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Honoring our Heroes

Today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., teach your little one about these brave female activists who fought before and alongside him to end institutionalized racism in the United States.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks (1914-2005) (born Rosa Louise McCauley) was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott because she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus.

Her bravery led to nationwide efforts to end racial segregation and the United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation, and organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1914) was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom, including her family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

During the American Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army.

In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the struggle for women's suffrage and became known as an icon of courage and freedom.

Ida B. Wells

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (1862 – 1931) was a prominent African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, and early leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Born into slavery just before the Emancipation Proclamation, Wells was involved in many different groups focused on the equality of African-Americans and women.

She was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women's Club, which dealt with issues around civil rights and women's suffrage.

In 1913, she founded what was possibly the first black women suffrage group, the Chicago's Alpha Suffrage Club. She was also a part of the founding of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, but later distanced herself from the group.

Black Lives Matter Movement

Black Lives Matter is a social movement to end systemic racism and violence against Black people, and comprises a broad array of people and organizations. The movement began in July 2013 with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of an officer in the shooting death of an unarmed Black teenager, Trayvon Martin, 17 months earlier in February 2012.

Participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other Black people at the hands of police or while in police custody. The movement returned to national and international attention in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

With an estimated 15 million to 26 million people participating in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, it has become one of the largest movements in United States history. The movement comprises many views and a broad array of demands about how to address institutionalized racism, but they generally center on criminal justice reform.