Celebrating Black Women in History

Written by Annabel Okeya
Celebrating Black Women in History

We're in the final week of black history month and thought it would be awesome to celebrate some inspiring women in history. As a black-owned business, though there's still a lot to be done for us black folks, we can't ignore some of the amazing women that have paved the way.

Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray

Anna Murray was the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. An early leader of the civil rights and women’s movements, she was also a poet, writer, professor, and Episcopal priest. She is known for her lifelong commitment to challenging segregation and discrimination.
Anna Murray - Black Women in History

Source: Yale University

Claudette Colvin

Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin.

On March 1955, the 15-year-old was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a White person on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The teenager and others challenged the law in court. But civil rights leaders, pointing to circumstances in Colvin's personal life, thought that Parks would be the better representative of the movement. 
"People said I was crazy," Colvin recently told CNN's Abby Phillip. "Because I was 15 years old and defiant and shouting, 'It's my constitutional right!'.
Claudette Colvin - Black Women in History

Source: CNN

Madam C.J Walker

Born in 1867 to former slaves on a Louisiana cotton plantation, Madam Walker rose in power to become America's first female self-made millionaire. She did so through the creation of the Madam C.J. Walker Company. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, her company was a cosmetics manufacturer that specialized in beauty and haircare products for African American women. 

By the time of her death in 1919, she was known not only as a remarkably successful African American business owner, but one of America's most successful entrepreneurs of all time.
Madam C.J Walker - Black women in history

 Source: History Channel

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbossed and Unbought—illustrates her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.”

Shirley Chisholm - Black women in history

Source: National Women's History Museum

Octavia Estelle Butler

The woman who would become the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship and who would win countless awards for her work over a 40-odd year long career struggled with a “mild” case of dyslexia as a child. Author Octavia E. Butler is known for blending science fiction with African American spiritualism. Her novels include 'Patternmaster,' 'Kindred,' 'Dawn' and 'Parable of the Sower.'

“I wanted to write a novel that would make others feel the history: the pain and fear that black people have had to live through in order to endure.” - Octavia E. Butler.

Octavia E. Butler - Black women in history

Source: Biography.com

Phyllis Wheatley

The first female African American author published. In 1773, at the age of 12, she published her first and only book of verse, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. 

Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Her name was a household word among literate colonists and her achievements a catalyst for the fledgling antislavery movement.

Phyllis Wheatley - Black women in history

Source: Poetry Foundation

Hattie McDaniel

The first African American to win an Oscar. Her performance as “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind (1939) won her Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars that year. The 13th child of two former slaves, McDaniel was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1895, but raised in Denver, where she discovered her love of the stage and decided she wanted to be an actress at age six.

Hattie McDaniel - Black Women in History
Source: History Channel
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