African American Women

Celebrating African American women throughout history and their achievements!


African American Women

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May Edward chin, daughter of the housekeeper for the Tiffany family of Tiffany Jewelry, was educated along with the employers children. Though she never got a high school diploma, she managed to obtain a medical degree and opened a practice serving the underserved and focusing on terminal illnesses like cancer. No hospital would hire her because of her race. | nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #WomensHistory #MayEdwardChin #BlackWomen #BlackHistory

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Journalist Ida B. Wells was an avid suffragist and an early Civil Rights leader, who used the power of the pen to challenge racial & sexual discrimination. In 1892, Wells published “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases” a scathing exposé of lynching practices. In retaliation for her articles, a mob destroyed her Memphis printing press, and after numerous threats to her life, Wells moved to Chicago to continue her anti-lynching campaign. | nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum

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Congresswoman Barbara Jordan’s incisive questioning during the Nixon impeachment trials earned her nationwide respect. Her work was recognized when, in 1976, she was invited to be the first African-American and the first woman to deliver the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. | nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #WomensHistory #BarbaraJordan #BlackWomen #BlackHistory

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In 1775, the United States Postal Service was established and we’re highlighting Mary Fields (A.K.A. “Stagecoach Mary”). Fields was the first African-American woman mail carrier in the United States! She was the second American woman to work for USPS. Born a slave in Tennessee, Fields migrated west shortly after the Civil War. She was hired as a mail carrier in Montana in 1895. | nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #WomensHistory #MaryFields #BlackHistory #BlackWomen

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On March 27, 1961, four female and five male Tougaloo College students, known as the Tougaloo Nine organized a read-in at the Jackson Municipal Library. After the group began to study in the whites only library, a staff member called the police and the nine students were arrested and jailed. Their actions helped launch Mississippi’s civil rights movement. Pictured: Janice Jackson, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer being arrested. nwhm.org | #WomensHistory #TougalooNine #BlackHistory

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In 1909, Nannie Helen Burroughs founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., under the motto: “We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible.” Burroughs dedicated her entire life to the betterment of black women, the Suffrage Movement, the NAACP, and the National Baptist’s Woman Convention. Her school still exists today. nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #WomensHistory #NannieHelenBurroughs #BlackWomeninHistory

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15-year-old Janet Collins tried out for the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo company in 1932 but she declined to join when she found out that she would not be allowed to perform without painting her African American skin white. She went on to become the first (and still to this day, only) Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera, in 1951. (Photo via PrimaJanetCollins...) nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #WomensHistory #BlackWomeninHistory #JanetCollins #Ballet

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Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth delivered her most famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” at a women’s rights conference in Akron, Ohio. It became a classic speech of the women’s rights movement. More: bit.ly/1obpyqW nwhm.org | National Women's History Museum | #SojournerTruth #WomensHistoy #BlackWomeninHistory

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September 6, 1853 - Women's Right's Convention met in New York City (Sept. 6th and 7th); Sojourner Truth was one of the speakers.

America's History in the Making — Resource Archive

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Spelman History is Women's History: Dr. Georgia Dwelle, HS'00 -- When she entered Meharry Medical College in 1900, Dwelle became the first Spelman graduate to attend medical school, and in 1920 she established the Dwelle Infirmary, Georgia's first general hospital for African Americans and its first obstetrical hospital for African American women.

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Esther Popel, poet of the Harlem Renaissance and first known female African American graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA

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Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells, Nannie Burroughs and other women at Baptist Women's gathering, Chicago.

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Oprah Winfrey - talk show host, actress, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century and was for some time the world's only African American billionaire. Her famous show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," was the highest-rated program of its kind in history.

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  • Tracie Graham
    Tracie Graham

    Oprah

Dr. Pauli Murray was the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. She was also a civil rights and women's rights activist, lawyer, and author.

Pauli Murray Project

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Billie Holiday - LOC

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Etta James

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Marian Anderson Sings at Lincoln Memorial

Marian Anderson Sings at Lincoln Memorial

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Hazel Scott - She was a musical prodigy and studied at the Julliard School from eight years old! Scott eventually became one of the most recognized jazz artists in the world. She also was the first woman of color to have her own television show, the Hazel Scott Show debuted in 1950.

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Leontyne Price. On January 27, 1961, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore where she received a 42-minute ovation, one of the longest in the Met’s history. She has 15 Grammys for voice recordings, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), and the National Medal of Arts (1985).

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Singer-Songwriter, Actress, Businesswoman, Humanitarian, and Author. Gladys Maria Knight aka the "Empress of Soul". Seven time Grammy Award Winner and lead vocalist of the hit soul group Gladys Knight and The Pips.

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    Grand!

Ph.D. portrait of Sadie T.M. Alexander, 1921. The first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Economics, the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the first African-American woman appointed as Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia.

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Dr. Dorothy Height - developed a multitude of educational programs and policies, including "Wednesdays in Mississippi" which allowed for interracial dialogue between women of the North and South. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Education & Resources - National Women's History Museum - NWHM

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Vivian Malone Jones - First African American woman to enter and graduate from the University of Alabama.

Education & Resources - National Women's History Museum - NWHM

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Dr. C. Delores Tucker - civil rights activist and first African American woman to serve as Pennsylvania's Secretary of State. Tucker also founded the National Political Congress of Black Women in 1985.

Education & Resources - National Women's History Museum - NWHM

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Alice Coachman - First African American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics for the high jump at the 1948 London Olympics.

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