During black history month this February, we take a look at celebrating history's most iconic and important figures, black women.
Countless inventions, movements and stories would not exist without some of the most influential black females in history.
Many people are not aware of the impact they have made to history, from some favourite inventions such as 3D Movies invented by Dr. Valerie Thomas, GPS invented by Dr. Gladys West, Conditioner invented by Madame C.J Walker who was also the first female self-made millionaire in America and Caller ID invented by Shirley Ann Jackson.
This month we also recognise women who encouraged movements that have shaped us to where we are now including Claudette Colvin who was only 15 years old and refused to give up her seat on the bus 9 months before Rosa Parks. She was arrested but this small action would be what would go on to lead Rosa Parks to do the same (Bus Boycott, 1955). Coretta Scott King who was Martin Luther King’s wife but just as outspoken as her husband, she stood up for equality and was a leader for civil rights movements across America. And of course, Marsha P. Johnson who was one of the important historic figures of the Stonewall Riots.
We also look at the current women today making history such as Viola Davis who has featured in countless movies and shows and has won an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Critics Choice Award, a Tony, a BAFTA and so many more. She and so many actresses such as Luptia Nyong’o, Keke Palmer, Zendaya and many more female artists across the industry are continuing to pave the way for young black girls who get to grow up watching themselves represented on screen and in music.
Black women are also contributing to the history of sports today such as Serena Williams who has an impressive 23 Grand Slam titles. And, Gabby Douglas, the young Olympic gymnast who was the first black woman and woman of colour of any nationality to win a gold medal in the summer 2012 London Olympics. They are just among the few who have truly made their mark in sports. Some others include Alice Coachman, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Debi Thomas, Sheryl Swoopes, and many more amazing women.
It is safe to say that black women are showing up in every way through sports, music, art, fashion, literature and much more and continue to stay outspoken even when they are overlooked.
Black women continue to be the blueprint for so many things that have become popularized today and continue to be the foundation that shapes where the future generation of young black girls will go.
As black females we can often be told that we are too loud, too dark, too light, not black enough and that we must, at all times, be strong, independent women. But black women cry, bleed, and hurt the same as anybody else and it is not always our duty to stay strong. It is okay to cry, okay to seek help, and most importantly, it is okay to be who you are unapologetically, every single day.
In the final words of Maya Angelou, “You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
To all the black queens, starting businesses, following dreams, being your authentic self each and every day,