In honor of Black History Month, this February, Women’s Resource Center will celebrate the success and impact African Americans have made on our nation’s history. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and recognize some of the most influential African American women known to date.
Harriet Tubman (1822 – March 20, 1913)
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman refused to continue her life as a slave in Maryland and escaped to Philadelphia in 1849. A year after her escape, she returned to Maryland to help free her sister and family. After succeeding while rescuing her family, over the next 12 years, she returned through the Underground Railroad 18 or 19 more times rescuing a total of more than 300 slaves. During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman worked as a nurse, scout and spy for Union forces.
Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955)
After teaching in Georgia, Mary McLeod Bethune and her husband moved to Jacksonville, Florida where she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institution in 1904 to provide education for African American girls. It was merged with Cookman Institute in 1923 and she served as president until 1943. She was the only African American delegate to attend the founding convention of the United Nations at the invitation of President Harry Truman.
Shirley Chishold (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005)
Shirley Chishold is known for her bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. She was the first African American woman to do this in a major political party. Before this, she was active in state and national politics for more than a decade. In 1968 she was elected to Congress as the first African American woman to serve. During her service, she was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005)
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a Caucasian rider, which lead to her being arrested. This incident sparked a national movement and the 381 day Montgomery Bus Boycott. After the boycott, the city’s public transit became desegregated and Rosa Parks and her family moved to Detroit in 1957, where she remained active in civil rights until the day she passed.
These are only a few of the many African American women heros. Throughout the rest of the month, we ask you to research one new African American woman in history. Cherish these women who stood up for what they believed in and honor their accomplishments.
Click here for more inspiring African American woman in history.