspaper, which helped her get to France for flight lessons, according to WTTW. She became a stunt pilot and a national sensation until she was killed during a flight in 1926. Coleman’s Bronzeville home still stands, and a library branch in Woodlawn is named after her.

Naomi Weisstein

A Harvard-trained neuroscientist, Naomi Weisstein was a founding member of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union. The union was a “socialist feminist” collective that was on the front lines of the feminist movement of the 1970s. Weisstein helped form a feminist rock band and taught at Loyola University. The former home of the liberation union is now brunch spot Batter n Berries in Lincoln Park, Scotese said.

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief has been hailed as “one of the 20th century’s greatest ballerinas” and was one of the first Indigenous woman to rise into such ranks in the ballet world, according to the Chicago Tribune. Tallchief is responsible for much of the dance troupes and theaters in Chicago today, and in 1981 she debuted the Chicago City Ballet.

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