Overwhelmingly, we have a tendency to focus on the important roles that Black men have performed and ignore Black women. I do not believe it is intentional; it is more of an oversight. This week’s column will focus on Black women.
There is absolutely no way I could write or speak about the unbelievable accomplishments of Black women without beginning with our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters and those women throughout the neighborhoods who were surrogates.
Ida B. Wells, the most famous Black female journalist, was correspondent for the Memphis Watchman, Detroit Plain Dealer, Indianapolis World, and Little Rock Sun.
Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a union spy, was a superb intelligence agent who possessed the unbelievable ability to memorize conversations and dispatches of what she read. The confederacy knew that someone had infiltrated their lines but she was never caught and died a natural death.
Mary Ann Shadd Cary, first Black newspaperwoman in North America. She published Canada’s first anti-slavery newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. She was the second Black woman to earn a law degree in United States.
Bessie Coleman received her air pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique International in France, thereby becoming the first Black woman pilot.
Dr. Susan McKinney Steward is reputed to be the first Black woman to formally enter the medical profession and to gain recognizable success.
Ella Phillips Stewart graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy School in 1916 and became the first Black female to pass the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy Exam.
Maggie Lena Walker was the first female bank president. She organized and founded the St. Luke Bank and Trust Company of Richmond, Va.
Yes this week’s column is just a brief history of historic Black Women.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)
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