Black history lessons in classrooms shouldn’t be limited to the names of men and only a few women. Especially when there are countless women who’ve made enormous strides for the black community, too.
The revolutionary words Angela Davis spoke, the record-breaking feats of Wilma Rudolph and the glass ceiling-shattering efforts of Shirley Chisolm paved the way for black women and girls across the country to dream big and act courageously.
Here are 28 phenomenal women everyone should acquaint themselves with this black history month.
Fannie Lou Hamer (October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was an American voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist.
Hamer is best known for championing black voting rights, especially in her home state of Mississippi, one of many hotbeds for racially motivated voter suppression. She worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to drive black voter registration, despite encountering violence and threats from white supremacists who often worked to intimidate or violently attack blacks attempting to vote.
Hamer brought the issue to the national spotlight during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, pointedly calling out Mississippi’s all-white delegation. Hamer’s eventual, televised testimony of the struggle was so powerful that President Lyndon Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get it off the air.
Ampleforth/Lay Me Low by The Albion Band (this was written in the ‘70s, but The Albion Band, and this album in particular, is made up of a bunch of old Fairport Convention members with vocals from people like Martin Carthy and Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span, and you really don’t get more Traditional English Folk than that)