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7 Inspiring Black Women in U.S. History

February is Black History Month. Black History Month marks the remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans. This year I wanted to take a look at some inspiring women who you may not have heard before.

Alexa Canady

Dr. Alexa Canady was the first female African American neurosurgeon in the United States. She specialized in pediatric neurosurgery and even served as chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan for 14 years.

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender woman and a revolutionary LGBTQ rights activist. She established the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries, which helps homeless transgender youth in New York City. Johnson is also credited for being an instigator in the Stonewall riots alongside Sylvia Rivera.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison is the first African American female astronaut. On June 4, 1987, she became the first African American women to be admitted to NASA’s astronaut training program. In 1992, Jemison was the first African American female in space. Because of her many great achievements, she has received several rewards and honorary doctorates.

Mary Mahoney

Mary Mahoney is noted for becoming the first African American licensed nurse. Because of overwhelming discrimination, Mahoney pursued a career as a private nurse. She was known for her efficiency, patience, and caring bedside manner. In 1908, she cofounded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses to advocate for black nurses.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state to ever be elected in Africa. As the president of Liberia, she worked to promote peace, reconciliation, and social/economic development. In 2011, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for non-violent struggle for the safety of women.

Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker worked with the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization to help the social and financial advancement of African Americans, and eventually became their grand secretary. She opened a highly successful bank and became the first American female bank president.

Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel was an American stage actress, singer-songwriter, and comedian. She is best known for her role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.  She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and became the first African American entertainer to win an Academy Award. 


All images courtesy of Google Images

Jenna Case

Millersville '20

Hello! I'm Jenna, I am an Applied Engineering major from Harrisburg, PA. I love to spend time with my family, and write! In my free time, I can usually be found watching Netflix or bullet journaling. For more about me, you can follow me on my Instagram @jennaccase
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