Thursday, September 02, 2021

Before she was Notorious

After reading Lesa Cline-Ransome's Before She was Harriet, I assigned the kids to research a historical figure of their own and write a similar poem-story. They're all at various stages of completion, but Rachel finished hers today—she wrote it, edited it, made a linocut for it, and then did a little typesetting.

I think it looks great!

Here's the text version for you, in case you can't read the image (with a typo corrected):
Before She was Notorious

Here she sits
Small, wrinkled, and grey
The notorious RBG

Before she was notorious, she was Justice Bader Ginsburg
Second woman on the Supreme Court
Collar lacy, voice strong

Before she was a Justice, she was a lawyer
Pioneering women’s rights, silk scarf in her hair
Underestimated, but not for long

Before she was a lawyer, she was a professor
First woman at Columbia to earn tenure
Teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field

Before she was a professor, she was a law school graduate
First in her class at Columbia
Busy with her children, studying for herself and her sick husband

Before she was a graduate, she was a mother
Hiding her pregnancy to avoid pay cuts
Caring for her kids and staying up all night to study

Before she was a mother, she was a wife
Marrying Marty the year she graduated college
Moving to start school and their careers

Before she was a wife, she was a student
Top of her class at Cornell
One of the few women there, outspoken and intelligent

Before she was a student, she was Ruth
Overachiever, baton twirler, cellist, 4.0 student
Knowing that she could succeed

Before she was Ruth, she was Kiki
Running around and jumping across roofs with all the boys
Sitting and reading in the public library

Before she was Kiki, she was Joan
Born to two immigrant parents
Encouraged to do great things

87 notorious years
RBG, Justice Bader Ginsburg, lawyer, professor,
graduate, mother, wife, student, Kiki, and Joan
A trailblazer her whole life


  1. I apparently need to research her, too. Ruth, Kiki and Joan?

    1. I found this on Wikipedia. You may have found it yourself by now. :)

      " The family called Joan Ruth "Kiki", a nickname Marylin had given her for being "a kicky baby." When "Kiki" started school, Celia discovered that her daughter's class had several other girls named Joan, so Celia suggested the teacher call her daughter "Ruth" to avoid confusion."