Black women who have made a difference - Part 1

author/source: Renée Greene

Madame-C-J-Walker-black-history-monthMadam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political activist. And way before Beyoncé and Oprah, she became one of the wealthiest African American women in the US. One of the most successful African American business owners ever. This was in the late nineteenth century. Imagine the adversity set upon her, and yet somehow developing and marketing a line of beauty and hair product for black women, she made her mark and her fortune. Then she gave back through her philanthropy and activism. A brilliant and tenacious businesswoman, Walker began by selling door-to-door. 


Mary-mcleod-bethune-black-history-monthMary McLeod Bethune

Struggling to balance school with working on a plantation to help support her family, Mary McLeod Bethune became an educator. She founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute for girls in 1904. If that wasn’t enough, Bethune's successful stewardship and fundraising for the school eventually lead to a 1932 merger with the Cookman Institute to form today’s Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college.

Bethune's educational leadership and advocacy efforts also positioned her as a civic-leader and political activist. She earned a number of presidential appointments. Bethune was the first African-American woman to be involved in the White House and served as the informal 'race leader at large'" under Franklin D. Roosevelt. A former plantation owner, and yet she to achieved all this, and so much more.

Sojourner-truth-black-history-monthSojourner Truth

A true woman’s activist, Sojourner Truth escaped from slavery in her late 20s with an infant son. Truth was forced to leave her other children behind, one of them was sold to another slave master in Alabama. She never backed down, and took the matter to court, won the case and got her son back. She was the first black women to take a white man to court and win. Most known for her speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” Truth spent the rest of her free life speaking at anti-slavery and women’s suffrage conferences. As one of black America’s first-leading women who spoke against slavery long before the system ended, she was a true woman’s activist indeed.