As Black History Month comes to an end, we take a moment to applaud the efforts of African-American women who have made political history. They have continued to break boundaries and give a voice to the most marginalized communities. Here are some amazing black women who have made political history.
- Shirley Chisholm
Representing the 12th district of New York, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1969. While in office, Chisholm fought for the same issues that she had been passionate about as a community activist: children’s education and welfare, a guaranteed minimum income to help the poor, immigration rights and women’s rights.
- Sojourner Truth
One of the only women of color frequently represented in history books, her famous speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” discussed American white women’s privilege, and the courtesies that were not given to African-American women. While African-American men attained the vote in 1870 with the passage of the 15th Amendment, African-American women were still unable to participate in political elections. It was during the 1890s that women’s suffrage efforts began, and triggered the movement for women’s suffrage around the country. During the period, African-American women were widely minimized or ignored due to racism from white suffragists or general sexism, but Truth gave them a voice.
- Maxine Waters
With Democrats taking control of the House, Waters now holds one of the most powerful seats in Congress: chair of the Financial Services Committee. Presiding over the body that oversees the banking industry, Waters has vowed to not let financial institutions “run amok” and plunge the nation into a new crisis. Another guarantee: She will use her elevated congressional clout to turn up the heat on President Trump.
- Kamala Harris
Harris is an American lawyer and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco and as Attorney General of California. Harris historically ran for a chance to be the democratic nominee for president in the 2020 election but dropped out of the race in December. Kamala Harris has pitched herself as a history-making candidate who can appeal to both progressives and moderates. Rather than trying to upend the economy, her policies seek incremental, targeted results, particularly focusing on historically marginalized groups like women, people of color and low-income Americans.