Black History Month: Ladies First


To celebrate Black History Month (BHM), I decided to give the spotlight to some of history’s greatest and often overlooked black people. Some you may have heard of and some you may not. However, this and other articles dedicated to BHM will acknowledge some, but not all, movers and shakers.

Since we always focus on the accomplishments and firsts of African American men most often as opposed to African American woman, this time around, the latter will be showcased first. Again, not all black women will be featured (only ten will be highlighted) as it’s a pretty long and evergrowing list. So, it’s best to do some research on as many historic and famous black women as possible to learn more about black women’s history. In the meantime, click on the links to learn more about these individuals. And remember, the list of black greatness never ends.

Fannie Lou Hamer – Instrumental for campaigning for black voting rights, especially in her homestate of Mississippi.

Madam C. J. Walker – A self-made business woman widely regarded as being America’s first female millionaire. She is recognized mainly for creating hair care products for black women.

Mary McLoad Bethune – Founder of the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute for Girls in 1904 and established the Bethune-Cookman University along with the Cookman Institute.

Ava DuVernay – First black female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination and have a film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

Edmonia Lewis –  A neoclassical African American and Native American sculptor, friend of abolitionists, and sculptor.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee – Dominant in women’s track and field. Considered by many people to be the best all-around female athlete in the world.

Leontyne Price – New York Metropolitan Opera soprano 1960 – 1985. One of the most popular opera sopranos of recent history, known as the first black American-born prima donna, She was the first black opera singer on television.

Angela Benton – CEO of NewMe Accelerator, tech entrepreneur dedicated to encouraging minority-owned startups in Silicon Valley.

Christina Lewis Halpern – The self-described opinionated woman, wife, mother and social entrepreneur launched All Star Code in an effort to prepare talented minority boys for careers in science and technology.

Rebecca Lee Crumper – The first African American doctor and the first African American doctor to publish a medical book Book of Medical Discourses.

Again, this is only a snippet of the many, many accomplishments done by black women. Check out more info and more black female history makers online or at your local library.

Next: Black History Month: Black, Gay and Proud.


6 thoughts on “Black History Month: Ladies First

  1. This is wonderful and its great that you brought this subject up. If Black people/ women are accused of not having a culture or an unimportant on.

    No matter how old I’am,I love learning and in these trying times,I have better grown in appreciating being an African American woman. The first I learned about Black history.. in school..I was in the 3rd grade and while I learned about the big wigs of Black history, it just didn’t stop with Malcolm X or MLK. I remembered when my brother went to Morehouse and learned some things that I promise that you you’ll never learn about in a White college/ university. It was just awesome to me that he learned that stuff.

    Last week, I was looking at a special on public TV where this man was talking Romantic Places in Georgia.Though romance was/ still is far from my mind,one of the ” romantic” places suggested was Sapelo Island ..a place loaded with Black history and culture. I’ve always wanted to go there for that reason to learn about Ogeechee( Georgia)/ Gullah( S.Carolina) culture, the food and their rich history. Ogeechees and Gullah’s have/ still struggle to maintain their identity and land as the White man want to dismantle them but they still hold on to their roots. I think about those stories that my grandmother/ mom would tell about them.It seemed that someone they knew was of those groups. Even its been said that my grandmother was one .Supposedly, Ogeechees were short, had almost closed almond eyes and mean. I don’t know about as I knew some tall mellow ones that but that was the stereotype about them.

    Again,I’m glad that you’re talking about African American ( women ) history here.Too often ,Black women are not only the least protected of women but also the least revered of them. We’re ” Ho’s “, loud , and masculine but won’t talk about the heroines that they were and continue to be.Those were the Black women I knew..the ones who are not only a mother to me but continue to be mothers to the world.

      1. I’m hoping by the Summer of 2017,I will make it there or Coastal. South Carolina. It seems like when I make plans going there,something end up going wrong.

  2. The first time I wrote about Black History I was in third grade and won a special ribbon for writing about Garret Morgan. I’ve never stopped being a Black History buff. Now more than ever it’s important to know ourselves, our accomplishments as a people. So many white ppl are so deeply, and I mean deeply, ignorant not just about our race but about themselves. We shouldn’t ever repeat that mistake. It’s on us to laud ourselves, to love ourselves.

    Thank you for this post. I never get tired of learning about Black women’s roles in America. (Yep! Hidden Figures made me giddy, too.)

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