Empowered Legacies: Trailblazing Black women who shaped history

Black History Month is a time to remember the struggles and achievements of African Americans. It’s also an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the diverse narratives that have played a pivotal role in history.

The fight for equality made headlines in the 60s but the battle began decades earlier.

It’s been 64 years since Ruby Bridges took the first steps to end segregation in our schools, and 69 years since Rosa Parks chose her seat on the bus.

But how much do you know about the women who risked their lives for those who came after? Nine months before Mrs. Parks, Claudette Colvin was just 15 when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman.

A woman nicknamed Moses was born a slave, escaped and dedicated her life to helping other slaves escape to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman led at least 70 people to safety.

At age nine, Sojourner Truth was sold at auction for $100 and a flock of sheep. Later escaping to freedom, she became the first Black woman to sue a white man and win. Who did she sue? She filed suit against the slave owner she escaped who sold her son. She won and was reunited with her son.

When Bessie Coleman was denied entrance into American Flying schools, which country did she move to get her aviator’s license? Not only did she have to learn a new language, but she moved to France and in just seven months graduated and became the first Black woman to fly an airplane.

Do you know the nickname of Mary Fields, best known as the first African American to work for the US Postal Service? Born a slave, at age 63, Stagecoach Mary was hired as a mail carrier because she was the fastest applicant to hitch a team of six horses.

And who is Madam CJ Walker? Madam Walker was the first self-made Black female millionaire in the United States. She made her fortune by creating a hair care line for Black women.

Another woman to remember…fighting Shirley Chisholm. She was the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1969. She served seven terms. She was also the first woman and first African American to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 1972.

Contributors to this news report include: Adahlia Thomas and Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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