Black History Month was originally instituted as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. By the time I entered high school in 1994, Black History Month became a time to recite the same often regurgitated facts about Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Malcolm X and a small number of other black history makers. I’m not even sure if kids today include all of these days in their black history month facts. We have such a rich history as a people. I decided to highlight 50 black women whose contributions to black history and history overall are substantial and various. We love them because of their examples of perserverance, innovation, sacrifice and ultimately success. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed putting this list together.
50 Black SheRoes and Why We Love Them
Part 1: Political and Activist SheRoes
Shirley Chisholm – In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress; in 1972 she became the first major-party black candidate for President and first woman to run for the Democratic nomination
- Stephanie Tubbs Jones – served as a Congresswoman for the 11th district of Ohio for 9 years
- Donna Brazil – political strategist; was the first African American to manage a major presidential campaign (Vice President Al Gore, 2000)
- Sharon Pratt Kelly – first black woman to serve as mayor of a major city (Washington, DC from 1991-1995)
- The Honorable Frankie Muse Freeman – civil rights attorney; first woman appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1964
- Angela Davis – professor, political activist; worked with the Black Panther Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
- Patricia Roberts Harris – among numerous achievements, she was the first black woman to serve as an ambassador; Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1965-1967
- Barbara Jordan – served as a Congresswoman for the 18th district of Texas from 1973-1979
- Carol Mosely-Braun – first and only black woman elected to the Senate, Senator for Illinois from 1993-1999
- Ida B. Wells – there is so much to say about Ida B. Wells; women’s suffrage activist, women’s movement activist, early civil rights activist, journalist, anti-lynching crusader and one of the founders of the NAACP.