Google celebrates Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s 119th birthday with Doodle

Google has celebrated the 119th birthday of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Diana Ejaita, Nigerian-Italian guest artist, celebrates a formidable leader who founded what many refer to as one of the most important social movements of the twentieth century.

Diana Ejaita weaves together Ransome-Kuti’s likeness with women whose lives she changed. The Berlin-based artist’s style of combining dramatic blacks and soft colors to show “the strength of femininity” aligns well with Ransome-Kuti’s powerful story.

Born on this day in 1900 in Abeokuta, capital of Nigeria’s Ogun state, the former Frances Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas grew up witnessing Great Britain consolidating control over Nigeria.

As the grandchild of a slave, she became one of the first girls to enroll in Abeokuta Grammar School, before traveling to Cheshire in England to continue her education.

By the time she returned home, she’d dropped her birth names and preferred to speak Yoruba.

In 1932, Ransome-Kuti established the Abeokuta Ladies Club (ALC), fostering unity between educated women and poor market workers and setting up the first adult education programs for Nigerian women.

Renamed the Abeokuta Women’s Union in 1946, the organization boasted a membership of some 20,000 and pushed for healthcare, social services, and economic opportunity.

Imprisoned in 1947 for protesting against unfair treatment towards women, Ransome-Kuti and her followers also led the charge to abdicate a corrupt local leader.

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