A group of African American women (members of the "Smart Set Club") pose on a staircase
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Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Because of Her Story

Sylvia Earle
I swam against the current.
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Sylvia Earle

Marine Biologist

I tagged along on dives in the Weeki Wachee River in Florida in the 1950s. I borrowed a helmet from a next-door neighbor. 

I am a witness, an observer of natural systems. The reduction of life in the sea is one of the great changes I have seen. Ninety percent of the big fish, and the small ones too, have disappeared in half a century. 

When people ask, “How do you want your tuna?” I say I want them alive. Every tuna counts. And maybe actions I take can secure a future where we both can be here together. 

Sylvia Earle’s research samples are at the Smithsonian. They will be used to tell her story and other women’s stories of understanding and co-existing with nature. 

Credits

Photo: Sylvia Earle diving at Cabo Pulmo, Mexico, Mission Blue © Kip Evans 

Content: Laura Hambleton interview with Sylvia Earle, 2018, Smithsonian

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Bella Abzug (in hat), Betty Freidan (right, in trench coat) and Billie Jean King (far right) accompany torch relay runners into Houston, 1977. Unknown photographer; National Archives
About the image

Bella Abzug (in hat), Betty Freidan (right, in trench coat) and Billie Jean King (far right) accompany torch relay runners into Houston, 1977. Unknown photographer; National Archives.