Women of Black History Month | female heroes in Black History Month

Women of Black History Month | female heroes in Black History Month

Black History Month: The Women Who Made a Difference

Remembering invisible female heroes in Black History Month

February marks Black History Month and the mostly predictable commentary that accompanies it. Yet I’m one of those readers who clicks on most every essay because I know I will be rewarded with some real gems.

We’re only five days into the month and already I’ve found The Forgotten Women of Black History Month, a column by playwright and journalist Aurin Squire that is based around his confession that he had no idea of the role that MLK’s mother played in the civil rights movement nor the circumstances of her death. women leaders in history, female leaders in black history,Women of Black History Month.

Squire is a good 20 years younger than me, so the history taught to me and my peers was extraordinarily more limited than what he learned and he points out how lacking his own education was on this score.
Sadly, I think Harriet Tubman was one of the few black female “historical figures” whom we studied; the only contemporary African-Americans whom I recall getting any attention in history class were MLK and Rosa Parks. Not to mention the still-white-washed take on African-American heroes we studied in Central Texas schools back in the 1970s! (To wit, I’m still learning about the real Rosa Parks, as she is profiled here.)
In case you are as ignorant as me and (until recently) Squire, Alberta Williams King, the mother of Martin Luther King Jr., was killed in a church shooting spree by a young black man out to “kill all Christians.” I was just finishing my junior year of high school the year she died, 1974.

That was the same summer Nixon was crumbling under the Watergate scandal. Amazing that I remember in great detail how my crew of would-be journalists were breathlessly following the Watergate story, yet I don’t have a bit of recollection about Alberta King’s assassination. Or ever even wondered about the person who was the mother to a man who would become one of the world’s greatest civil rights heroes.

Like Squire, I too have been trying to make up for lost time in filling these kinds of gaps in my literary and history education. When it comes to African-American women whose impact was minimized, Hurston was a complex and often controversial figure and often unfairly shouted down or overlooked by the black male literati, who were so sure they knew best. But at a time when female African-American artists were told even by their male peers to shut up and take a back seat Hurston was able to make herself heard. Like Parks, she’s another female hero whose real story was far more interesting than the small box that journalists of the time tried to put them in.

Back to Squires’ essay about King and other female heroes of the civil rights movement, I appreciated his frankness around what he doesn’t know– and what he hopes to learn. Seems like a good message for us all to embrace.women leaders in history, female leaders in black history,Women of Black History Month.

The unfamiliar Women In Black History

Every February, in recognition of Black History Month, we’re reintroduced to influential people in our history who have left marks in their respective industries. These people were great. Their courage surpassed their fear and they held steadfast in their fight for justice and equality for the human race. Yet, while we’re constantly reminded of the Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Harriet Tubmans, Malcolms, and Rosa Parks of the past, there are many other black leaders that often go unrecognized. Their paths were just as difficult and their fights just as courageous.

So as Black History Month gets ready to come to a close, we would like to acknowledge seven of the least recognized women in black history. Some you may be familiar with by name, but not aware of their stories. Others you will be introduced to for the first time. These women paved the way for other women and blacks in general.
Check out our list of influential black women who may have missed the mainstream recognition, but nevertheless played a pivotal role in our history.


Black Feminists You Never knew

Feminism has broken down barriers of inequality and liberated the daughters of a past generation to have it all: college educations, fulfilling careers, relationships on their own terms, and progressive status within their families. As women, we owe a lot to the feminist movement and to the leaders like Gloria Steinem who inspired a generation.
In honor of Black History Month, and in honor of the feminists women of color who have gone unacknowledged in the mainstream folds of the movement, I present to you a list of some of the most radical black feminists of all time.
Radical and revolutionary are terms that can be empty when not understood within their context.


Radical feminists


The following women are radical feminists because of their desire to bring attention to the plight of black women, which in some cases was and is different from the struggles of white women. Dealing with social conditions like slavery, structural racism, poverty and a denial of education, they called attention to the needs of black women in the U.S. in their own unique ways. And like other feminists, they were not afraid to be the first to do so.