“Only according to our ignorance are we helpless. Thought creates character.”
Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.
In 1867, Annie at age 20, married a clergyman and had two children, but Annie’s increasingly anti-religious views led to a legal separation.
She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (separation of church and state). In 1877 she and friend Charles Bradlaugh were prosecuted for publishing a book on birth control. The scandal made them famous.
Annie became involved with union actions including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was a leading speaker for the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF). She was elected to the London School Board, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.
Annie died in India after doing much in that country. Check out the many more things that Annie accomplished in her lifetime.
Art by Boris Kustodiev.