Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
women fists raised in air
women fists raised in air
Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

            This Black History Month let’s take the time to recognize the influential and all-powerful black women that shaped the Civil Rights Movement, the fashion industry, the world of science, the music industry, and the world as we all know it today. This 10-woman list will blow you away. 

Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates’s name has unfortunately been lost over the years, but she was still influential in piloting the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, she led the charge to de-segregate a school in Arkansas in 1957 (http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/black-women-in-history/)

Zelda Wynn Valdes

Valdes’s name is also one that has been forgotten over the years, but her contribution to the fashion industry will never be. Valdes is the creator of the original Playboy Bunny costume (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/obituaries/zelda-wynn-valdes-overlooked.html)

Mae Jemison

Jemison’s name may be more well-known than the first two women on this list, but only because she made history more recently. Mae Jemison was the first black woman in space, circa 1992 (https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/23/us/african-american-women-in-history/index.html)

Maya Angelou

Most people know who Maya Angelou is from her monumental book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” What you may not know is that this year the book is celebration it’s fiftieth year (https://www.mayaangelou.com)

Mary Jane Patterson

Patterson makes the list as the first black woman to graduate from college. She graduated from Oberlin college and three years later used her well-earned degree to secure a job as a teaching assistant (https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/23/us/african-american-women-in-history/index.html)

Ida B. Wells

Wells founded the Alpha Suffrage Club, which was the first suffrage club that allowed black women. Wells and the women of Alpha Suffrage Club educated neighborhoods on the cause of black people in Chicago (https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/womenofthecentury/2020/02/08/black-history-month-these-19-black-women-fought-voting-rights/2842276001/

Mary Kenner

A lot of women owe some sort of gratitude to Mary Kenner. She invented the “sanitary belt” aka the Maxi Pad. Unfortunately, because of Kenner’s race, the invention wasn’t patented until nearly 30 years after its invention (https://powertodecide.org/news/black-history-month-6-african-american-women-trailblazers-have-changed-world)

Phillis Wheatley 

Wheatley makes the list as another successfully published black woman. However, Wheatley’s accomplishment opened up the literary world to not only black women, but all women. She is the first woman to publish a book of poetry (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/28-queens-of-black-history-who-deserve-much-more-glory_n_56b25c02e4b01d80b244d968)

Billie Holiday

Holiday’s name may be better well-known than some of the other names on this list. She was an incredibly popular jazz vocalist, best known for her songs, “Strange Fruits” and “God Bless the Child” (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/28-queens-of-black-history-who-deserve-much-more-glory_n_56b25c02e4b01d80b244d968)

Madame C.J. Walker

Madame Walker was one of the first American women to become a millionaire, and she accomplished this feat all on her own. Walker patented a line of hair care products for black people (https://www.biography.com/inventor/madam-cj-walker)

            All of the women on this list should be remembered and thought of for their contributions to society as a whole. They were all trailblazers in their own way. Take the time to memorize these names and think about them when applicable. Happy Black History Month!

Sawyer Stippich

Bowling Green '20

Hello! My name is Sawyer Stippich, I'm a third year student at Bowling Green State University and am set to graduate in the spring of 2020. I'm majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in English Literature. You can find some of my published work in Sonder Midwest, edition #2. As always, #TalonsUp