Perhaps one of the most well-known African-American abolitionist and activist, Harriet Tubman carved out her space in history with her boldness. Although she was involved in several other notable efforts, including women’s suffrage; it was her fearless leadership that freed many slaves that is still talked about, celebrated and taught to this day.
Civil Rights heroine Rosa Parks touched off the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger. The incident made her an influential symbol for racial equality and served as a pivotal moment towards ending segregation laws in the south.
After escaping from slavery, Sojourner Truth dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights and racial equality. Her stirring speeches, including “Ain’t I a Woman,” still resonate today and keep the conversation of feminism and human rights going.
An activist, educator and advocate for racial advancement, Mary McLeod Bethune made her mark. She founded the National Council of Negro Women and a private school for African-American students that still stands today as Bethune-Cookman college. Her work as the national advisor for Franklin D. Roosevelt, pushed the conversation of equality further.
Madame C.J. Walker is best known as America’s first Black female self-made millionaire. A daughter of former slaves, she not only created products that changed the face of Black hair care but was a philanthropist, activist and pioneer. She donated two-thirds of her estate to charity when she died, helping to impact ideas about what Black woman were capable of and what their influence meant.
Ida B. Wells was a prominent journalist and newspaper editor who was an early leader in the civil rights movement. She used her platform to document the lynchings taking place in America, bringing a glaring light to the issue. She was also a co-founder of the NAACP which is still one of the largest organizations advocating for equal rights.
Maya Angelou was not only a poet, actress, dancer and singer but an influencer who inspired our nation through a life of advocacy. Her fight for justice as a key member of the civil rights movement and coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference helped her to become one of the most important and influential women of her time.
Known as a prominent activist during the civil rights era, Fanny Lou Hamer played an instrumental part in Mississippi’s Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was also at the forefront of the voting rights movement, helping to make the opportunity to have an influence on government possible for African-Americans.