DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Feb 22 2012

Celebrating African American Women

by Dea Anne M

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" by sculptor Augusta Savage

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" by sculptor Augusta Savage

February is Black History Month and this year the celebration’s special focus has been “Black Women in American Culture and History.”  Though the month is drawing to a close, there’s still time to remember and celebrate some of the very interesting African American women who, though well known, are perhaps less often heralded than others but are, nonetheless, just as important. Here’s an admittedly small sampling:

Bessie Coleman (1893-1926) – the first African American female pilot and the first African American to hold an international pilots license.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) – the first widely known African American poet and the first African American woman to publish her writing.

Harriet Ida Pickins and Frances Willis – the first African American female U.S. Navy officers.

Bridget Mason (1818- 1891) - nurse, midwife, philanthropist and real estate entrepreneur. She was one of the first African Americans, and the first female, to own land in Los Angeles.

Augusta Savage (1892- 1962) – sculptor and highly influential teacher and activist throughout the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. Her sculpture Lift Every Voice and Sing was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

If you want to learn more about these women and others, DCPL has materials available to you.

Kids can do their own research with these (selected) titles:

I’m sure I’ve left out many notable women. Who would you add to the list?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

T. Strong February 28, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Thanks Dea Anne for the post. I would definitely add a few ‘radical’ women like Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Clark, and Selena Sloan Butler. Upon these and other shoulders I stand, supported by their determination, unwavering faith, and hope for a better day for people of color.

Dea Anne Martin February 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Absolutely and very well said! Thanks for the comment.

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