Famous African American WomenLoading
  • Marian Anderson

    Famed opera singer and civil rights pioneer, Anderson broke a color barrier in classical music when she performed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 1939.
  • Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou

    Essayist, poet and playwright, Angelou authored six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. She read one of her poems during President Bill Clinton's first inauguration.
    Bebeto Matthews | AP
  • Mary McLeod Bethune

    Civil rights activist and educator, Bethune founded a school for black students that became Bethune-Cookman University. She also served in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    HANDOUT
  • Yvonne Brathwaite Burke

    In 1973 Burke became the first African American woman to represent the West Coast in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to that she served in the California State Assembly from 1967-73.
    Dick Schmidt
  • Shirley Chisholm

    The first African American woman elected to Congress, Chisholm in 1972 became the first black candidate to run for the presidential nomination of a major party.
    Library of Congress
  • EDELMAN

    Marian Wright Edelman

    Founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Edelman has spent her life fighting for the rights and welfare of young people. She is also the first African American woman to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar.
    BILL PERRY | GPN
  • Ella Fitzgerald

    Called the "First Lady of Song," Fitzgerald was one of the most popular singers and recording artists in jazz and popular music.
  • JORDAN

    Barbara Jordan

    The first African American women from the South elected to Congress, Jordan played a prominent role in the Watergate hearings of 1974.
    TIM SHARP | AP
  • GOODWILL GAMES

    Jackie Joyner-Kersee

    One of the greatest U.S. Olympic athletes, Joyner-Kersee won a total of six medals in the long jump and heptathlon events at the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 games.
    MARK LENNIHAN | AP
  • APTOPIX FRANCE MORRISON

    Toni Morrison

    Well-known writer, editor and educator, Morrison is recipient of the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, the latter for her novel, Beloved. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
    MICHEL EULER | AP
  • OBIT ROSA PARKS

    Rosa Parks

    An important civil rights activist, known for her pivotal role in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, Parks will become the first black woman to have a statue in the U.S. Capitol
    KHUE BUI | AP
  • Mary Ellen Pleasant

    Pleasant was a former slave who became a millionaire entrepreneur, abolitionist and conductor in the "Underground Railroad". She earned the honor "Mother of the Civil Rights in California" for her efforts to end racial discrimination in San Francisco in the 1860s.
  • Sojourner Truth

    Abolitionist, prison reform and women's rights activist, Truth helped recruit African American men to fight for the Union during the Civil War.
    handout
  • Harriet Tubman

    Abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War, Tubman helped rescue 70 slaves through the "Underground Railroad" network.
    Courtesy
  • Winfrey Final Season

    Oprah Winfrey

    Business woman, TV personality, producer, actress and philanthropist, Winfrey, has built a media empire that has made her one of the richest women in the world.
    Chris Pizzello | AP
February is African American History Month (aka Black History Month). This year's theme is "Black Women in American Culture and History," honoring the many roles they've played in the development of the nation.
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