1) Going Where No Man Has Gone...
- Then: It takes a lot to be an astronaut. The tests are rigorous, and if you are even somewhat of a basket case they won't let you fly. I love this sentence from Wikipedia: "Mae Carol Jemison is an American physician and NASA astronaut." She also just happened to be Black and a woman. Oh, and she's also been on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
- Now: Empowering girls to believe they can do the impossible is exactly what the world needs. Fortunately, Kimberly Bryant has been doing exactly that with her organization Black Girls Code. Teaching young women that they have a place in science and technology has taken the form of workshops, camps, and conferences across the nation. Love.
Founder of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant
2) Building It Up in Business...
- Then: Of course I'm going to talk about entrepreneurs. The local businessperson is Part 6, Section 8 of what it means to be an American. No, there is no real manual on how to be an American, but Maggie L. Walker certainly deserves her chapter in the history books. Chartering the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, VA in 1902 made her the first female bank president in America.
- Now: Mellody Hobson is not just the Mrs. to George Lucas. How do you think you snag a billionaire fantasy world maker in the first place? The woman has smarts- like finance and investing smarts. Hobson plays with the big boys and also speaks out against structural racism. Yeah, I'm a fan. Get Money Salute!
3) In Writers' Pages We Trust...
- Then: There is this weird thing about women writing, we're awesome at it and men hate it. Every woman who has ever tried to write about her life, the lives of her friends, or even a scholarly stroke of genius have had to defend it like a small child. Zora Neal Hurston being among one of the most amazing writers of the 20th century died with little recognition for her work. However, her resurgence in the 70s was no accident. The lady was everything.
- Now: Michelle Alexander is the author of the award-winning book, The New Jim Crow and has shaken up bookshelves everywhere.
4) Don't Stop the Music...
- Then: Lena Horne was a talented singer, dancer, and actress who hung out with Harry Belefonte. I mean, just go watch this because these sentences will quickly become babble.
- Now: While it is easy to go by record sales and Twitter followers as setting the bar for "Most Influential" people, I can't. When you can be successful without compromising your values, it's remarkable. Even Cover Girl couldn't deny it. Yes, I'm talking about Janelle Monáe, and she is about the only artist right now I would empty my bank account to go see. Electric Lady Salute!
5) We Shall Overcome...
|Florynce Kennedy |
Photo Credit: Richard Avedon
- Then: Florynce Kennedy is an unsung hero. She does not appear in many history books, but not only did the woman have style, she could lead. Kennedy graduated from Columbia law school in 1951 and went on to found the Feminist Party, which nominated Shirley Chishlom for President.
- Now: Aja Brown is currently the mayor of Compton, CA. She is the youngest mayor to ever serve the city, but has already made big changes. Political Maverick Salute!
There you go. I highlighted some women that I love and have loved learning about over the years, but this is no where close to being THE LIST. I could make a list post every day for three years and it wouldn't come close. Just venturing outside the U.S. would have me up for a lifetime. Eva Perón anyone? So go check out this list, and this one, and this one too just in case you thought
your va-jay-jay made you weak.