Politics

Famous Black Women in History Who Changed United States For Good!

author-img By sagnika sinha 5 Mins Read 11 September 2023

famous black women in history

Whether it is Beyonce or Riyanna, you still wonder about those little African American girls who attend school daily! I know I do! I wonder whether they are shamed for their hair or their skin tone. Are they questioned by their teachers, too, just like their peers, about changing their hairstyle?

As a grown Caucasian woman, have anyone asked you to touch your hair? No? Then why is it considered curiosity to touch a black woman’s hair? At times, they are not even asked if the person doing the touching feels that they are quite close to the black woman!

Don’t you think this is where a line should be drawn? Black women across centuries have worked so hard to prove a point that they deserve what everyone deserves. They kept fighting for education, opportunities, respect, and growth because, for a long time, black people were mostly considered enslaved people.

If you were a woman, your case went further down the drain! But why? Why did women have to become activists, get involved in the Civil Rights movement, and fight for the opportunities that should have been naturally theirs? Because that’s how the world saw them until some of them raised their voices! 

Famous Black Women in History Who Changed United States For Good!

Attorney Marian Wright Edelman said, “if you don’t like the way the world is, you have an obligation to change it.

The first African American woman to get admission to the Mississippi Bar, the Attorney proved that nothing stops women. Our society has been a place where everything is judged and criticized! So, imagine being a woman in it, being questioned at every step, and changing rules and policies because you are a woman!

What happens when you are not just a woman but a woman of color? Well, the challenges increase, but so does the zeal among strong, beautiful, and intelligent women to make the world think once again.  

Throughout this article, whenever I am writing or will be writing “Black women,” my fingers are recoiling. Do you know why? The reason is that those two words negate anything. I am writing this article to honor these women.

The whole point of my article is null and void because we are still writing on these topics. It proves the fact that black women have done all that and more will never be enough because we as a society have become deaf to the concepts of equality, balance, diversity, inclusion, and freedom!

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune

An educator, Mary McLeod Bethune, struggled to access education and worked on a plantation to help her family. According to the Public Broadcasting Service, she founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute for Girls in 1904.

A political activist, Bethune became a leader. I was inspired by the fact that she founded the National Council of Negro Women along with working in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as an informal “race leader at large”! 

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

One of the best journalists in U.S. history, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a born enslaved woman! She became one of the loudest voices to speak against lynching and the suffering of black women by publishing several books and articles.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, she documented the horrors of lynching. She was also one of the founding members of the National Association of Colored Women and the Alpha Suffrage Club.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

A self-made American millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker was the first black entrepreneur who created haircare solutions. She also created remedies for Black women when it came to haircare, thus selling them door to door.

Over the years, she became known for her products, and thus, a brand was born. People started buying her products, and since the company’s inception, 40,000 ambassadors have been hired to sell them across the U.S.

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson

Known for her involvement in the Stonewall Inn riots, Marsha P. Johnson was a black transgender woman and an activist who raised her voice against police brutality. In 1969, there was an uprising by the LGBTQ community of New York City against police brutality.

During that period, LGBTQ people were prohibited from openly dancing with others, and food joints and alcohol institutions were banned from serving alcohol to LGBTQ openly. Police used to raid bars regularly; thus, one such incident sparked the LGBTQ movement.   

It was in the Manhattan Stonewall Inn that instead of running away or leaving, the LGBTQ people faced the police. They raised their concerns and clashed with the police, and according to some reports, Johnson started it all by throwing a brick!

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

“Unbought and unbossed,” Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1968. For 14 years, she was the representative of Congress in New York, working hard for child welfare policies and early education.

A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971, she ran for president in 1972 as a Democrat. Her advocacy for all women demonstrates the rights that today’s women have and enjoy!

Mae Jamison

Mae Jamison

The first Black woman admitted to the Astronaut training program in 1987, Mae Jamison is a doctor, NASA astronaut, and engineer. In 1992, Jemison traveled to Space, which established a milestone as the first African American woman.

You can check her profile as she has been inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. This is an out-of-the-world progress for all black women, especially when they went into space on the space shuttle Endeavor.

Jamison served as a medical officer in Africa for about two years after she joined the Peace Corps in 1989. She is fluent in languages such as Swahili, Japanese, and Russian, which contributed to her overall career. 

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Can we even talk about a list of black women who changed the U.S. for the better without highlighting Michelle Obama? The first Black woman to serve as the First Lady of the United States, Michele Obama is an accomplished lawyer who attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

High-profile roles like the one at the University of Chicago Medical Center are some tools through which Michelle Obama brought significant changes on the grassroots level. She advocated for childhood health and education and launched several programs to help them.

Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson

The first African American woman to win the Wimbledon title in 1957, Althea Gibson created history in the world of tennis. Can you imagine a world where black women were not allowed in court? There was a time like that, and Gibson was the first African American woman to play U.S. Nationals in 1950!

Today, starting from the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus to today’s new generation, Coco Gauff and Madison Keys have received the opportunity that Gibson created for them. A decade later, she won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, along with 56 other titles, retiring in 1958.

Aesha Ash

Aesha Ash

An internationally known, talented, and acclaimed dancer, Aesha Ash founded the nonprofit organization Swans Dream Project to create a safe space for young black girls to pursue their dreams. At the age of 18, she joined the New York City Ballet, becoming the first black ballerina in the corps!

The amazing dancer has performed as a principal and several solos. She has worked with Berjat Ballet in Switzerland and other places in Europe. After returning to the United States in 2005, she worked with the renowned Lions Ballet of Alonzo King.

Her organization has dedicated its lives to showing African American women a different world where young girls can pursue their dreams in ballet and other contemporary dancing skills. They use imagery and Aesha’s experience to inspire young girls.

Finishing Off…

To sum up, I have been quite inspired by these women, not just because they are black but because they stood in the face of all atrocities and challenges. These brave, beautiful women were proud of their heritage; hence, they had the guts to speak up and fight for their rights.

All these African American women have worked hard to change the objectified and demoralized way women are judged, along with the challenges they have faced to receive basic rights. The poise with which these women took over the world shows how much beauty and elegance are inborn.

Comment on which black woman is your favorite from this list. Or is there someone who is not on this list but has inspired you a lot?

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sagnika sinha

Sagnika Sinha is a content writer who is passionate about writing travel vlogs, entertainment and celebrity articles and literature-based pieces. With a 4 years experience in teaching, she loves reading books. A procrastinator by nature, she loves travelling, listening to music, planting and gardening.

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