40. Mary Ellen Pleasant, Abolitionist
While her early life is shrouded in mystery, Mary Ellen Pleasant left an indelible legacy in California. Born poor, as either a free Philadelphian or an enslaved Georgian, Mary Ellen worked as an indentured servant in a general store as a young woman. Through her time there, she learned a great deal about business and property ownership and eventually became a wealthy woman. She financially supported John Brown and other abolitionist causes and became known as the Mother of Human Rights in California.