During February, Black History Month, let’s recognize and highlight the accomplishments of eight strong, smart, and bold women that are often unrecognized.
Septima Poinsette Clark was an American educator and civil rights activist. Clark developed the literacy and citizenship workshops that played an important role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African Americans in the American Civil Rights Movement. She famously said, “I have a great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift.”
Oseola McCarty was a local washerwoman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi who became The University of Southern Mississippi’s most famous benefactor. She had established a $150,000 trust to provide scholarships for deserving students in need of financial assistance, and said, “If you want to be proud of yourself, you have got to do things you can be proud of.”
Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the first female self-made millionaire in America. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, and later relocated to and established the headquarters in Indianapolis. She encouraged us not to “sit and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and is also the first Native American woman to hold a pilot license. She is also the first person of African American and Native American descent to hold an international pilot license.
Cathay Williams was an American soldier. She is the first African-American female to enlist, and the only documented to serve in the United States Army posing as a man, under the pseudonym William Cathay.
Diane Nash is an American civil rights activist, and a leader and strategist of the student wing of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. She is quoted as saying, “There is a source of power in each of us that we don’t realize until we take responsibility.”
There is a Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, Mississippi. She was an American voting rights activist, civil rights leader, philanthropist, and the vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Who do you choose to celebrate this month?