A leader of the Stonewall Riots. According to several eyewitnesses, Marsha was the one who “really started it”. She was “in the middle of the whole thing, screaming and yelling and throwing rocks and almost like Molly Pitcher in the Revolution or something”
Dedicated her life to activism:
Co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries)
Ensured that the young drag queens, trans women and other street kids on Christopher Street were fed and clothed. Marsha also housed them whenever she could.
In the 1980s, she was an activist and organizer in ACT UP.
Also a leader in the Stonewall Riots - has been identified as the “butch lesbian that threw the first punch” against the police officers.
Several eye-witnesses recollections also recognize her as the cross-dressing lesbian that yelled “why don’t you guys do something” at the bystanders that evoked the reaction from them that helped make Stonewall a defining moment in history.
Unofficially worked at gay bars who otherwise couldn’t afford security.
Was a leading strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement between 1955-1968:
The formidable behind the scenes figure of the civil rights movement who organized the March on Washington
Through his influence, the civil rights leadership adopted a non-violent stance.
Is and was often overlooked in African-American history because of the public’s discomfort with his sexual orientation.
Supported LGBTQ rights and movements.
Was posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Another leader in the Stonewall Riots.
Has been involved in community efforts since 1978. She has worked at local food banks, provide services for trans women suffering from addiction or homelessness. During the AIDS epidemic she also provided healthcare and funeral services.
Is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, working to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under a prison-industrial complex.
At the young age of 22, Alvin AIley became Artistic Directer for the Horton Dance Company where he choreographed as well as directed scenes and costume designs.
Formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 but continued to choreograph for other companies.
Ailey’s signature works prominently reflects his Black pride.
Is credited for popularizing modern dance.
Was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Can we talk about American Gods? We really have a dark-skin black woman playing a Biblical Queen and a Love Goddess. We have Black People portraying Egyptian Gods. The lead of the show is black. They have West African Gods being portrayed on mainstream media. Seeing black people’s mythology and history represented on screen by black actors is a big thing. People aren’t even aware of nor regard the several figures in Abrahamic religions being African. .
Dr. Hadiya Nicole Green AKA The Pioneer in the fight against cancer
Beautiful: Jackie Aina (She’s also artistic, intelligent, funny)
Hilarious: Leslie Jones
Poetic: Maya Angelou
Fearless: Assata Shakur & Angela Davis
Lezley McSpadden, Gwen Carr,
and Sybrina Fulton aka Mothers of The Movement
Fighters: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi aka founders of #BlackLivesMatter
Visionaries: Ava Duvernay (Director)
Shonda Rhimes (producer, screenwriter)
Determined: Ilhan Omar (Politician)
Serena and Venus (and someone asking them a dumb question)
Some Bonus Awesomeness:
Kerry Washington, Taraji P Henson, and Mary J Blige
Despite being one of the most disrespected demographics, black women remain to be an integral part of America’s (and also global) history, present, and future. Validate, and humanize them. And take note of all the badassery and awesomeness.
This Day in History: Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United Sates. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
This is the Bop. The Bop is a type of social dance. Dance is a language, and social dance is an expression that emerges from a community. A social dance isn’t choreographed by any one person. It can’t be traced to any one moment. Each dance has steps that everyone can agree on, but it’s about the individual and their creative identity Because of that, social dances bubble up, they change, and they spread like wildfire. They are as old as our remembered history.
In African-American social dances, we see over 200 years of how African and African-American traditions influenced our history. The present always contains the past. And the past shapes who we are and who we will be.
Now, social dance is about community and connection; if you knew the steps, it meant you belonged to a group. But what if it becomes a worldwide craze? Enter the Twist.
It’s no surprise that the Twist can be traced back to the 19th century, brought to America from the Congo during slavery. But in the late ‘50s, right before the Civil Rights Movement, the Twist is popularized by Chubby Checker and Dick Clark. Suddenly, everybody’s doing the Twist: white teenagers, kids in Latin America, making its way into songs and movies. Through social dance, the boundaries between groups become blurred.
The story continues in the 1980s and '90s. Along with the emergence of hip-hop, African-American social dance took on even more visibility, borrowing from its long past, shaping culture and being shaped by it. Today, these dances continue to evolve, grow and spread.
Why do we dance? To move, to let loose, to express.
Why do we dance together? To heal, to remember, to say: “We speak a common language. We exist and we are free.”