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(from Wikipedia entry)
Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.
At age 20 she married Frank Besant, but separated from him over religious differences. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (NSS) and writer and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was elected M.P. for Northampton in 1880.
She became involved with union actions including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was a leading speaker for the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF). She was elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.
For more information, see Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Besant .
Archival material held at several institutions in the UK. See listing here: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F37089 .
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