‘Overlooked’ No Longer

Hayley Vawter | Reporter

What do the names Ida B. Wells, Qiu Jin, Sylvia Plath and Madhubala have in common? They are just a few of the twenty influential women in history featured in the new weekly obituary segments titled “Overlooked” by The New York Times.

“Overlooked” was initially published in March 2018 in honor of Women’s History Month. The obituaries are for many different women in history whose lives and accomplishments have seemingly been overlooked throughout The New York Times obituary publications.

On their page for the series, The Times states: “Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries… The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones. Charlotte Brontë wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roebling oversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband fell ill; Madhubala transfixed Bollywood; Ida B. Wells campaigned against lynching. Yet all of their deaths went unremarked in our pages, until now.”

The first obituary published March 8th, featured Ida B. Wells, a powerful African American journalist and black rights activist from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After her, nineteen other women in history have followed. Each obituary is extensive and talks about each woman’s successes while also giving a brief history of her life.

Publications like “Overlooked” are important because they correct the errors made in the past and give women who rightfully deserved a wide-spread knowledge of their lives a second chance, while also giving them the recognition they initially deserved.

These are the women whose inventions are used daily, like Mary Ewing Outerbridge, or whose novels are still being studied and taught over a century after their discovery, like Charlotte Brontë, who have helped shape history and who were pushed onto the sidelines to make way for the men of society.

“Overlooked” is updated weekly and new obituaries are featured in the obituaries section on The New York Times website.


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