21 Modern-Day Black Women Who Made History With Their Firsts

Getty images

Black history is NOW!

Rachaell Davis Jul, 29, 2016

As the world continues to turn, Black women continue to be a leading force across all industries.

While pioneers like Madame CJ Walker, Shirley Chisholm, Hattie McDaniel, Dorothy Dandridge and countless others laid the foundation, there are also plenty of women breaking barriers today.

From education and politics, to music, sports and film, Black Girl Magic continues to make history daily. 

Here’s a look at 16 Black women who have made history with their “firsts” in the last 15 years.

1 of 22 Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

In 2014, Tamron Hall became the first Black woman to co-anchor 'Today' Show. “I’m a part of this for women, for Black women, for all of us," she told ESSENCE.com.

2 of 22 Lancome

First Black spokesperson for Lancome

3 of 22 google.com

First Black Librarian of Congress

4 of 22 MIKE NELSON/Getty Images

First Black woman to win an Oscar for best actress.

5 of 22 Getty images

First Black woman to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic swim team

6 of 22 CBS Photo Archive/Getty images

First Black performer to be appointed principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater

7 of 22 Chip Somodevilla

First Black woman to become First Lady of the United States

8 of 22 Steve Granitz/Getty Images

First Black female director to receive a Golden Globe Award

9 of 22 Alex Wong/Getty images

First Black woman to become Attorney General of the United States

10 of 22 Boston Globe/Getty images

First Black woman to be named president of the American Bar Association

11 of 22 Bill Clark/Getty images

In 2017, she became the first Black female Republican to be elected to Congress.

12 of 22 Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/Getty images

First Black woman to be the face of Dior

13 of 22 Randy Holmes/Getty images

First Black woman to create and executive produce a top 10 network series

14 of 22 VALERIE MACON/Getty images

First Black woman to become individual all-around Olympic champion

15 of 22 Larry Busacca/PW/Getty images

First artist ever to have 6 albums debut at Number 1 on the Billboard charts

16 of 22 Harry How/Getty images

First Black all-around world champion

17 of 22

@NikuyahWalkerCC Twitter

In 2018, she became the first Black woman mayor of Charlottesville, VA.

18 of 22 LaToya Cantrell Facebook

She is the first Black woman to be elected mayor of New Orleans.

19 of 22

FDNY

She is the first Black woman to be named Deputy Chief of the NYC Fire Department.

20 of 22 Frazer Harrison/

In 2017, Lena became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing.

21 of 22

‏@MiaBLove: "Hey President Obama - Yoda was right, "Do or do not, there is no try." We need progress, not excuses. #townhalldebate #CantAfford4More" 

22 of 22 Kevork Djansezian/NBC/Getty Images

In 2018, Oprah became the first Black woman to receive the prestigious Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.