February is widely assoicated with romance surrounding Valentine’s Day fesitivities & heart health awareness spearheaded by medical personnel, but it is also a month that is steeped in the celebration of our rich history of African Americans. From February 1st to February 28th, Blacks are paid tribute for their accomplishments & unprecedented contributions to countless aspects of our society. While Black History Month is a positive moment of the highest recognition, many Black females are left behind – as many of today’s social & historical efforts, it is mainly focused on the accomplishments of men.
With this in mind, here a few amazing Black females, past & present, that should be universally recognized & uplifted:
A part of one of the most famous photographs of the Civil Rights era, Elizabeth Eckford was brashly heckled on her first day of school at Arkansas’ Little Rock Central High after segregation in the public school systems was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Eckford became the fiercest of the “Little Rock Nine,” making history as a young girl who stood her ground in the face constant harassment & racial prejudice.
Gibson was the first Black woman to compete at Wimbledon in 1951. Gibson opened the doors for Black athletes everywhere. She now serves as Serena Williams’ inspiration, Williams tweeting last year that, “Althea Gibson paved the way for all women of color in sport.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female president in Africa in 2006 upon her election to the presidential seat of Liberia. In addition to acting as president, Johnson Sirleaf is also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate & consistenly speaks on the advancement of women in society, specifically with respect to leadership. Check out one of her keynote speeches here: If Your Dreams Do Not Scare You.
Amber Scott is the founder & executive director of Leap Year, an Atlanta-based nonprofit with a mission of assisting low-income & first-generation college students succeed. A first-generation college student herself, Scott has placed her true passion for social justice into practice, helping countless young men & women throughout the nation.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda has changed the conversation about feminism, specifically in relation to African American women. In her 2012 TED Talk, Chimamanda details her jarring childhood stories & how we as a society must work to shift our negative perceptions of women, especially women of color. Check out her TED Talk here: We Should All Be Feminists.
A self-acclaimed “Poet of Code,” Joy Buolamwini is a tech activist for algorithmic bias. In laymen’s terms: Joy researches social impact technology at the MIT Media Lab, via her Algorithmic Justice League, to ensure that the technologies with which our world is powered, like facial recognition software, do not lead to any discriminatory practices or exclusionary experiences for people of color.
All of these ladies, & many more of course, have accomplished or are currently working on amazing things. They should all be recognized for their greatness!