Black women are the backbone of our community. During every era of discourse in America you can find a black woman who has tried to emplement some type of change, especially when impacts her own community. As stated in one of my previous articles the American school system only teaches about the same African American figures every single year, so it is our duty to educate ourselves and our kids about the true impact black people have had in American History. In celebration of Black History Month this is a small list of African American Women whose contributions have been overlooked for one reason or another.
Only months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give her seat up to a white passenger. She was the first person to be arrested for refusing to give up her seat in Montgomery. Colvin was over looked in history because she was a young, pregnant, unwed teenager, and the movement thought it would be bad to put her in the forefront. Colvin believed her dark skin also played a role in their decision
Marsha P. Johnson
Hollywood recently whitewashed and changed the story of Stonewall, but do not fret, here is the woman behind the riots. Marsha P Johnson was a transgender and gay rights activist. Although the Stonewall rebellion was viewed as a movement created by white gays Johnson and another drag queen of color, Sylvia Rivera, were the people who sparked the riot.
Nash was on of the organizers behind the Freedom Rides, which was essential in the desegregation of buses in the south.
Henrietta Lacks is known in the science world as being the source of cells that were used for research for years. Somehow cells were taken from her body without her permission and without her knowledge. She nor her family received any type of compensation for her cells although they were stolen, cloned, and sold to other researchers.
Doctor Mae Jemison
Doctor Jemison was the first African American woman admitted into the astronaut program. She took her first space mission in 1987.
She is most known as the mother of late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, but she is also a poet, artist, and activist. She was an active member of the Black Panther Party who was most known for writing the Party’s newsletter.
Fannie Lou Hamer
Hamer was one of the few African Americans registered to vote in her small community. This right brought a lot of stress and turmoil into her life which lead her to become a civil rights activist that helped other African American citizens register to vote.
Barbara Jordan was a educator, civil rights activist, lawyer, and congresswoman. Jordan was the first African American congresswoman from the deep south. She is also known for her keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Kathleen Cleaver was an activist, educator, writer, and lawyer during her year, but she is most known for her role in the Black Panther Party.
Ida B. Wells
Wells is famously known for her anti-lynching crusade during the 1890’s. She became a journalist after being forcibly removed from a train after paying for a first class ticket, but being asked to sit in the section for African Americans. She went on to own her own periodical. She was vocal about the conditions of black only schools and was soon fired. The brutal murder of her friend and his business partners sparked her anti-lynching movement. Later in life she started the National Association of Colored Women. She is also considered a founding member of the NAACP.