Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. While ideally Black history would be effectively taught in American history classes throughout the year, having the month of February dedicated to learning is still very important. There are countless Black men and women that have made enormous impacts to our country that deserve proper recognition. So I encourage all of you to expand your knowledge of Black history, support Black businesses and have conversations with those in your circle about what you learn! Here are a few of my favorite Black women in American History:
Shirley Anita Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.
2. Angela Davis
Angela Davis is an educator and former Black Panther who has spent her career fighting for race, class and gender equality. She is also well known for writing one of the of the most distinguished books in women’s studies called Women, Race & Class.
3. Ruby Bridges
At six years old, Ruby Bridges became the first black child to integrate an all-white school in the South in 1960. Due to violent mobs, she was escorted to class by her mother and U.S. marshals. In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell celebrated her courage with a painting of that first day entitled, “The Problem We All Live With.” Ruby Bridges has since spent her life being an advocate for racial equality
4. Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker became one of the first female self-made millionaires in the world after creating a hair care line for African Americans in the early 1900's. Walker also founded Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories in order to manufacture cosmetics and train beauticians.
5. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson
These three women at NASA served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. "Glenn's flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space," NASA says.