Dorothy I. Height
Dorothy I. Height was a civil rights activist who devoted her life to equal rights for women and minorities. She was a woman of service, past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (1947-1956), Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient (1994), and former president of the National Council of Negro Women. She was also a mastermind behind the African-American Women for Productive Freedom organization, chairwoman on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and special guest at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Most recently, in 2017, she became the 15th Black woman to receive a U.S. postage stamp in her honor.
Elizabeth Warren is a badass academic and politician. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and senior United States Senator from Massachusetts. Not one to hold her tongue, she recently fought firmly against the confirmations of Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) and Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education). She is what prompted #NeverthelessShePersisted movement after she was silenced on the Senate floor for reading a 1986 statement by Corretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions’ nomination for federal judge.
Corretta Scott King
More than the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King was an author, activist, and civil rights leader of the 1960s.
Angela Davis is an educator, activist, scholar and gifted writer who advocates for the oppressed.
Nina Simone was a legendary singer-songwriter/civil rights activist. Before she died in 2003, Simone, dubbed a “complicated public figure”, led an impressive musical career – having recorded over 40 albums and being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She made no apologies for speaking out about matters of oppression.
Rosa Parks was saluted by Congress as the “first lady of civil rights,” she challenged racial segregation by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest, and the ensuing Montgomery bus boycott, became symbols in the struggle for racial equality and civil rights in the United States.
Ilhan Omar is a Somali American politician from Minnesota, and the Director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network.
Known for giving the most fierce side-eyes that will snap almost anyone back into formation, Maxine Moore Waters is the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district (previously the 35th and 29th districts). She has been serving since 1991. She says what she means and means what she says.
Wilma Mankiller was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and first elected female Chief of a Native nation in modern times. Her 10-year administration, from 1985-1995, revitalized the Nation through extensive community development, self-help, education and healthcare programs for the Cherokee Nation’s 300,000 citizens.
Harriet Tubman was born a slave, she fled North to freedom, later making 19 trips back to the South as an Underground Railroad conductor, leading some 300 slaves to freedom. A nurse during the Civil War, she served the Union army as a scout and spy. She was active in the women’s suffrage movement after the war.
Our forever First Lady, Michelle Obama taught us how to “go high” when they go low (you know who “they” are), how to educate our children in making healthier eating choices with the Let’s Move program, to be a pillar for men worthy of our love as she was for POTUS, to be a voice for the voiceless, to speak and carry ourselves with dignity in the face of adversity, and to create and produce groundbreaking work in our communities. She taught us, and continues to be a shining example of our power.
Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, received international attention after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for trying to fight for the education of young Pakastani girls. Now a survivor, Malala went on to campaign worldwide – her most notable speech with the United Nations in 2013. She later worked hand-in-hand with Satyarthi, 60, from India to continue the educational fight. Sayarthi, for decades, has played a major role in rescuing trafficked children from slavery in India.
Ruby Bridges was the first Black child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South.
Sandra Bland was undeniably bright, confiden and self-assured of her human rights. Before her life was tragically cut short, she was in the process of moving to Texas from Illinois for a promising job opportunity as a young woman fresh out of college. Unfortunately, who knew a routine traffic stop for improper lane change and failure to signal would ultimately lead to her demise? Yet still, she persisted.
Laverne Cox is an Emmy-nominated actress, seen in the Netflix original series Orange is The New Black, where she plays the ground breaking role of Sophia Burset. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was a social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Despite her defeat, Hillary Clinton persisted until the end in the 2016 presidential election, with hopes of shattering the glass ceiling of being the first women U.S. president.
Bree Newsome is an activist and community organizer. Her bravery led her to take matters into her own hands when she scaled to the top of a 30-ft flagpole on the South Carolina state capitol grounds and removed the confederate flag. She then brought it down to police, who waited to arrest her.
Mother Teresa was founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor. She was one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, and in 2016, was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Shirley Chisolm was a pioneer for her generation, and a woman of many firsts. Let it be known that she was the first Black congresswoman, first Black candidate to run for president, and the first Black woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Let it be known.
Mae Carol Jemison is an engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
April Reign, a writer, editor and former lawyer, initially created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite in response to the lack of diversity for the annual award show. It caught on like wildfire and is now a means to shine a light on the need for more inclusion, diversity and recognition for stars of color creating outstanding work in film and television.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a U.S. Supreme Court Justice – the second woman to be appointed to the position following Sandra Day O’Connor.
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (NASA’s Hidden Figures)
The three women behind NASA’s rigorous and high-paced mathematics program that resulted in several successful space missions. Not to mention, these events occurred in the thick of heavy space program competition between the United States and Soviet Union. They exuded excellence in science, technology engineering and math (STEM), even in the midst of racism and sexism.
Rich in history and devotion to public service, Black sororities, were founded by college-educated Black women looking to fulfill the needs of their communities.
Iesha L. Evans
This iconic photo of Iesha L Evans captures her standing poised in a long dress in the face of a line of Louisiana state troopers dressed in riot gear as she protested the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police brutality.
Viola Davis is, without a doubt, one of the most mesmerizing, gifted actresses of our lifetime. She has dedicated years in building a solid reputation in film and television, while paving the way for others. Her magic cannot be erased or overlooked.
Ava DuVernay has been heavily on our radars since directing Selma, and has since joined the ranks of other prominent directors on major large-budget projects. So, having a woman entrusted with a film of this magnitude in an industry dominated primarily by white males, is a pretty huge deal. She most recently produced and directed an important documentary on mass incarceration, 13th film, as well as a television series on Black farmers based off the Queen Sugar novel.
Olympic royalty, Gabby Douglas, is the true definition of ‘girl power’. She has exhibited a positive representation both on an off the beams, and while heavily enduring harsh criticisms – from cyber bullying over her overall appearance to her “attitude” to her not placing her hand over her heart during the National Anthem, she has risen above and beyond. She is currently serving as an ambassador for online harassment with Hack Harrassment.