GL celebrates the ah-mazing accomplishments of African-American women
February isn’t just about Pun Punxsutawney Phil predicting the change of season or sending your crush chocolates. Though we’re getting ready to bid February a fond farewell, we’re also taking one more chance to recognize the achievements and advances of African-Americans throughout history.
Since 1976, February (in the United States and Canada) has been deemed Black History Month. Though there have been great achievements made by men that are celebrated throughout this month, African-American women in particular have been powerful assets to the advancements of the world that we live in today.
I’m sure we all know about the pioneering efforts of Harriet Tubman, the renegade slave who freed others through her service conducting the Underground Railroad, but do you know of others like Lyda D. Newman, who at the turn of the century invented the soft synthetic brush that we use on our hair today; or Theora Stephens, who invented the pressing comb and curling iron? If it weren’t for these two ladies, along with the revolutionizing hair care products of Madam C. J. Walker, hair maintenance today would be a major drag!
But African-American women’s efforts weren’t only superficial. In times of war, they aided as much as they could. Take for instance famed spy Mary Elizabeth Bowser, who under the guise of an illiterate servant aided the Union in winning the war against the Confederacy. Almost a decade later, famous actress and singer Josephine Baker aided in the French Resistance of World War II, and was the first American to receive the Croix de guerre honor by the French Military. Before Amelia Earhart was setting ground-breaking records for women of her time, Bessie Coleman took it one step further by being the first Black woman to obtain a pilot’s license and an international pilot’s license in 1921, after many schools in the United States rejected her based on her skin color and her gender.
On the intellectual front, there are women such as Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American poet to have poetry published as well as first African-American woman to be published in the 1700s. Wheatley opened doors for future writers like Maya Angelou, who is greatly revered as one of the greatest writers and poets of her time, as well as Toni Morrison (pictured above), who was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for writing in 1993.
Today—and every day—we honor the accomplishments of these women, and all women. After all, where would we be without them?TALK BACK: What woman is most inspiring to you, girlies?
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