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.
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.
- From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American women composers and their music by Helene Walker Hill
- Creating Their Own Image: the history of African-American women artists by Lisa E. Farrington
- Phillis Wheatley: biography of a genius in bondage by Vincent Carretta
- Women of the Harlem Renaissance by Cheryl A. Wall
Kids can do their own research with these (selected) titles:
- Women of the Harlem Renaissance by Lisa Beringer McKissack
- African American Women Scientists and Inventors by Otha Richard Sullivan
- Bridget “Biddy” Mason: from slave to businesswoman by Jean Kinney Williams
- In Her Hands: the story of sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Scroder
- Bessie Coleman: daring to fly by Sally M. Walker
I’m sure I’ve left out many notable women. Who would you add to the list?