Considered to be one of the first African American women to become a millionaire, Annie Minerva Turnbo was born in Metropolis, Illinois on August 9, 1869 to Robert and Isabella Turnbo. Turnbo took an interest in hair styling, in particular, developing a better way to straighten African American hair without damaging it. By 1920, Turnbo's hair care empire employed 300 people locally and 75,000 agents nationally.
Born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3 ,1906 in St. Louis, MO, Josephine Baker was a world renowned performer, World War II spy, and civil rights advocate who took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with 250,000 other civil rights supporters. In 1922, she joined the cast of Shuffle Along, which became the first successful African American musical, running for more than 500 performances.
Elizabeth Freeman: First Enslaved African American Freed Under the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780
It’s believed that Elizabeth Freeman, Mumbet, was born between 1742-1744, to enslaved African parents in Claverack, New York. Ruled in their favor, Mumbet and Brom became the first enslaved African Americans to be freed under the Massachusetts constitution of 1780 in Brom & Bett v. Ashley which was argued before a county court in August 1871.
Carter G. Woodson, one of the first African-Americans to graduate from Harvard University with a doctorate degree, is credited with establishing Black History Week (then called “Negro History Week”) in 1926, designed to highlight and celebrate the Black experience. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National Black History Month. In this post, you discover seven influential women of African descent who have left their mark in shaping Black history.
Frances Ellen Watkins was an African American lecturer, poet, abolitionist, suffragist, and reformer born September 24, 1825 in Baltimore, Maryland. She emphasized that Black women were facing the double burden of racism and sexism at the same time, therefore the fight for women’s suffrage must include suffrage for African Americans.