As black history month is coming to an end. Let’s give these trailblazing women the glory they deserve.
- Shirley Chislom (1924-2005) broke major barriers when she became the first black congresswoman in 1968. She continued on her political track when she ran for president four years later, making her the first major party black candidate to run.
- Claudette Colvin (1939-present) Several months before Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, at the age of 15.
- Mary Church Terell (1863-1954) This women’s suffrage activist and journalist was the first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a charter member of the NAACP. She was also one of the first African-American women to be awarded a college degree.
- Angela Davis (1944- present) is a revolutionary American educator. The former Black Panther has fought for race, class and gender equality over the years. Davis authored one of the of the most distinguished books in the field of women’s studies called Women, Race & Class. She’s also an advocate of prison reform.
- Flo Kennedy (1916-2000) was a founding member of the National Organization of Women and one of the first black female lawyers to graduate from Columbia Law School. She helped found the Feminist Party in 1971, which later nominated Representative Shirley Chisholm for president.
- Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) Born Isabella Baumfree, she escaped slavery with her infant daughter and changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She’s best known for her speech delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851 titled “Ain’t I A Woman?”
- Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her 1949 book titled Annie Allen.
- Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) became the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license and the first black woman to stage a public flight in the United States. She specialized in stunt flying and parachuting and remains a pioneer for women in aviation.
- Diane Nash (1938-present) is a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She was instrumental in organizing the Freedom Rides, which helped desegregate interstate buses in the South. She also planned the Selma Voting Rights Movement in response to the Birmingham 16th Street Church bombing that killed four young girls.
- Ruby Bridges (1954- present) was six years old when she became the first black child to integrate an all-white school in the South. She was escorted to class by her mother and U.S. marshals due to violent mobs outside of the Louisiana school.
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