In Elementary School in the 80s, I recall a single mention of Betsy Ross in my social studies text, a mere caption under a photo, noting that she was credited with sewing the first American flag. While this flag story is apparently apocryphal, it is also beside the point. Betsy Ross survived three husbands, was a single mom, ran her own upholstery business, and was fearless in the face of the conventions that tell us who we should love. Born and raised in the Quaker faith, she married a non-Quaker, causing her to be shunned by her family and community. Nevertheless, she persisted.
And I choose to believe the flag story. According to legend, in the thick of the Revolutionary War, George Washington asked Betsy to sew the first American flag. She sewed the flag secretly in her bed chambers, her home likely inhabited by British loyalists, eager to expose her treason. Nevertheless, she persisted.
Here’s to you, Betsy. Thanks for paving the way for female entrepreneurs. I wish your face adorned a piece of United States currency, but until then I’ll have to settle for your face on my T-shirt, and a subtle nod to you in my wardrobe, an inspirational push to be brave and stand up for what I believe in every time I dress.