Did you know February is Black History Month? From politicians to authors to activists, there are so many women whose lives and contributions should be included in this celebration, and yet those women are usually overlooked.
Not to underplay his contribution to history, but there is so much more to learn about and celebrate in addition to Martin Luther King, Jr. He may be the most common part of the lesson plan in our grands’ classrooms across the country, but the truth of the matter is the seeds of Black History Month were planted in 1926, when Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History founded Negro History Week, before Dr. King was even born.
It wasn’t until 1976 when the week turned into a month dedicated to celebrating the contributions and achievements of African Americans. That included women.
So in case you’re looking for another reason to appreciate February, here’s a list of five women you should be celebrating.
We Have These Groundbreaking Feminists to Thank
According to Biography, billionaire media giant and philanthropist “Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted a hit television chat show, People Are Talking. Afterward, she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show.
She later became the host of her own, wildly popular program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. That same year, Winfrey launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).”
“Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014), known as Maya Angelou, was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.
Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009.”
“Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942. A gifted singer and pianist, Franklin toured with her father’s traveling revival show and later visited New York, where she signed with Columbia Records.
Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics. In 1987 she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.”
“Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1924, Shirley Chisholm is best known for becoming the first black congresswoman (1968), representing New York State in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms. She went on to run for the 1972 Democratic nomination for the presidency—becoming the first major-party African-American candidate to do so.
Throughout her political career, Chisholm fought for education opportunities and social justice. Chisholm even left Congress in 1983 to teach.”
Mae C. Jemison
“Mae C. Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American astronaut and physician who, on June 4, 1987, became the first African-American woman to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992, Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, becoming the first African-American woman in space.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison has received several awards and honorary doctorates.” Talk about a smart cookie, darlings!
Who Are You Celebrating This Month?
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