Black History Month is long from being over, but the inspirational black men and women that have contributed great achievements and successes in our society deserve to get honored every month of the year. They have broken down barriers and stereotypes in so many fields, powered by their drive and determination, and that’s not something to be swept underneath the rug.
Below, we are featuring four influential black women who have paved the way for how we see life today, with their achievements being ones that would make the world very different today if they hadn’t taken that leap of faith. Read on, and become inspired!
Shirley Anita Crisholm was a devout Civil Rights activist, who made waves in her time and beyond. Originally from Barbados, she emigrated to Brooklyn, NY with her parents to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. When a new congressional district was created in her neighborhood in 1968, that gave her the motivation she needed to run for Congress. After going through many opponents in the election, she won in an incredible 67% victory, making her the first black woman to serve in the House of Representatives of Congress.
Relishing in her success, she also became the first black woman to venture for a Democratic party nomination for presidency. She held a campaign that was rigorous and for the people, but she was ultimately beat out of the nomination. At the end of the day, her power held true, by spending seven terms in the House.
Katherine Johnson, commonly known as the stupendous “human computer”, was a leader who showed through her vigilant efforts in education, how impressive her talents were. Being one of three black students to integrate West Virginia State College, she excelled in all of her academics, which eventually led her to working at NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).
With the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1967, that’s when her career kicked it in high gear. She worked on many programs during the Space Race, most notably the Freedom 7, the first US human spaceflight. Her research and data led NASA to reach higher heights, literally!
Constance Baker Motley’s legacy was one to remember. Her career first started when she began doing clerk work for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund, and then branching out to be a true strategist for the Civil Rights Movement. She played an integral role in the desegregation of many facets in the country.
In 1964, she was elected to the New York State Senate, an act that was unheard of in her time, as she was the first black woman to do so. Things got even more extraordinary for her when President Lyndon Johnson named her a Federal Court judge in 1966, a momentous occasion for not only her, but for all black men and women, she noted.
For a more modern day leading black woman, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett has played an instrumental role in our current COVID-world. With over 6 years of previous experience working on developing vaccines for many strains of coronaviruses, she banded with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the notable leader of fighting COVID-19, to create a vaccine. She is the leading developer behind the Moderna vaccine.
At only 35 years old, she led the developers to create the vaccine for the COVID-19 virus in only two days, immediately after the virus was discovered. Obviously clinical trials make the process much longer, but the timely manner that she was able to lead such an important task to help billions of people is extraordinary in itself.
All in all, these trailblazing black women have paved the way for generations of children to look up to and be inspired by them. They are figures that show that barriers set for black women are meant to be broken down, as they are capable, powerful, and able to conquer anything.