Plants and fungi have and will continue to have deep significance in stories around liberation and emancipation. Here are four feminine ancestors of the African diaspora whose leadership was closely tied to their relationships with plants.



Queen Nanny was an Ashanti queen, military strategist and spiritual leader of the Windward Maroons in 18th century Jamaica. It was due to her knowledge of plants and use of camoflauge as a strategy that she was able to guide the Maroons through their resistance against British colonists/enslavers between 1725 and 1740.  


Harriet Tubman is best known for being a slavery abolitionist and the most powerful conductor on the Underground Railroad, first escaping slavery and then risking her life to lead hundreds of others to freedom. It was her knowledge of foraging and herbal healing that aided in her survival.


Hattie Carthanwas a community activist and environmentalist who was instrumental in improving the quality of life of the Brooklyn, New York community of Bedford-Stuyvesant. She has been lovingly remembered as the "tree lady of Brooklyn"


Dr. Wangari Maathai was a soil biologist and founder of the Green Belt Movement, a project that aimed to protect old-growth forests while creating systems of financial empowerment for rural women, starting in her home country of Kenya and then spreading across the African continent and beyond.

Hi! I'm Naomi Grace, the founder of Melanin Rising. Thanks for supporting my small business that supports my art!

I am a multisensory artist whose work celebrates leaders of the Afrikan diaspora and the role of plants and fungi as allies in our collective evolution. My artistic practice lies on the confluence of sensory expression, political activism and technology.  

Please visit my website and sign up for my mailing list at www.naomigracechild.com