black history literature

Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange was an American playwright and poet best known for the Obie Award-winning play for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. She was a self-proclaimed black feminist, and her work frequently addressed race and feminism. Shange was born Paulette L. Williams in 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey, where …

black history

Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke is a civil rights activist who was the original founder of the “Me Too” movement, which she started in 2006. It later became a global phenomenon that raised awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in society in 2017. Burke became involved in civil rights activism while at University, where she organised press conferences …

black history politics

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott was the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament in 1987. She has since built a distinguished career as a Labour MP, broadcaster and commentator. Abbott was born in London in 1953. She attended the grammar school Harrow County and then went on to Newnham College Cambridge where she obtained a …

activists black history Civil Rights LGBTQIA+ literature

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry was an American playwright, civil rights activist and writer. Her groundbreaking play, A Raisin In The Sun was the first to be performed on Broadway written by a black woman and performed by a black cast. Hansberry was born in 1930 in Chicago, Illinois to politically active parents. Eight years later, after her …

activists LGBTQIA+

Mabel Hampton

Mabel Hampton was an African-American lesbian activist, a dancer during the Harlem Renaissance, a founding member of the Lesbian Herstory Archive and a philanthropist for both black and LGBT organisations. Hampton was born in 1902 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was brought up by her grandmother following the death of her mother at the age …

black history Civil Rights LGBTQIA+

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis was an African-American LGBT civil rights activist who became the oldest known American lesbian when reaching the age of 101. Ellis was born in 1899 in Springfield, Illinois. Her parents had been born in the last years of slavery, and her father would become the first African-American mail carrier in Illinois. Ellis and …

black history LGBTQIA+

Gladys Bentley

Gladys Bentley was an American blues singer, pianist, entertainer and lesbian icon during the Harlem Renaissance. She became one of the best known and financially successful black women in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s for the pioneering way she dealt with gender, sexuality, class and race in her act. Bentley was born in …

black history business

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone was an American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. She was the first female African-American millionaire, and made her fortune founding and developing a cosmetics business to provide products for, and educate and enable African-American women to become financially independent. Malone was born in 1869 in Metropolis, Illinois. She briefly attended public school in …