THE ICON: Rosa Keller
THE LEGACY: Rosa Freeman Keller didn’t have to do anything. She had the privilege of being born rich, the daughter of a Coca-Cola tycoon. But she also had the benefit of going through life with her eyes wide open, which fueled her lifelong social activism, as an outspoken advocate of the rights of women and black people. She did more than just speak, though. She acted. She paid a price for it, too; some of her friends in New Orleans’ high society shunned her when she worked on behalf of integrating the city’s public schools, her signature cause. She also received threatening phone calls. But Rosa Keller fought on, and she left behind a better New Orleans.
THE ARTIST: Jessica Strahan, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “She had great courage and determination and belief in her convictions. She went on and on. She was fearless, and, in her very ladylike Southern way, she got her message across, and people didn’t refuse her.” — Sybil Morial, on Rosa Keller