In honor of Black History Month we have compiled a selection of black African/ American Women who have changed our world for the better. These women often did so while overcoming difficult and trying situations to improve their lives, and the lives of women everywhere.
Sojourner Truth: Sojourner Truth escaped slavery and became a very powerful and vocal speaker for women’s rights as well as abolition. She toured the country and helped change American attitudes to slavery and women. One of her most well- known speeches was entitles, “Ain’t I a Woman?”
Harriet Tubman: African American abolitionist, humanitarian, and spy for the Union in the American Civil War. Tubman was born into slavery, yet even after her escape she was able to return and make 13 missions to rescue more than 70 slaves using the Underground Railroad.
Rosa Parks: Rosa Parks launched one of the most successful non-violent protests against discrimination in America by refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Parks helped achieve a lasting change in our country as well as becoming a modest but courageous icon for the civil rights movement.
Maya Angelou: The poet laureate of the Clinton administration, who wrote a poem for his inauguration. This poem expressed the hopes and aspirations of a whole generation. She is also the author of “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and a social commentator.
Madam C.J. Walker: The first self-made millionaire who developed the “hot-iron” process for straightening hair and became a major business leader and philanthropist.
Coretta Scott King: Wife and partner to the famous Martin Luther King Jr. she made her own contribution to the Freedom Movement by leading the movement for a national holiday.
Loraine Hansberry: This uncompromising foe of racism was the first black woman to write a Broadway play (A Raisin in the Sun)
Zora Neale Hurston: Anthropologist, novelist and pioneer scholar of Negro folklore who was one of the most widely published authors of the ’30s and ’40s. Among these is the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Toni Morrison: Novelist, essayist, and Princeton University professor best known for her novels The Bluest Eye and Beloved.
Shirley Chisholm: Shirley was the first black Congresswoman in 1968. She used her time in Congress to campaign for women and civil rights.
Oprah Winfrey: Winfrey came from humble beginnings to become one of the most influential television personalities. Oprah has been a positive role model emphasizing how women and black women can overcome obstacles to achieve great things.