Notable black women, or things they have achieved


For many years prior to today, African American women have seen barriers from the American government, including the right to properly vote, work or live as they please. Despite this, many African American women achieved amazing things and paved the way for those to come.


1832- Founded by African American women for African American women, the Female Anti-Slavery Society was founded in Salem, Massachusetts. They aided escaped slaves, raised money for abolitionist and supported schools for African Americans.


1853- Harriet Tubman began her work with the Underground Railroad, in which she rescued and ushered many slaves to freedom.


1862- Mary Jane Patterson graduated from Oberlin College as the first African American woman to graduate from an American college.


1885- Sarah Goode is the first Black woman to be awarded a patent for her invention of a folding cabinet bed.


1923- Bessie Smith sold two million records of her first record “Down-Hearted Blues”. She is a significant and well known figure to blues music and paved the way for female African American singers by gaining the popularity and success she worked for.


1940- Hattie McDaniel becomes the first black woman to win an Oscar award for her role in “Gone With the Wind”.


1955- Rosa Parks takes a stand against segregation by denying a man who told her to go to the back of the bus. She is now an iconic figure to the Civil Rights Movement.


1958- Ella Fitzgerald is not only the first African American woman, but the first African American ever to win a Grammy.


1950-1960s- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson provide significant aid in the project to launch John Glenn, one of the firsts astronauts NASA selected, into orbit. He would become to first person to orbit Earth. This unknown event has been made into the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures”.


1960- Ruby Bridges was the first black child to attend an all-White school in the south. This caused major controversy at the time, but served as a critical event in history that pushed for integration in public schools.


1976- Oprah Winfrey hosts the television chat show “People Are Talking”, which would become a hit TV show that launched her career.


1987- Whitney Houston released her second album, which became the first album by a female artist debut on the Billboard top 200 chart. According to the Guinness World Records, as of 2009, she is the most awarded female artist of all time.


1990- Martha Wash tops the charts with her number one hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”. She achieved this after being told she was “unmarketable” because of her weight.


2003- Beyonce released her first solo, breakthrough album, “Dangerously in Love,” which gained her five Grammy awards and multiple number one singles on Billboard Hot 100. She is now an iconic, global superstar who advocates for the Black, female community.
2015- Viola Davis is the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for her role in the drama, “How To Get Away With Murder”.