In honor of Black History Month, we want to use our platform to shine light on the inspirational, change-making Black Women you weren't taught about in school. It's totally vital that we quit with the narrative that all History is White History. The Black Community have played such an important role in shaping our culture, politics and day-to-day lives and we hope that this blog post helps communicate this.
1. Esther Jones
Remember Betty Boop? Pretty iconic right. Did you know the character was actually inspired by the Black Jazz singer Esther Jones? Esther was a regular performer at the Cotton Club in the 1920s and Cartoonist Max Fleischer went on to introduce Betty Boop the following decade. Betty Boop went on to become the most famous sex symbol in animation and somehow ended up unrightfully white along the way...
2. Claudette Colvin
Contrary to belief, Rosa Parks wasn't the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. A fifteen year old schoolgirl named Claudette Colvin was actually one of the first women to stand their ground in 1955, nine months before the Rosa Parks protest that was the catalyst behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Claudette had been inspired by Harriet Tubman as she studied Black leaders.
3. Andrea Jenkins
In 2017, Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender person of colour to be elected into public office in the United States. By the time Andrea had been elected to serve on the Minneapolis City Council, she had acquired more than 25 years of public service experience. She had worked as a policy aid, non-profit director and employment specialist.
Jenkins has campaigned on issues such as tackling police violence and brutality, combating climate change, ending voter suppression and making more affordable housing.
4. Margaret Busby
Born in Ghana and educated in the UK, graduating from London University, Margaret Busby became the youngest and first female book publisher. Margaret continues to use her talent and influence to support new and upcoming writers from minority backgrounds, promoting diversity in the publishing industry.
5. Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in NYC. After she escaped to freedom in 1826 with her infant daughter, she went to court to rescue her son two years later, soon becoming the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. From then, she earned her name as an American abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
6. Marsha P. Johnson
The 1960s and preceding decades were not welcoming times for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Marsha P. Johnson was an LGBTQ activist and trans woman who helped lead the Stonewall riots. Marsha found joy in as a drag queen amidst the nightlife of Christopher Street. She quickly became a big figure amongst the LGBTQ community by helping young, homeless communities.