Explore NC Women’s History At These 4 Destinations

Your clicks make a difference. When you buy something from the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

From pioneers in science and technology to trailblazers in social activism and the arts, NC women's history tells fascinating tales of bravery, genius, and persistence. In honor of Women's History Month in March, we are delving into some of the best places to explore NC women's history, highlighting the lives and legacies of four remarkable women from different corners of the state.

Beaulah Louise Henry of NC women's history

Beulah Henry garnered 49 U.S. patents and over 100 inventions credited to her name, starting at age 25 for a vacuum-sealed ice cream freezer.

Beulah Louise Henry: The “Lady Edison” Of NC Women's History

Beulah Louise Henry, often referred to as “Lady Edison,” was a prolific inventor known for her numerous patents and innovative creations. Born in Raleigh in 1887, Henry's curiosity and ingenuity led her to become one of the most successful female inventors of her time. Visitors to Raleigh can explore her legacy at the North Carolina Museum of History, which features exhibits on her life and inventions.

From the early 1900s to the mid-20th century, Henry patented over 100 inventions, ranging from household gadgets to industrial machinery. Her inventions included a typewriter attachment for the blind, a bobbin-free sewing machine, and a vacuum ice cream freezer. Henry's groundbreaking work not only showcased her technical prowess as one of the best NC women's history inventors but also challenged traditional gender roles in the male-dominated field of invention.

Learn more NC women's history following the Raleigh Museum Trail

Penelope Barker House in Edenton NC

Beautiful view of the Penelope Barker House — you can also catch the Edenton Trolley Tour here to explore more of Edenton NC.

Penelope Barker: Leader of the Edenton Tea Party

Penelope Barker, a prominent figure in the American Revolutionary War era, is best known for organizing the Edenton Tea Party, one of the earliest political protests by women in the American colonies.

Born in Edenton in 1728, Barker was a passionate advocate for colonial independence and women's rights. Visitors to Edenton can learn about Barker's pivotal role at the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center, which offers guided tours and exhibits on colonial history.

In 1774, Barker rallied 51 women from Edenton to sign a boycott petition against British tea, making a bold statement against British taxation without representation. The Edenton Tea Party gained national attention and symbolized women's participation in the revolutionary cause. Barker's courageous actions laid the groundwork for future generations of women activists and leaders.

When you visit Edenton NC, be sure to visit the Edenton Tea Pot on Colonial Avenue, which marks the location where the group of women dared to protest against the British taxation on tea. There is a plaque next to the Edenton Tea Pot which offers a self-guided city tour guide marked by other important NC women's history sites.

Roberta Black Mural in Black Mountain NC -- NC women's history art

Fun fact: Roberta Flack was the first performer to win two consecutive Grammy Awards for record of the year,

Roberta Flack: Iconic Jazz Singer From Black Mountain, NC

Roberta Flack, a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, was born in Black Mountain, North Carolina, in 1937. With her soulful voice and timeless hits, Flack has left an indelible mark on the music industry.

Visitors to Black Mountain can explore Flack's musical journey at the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, which showcases memorabilia, photographs, and audio recordings spanning her illustrious career. From her chart-topping singles like “Killing Me Softly with His Song” to her collaborations with renowned artists, Flack's contributions to music have earned her acclaim and admiration worldwide.

Beyond her musical achievements, Flack has been an advocate for social justice and education, using her platform to address issues such as poverty and inequality. Her legacy continues to inspire aspiring musicians and activists alike.

NC women's history figures at the Greensboro History Museum

Learn about Dolley Madison and other NC women's history figures at the Greensboro History Museum.

Dolley Madison: Beloved First Lady Born In Guilford County, NC

Dolley Madison, one of America's most adored First Ladies, spent her formative years in Guilford County, North Carolina, where she was born in 1768. Known for her charm, wit, and grace, Madison played a significant role in shaping the social and political landscape of early America. Visitors to Guilford County can explore Madison's legacy at Greensboro History Museum, which houses the Madison Collection.

Madison's influence extended beyond the White House, as she was instrumental in shaping the cultural and diplomatic affairs of the young nation. Her legendary social gatherings, known as “Wednesday Night Drawing Rooms,” became a hallmark of her tenure as First Lady and helped foster bipartisan relationships in Washington, D.C. Madison's legacy as a trailblazing First Lady and cultural icon continues to inspire admiration and reverence.

Whether it's exploring the inventions of Beulah Louise Henry in Raleigh, commemorating the activism of Penelope Barker in Edenton, celebrating the music of Roberta Flack in Black Mountain, or honoring the legacy of Dolley Madison in Guilford County, visitors to North Carolina can discover the diverse and inspiring stories of NC women's history, featuring brave women who left an indelible mark on history.

You might also like…