Black History Month is coming to a close & in this post I’ve compiled a list of all of the amazing women I’ve illustrated for Black History Month, along with a summary of their accomplishments and a link to the original post. This has been the most successful month to date for Illustrated Women in History and I just want to thank all of my followers for sharing this celebration of women with me.
Octavia E. Butler was a world renowned African-American science fiction novelist and the first African-American woman to gain popularity and critical acclaim as a major science fiction writer. Her novels include Patternmaster, Kindred, Dawn and Parable of the Sower.
Zadie Smith is a British novelist, essayist, and short story writer best known for her novel, White Teeth.
Viola Desmond was a Black Nova Scotian businesswoman who challenged racial segregation at a film theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946. Her actions sparked the modern civil rights movement in Canada.
Eartha Kitt was an American actress, singer, cabaret star, dancer, stand-up comedian, activist and voice artist. She had a distinctive singing style and is best known for her Christmas song “Santa Baby” and for playing Catwoman in the television series Batman.
Bridget “Biddy” Mason was an African-American nurse, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist. She was able to support her extended family for generations due to her financial success.
Miriam Makeba was a South African singer and civil rights activist also known as “Mama Africa” and the “Empress of African Song”. She introduced Xhosa and Zulu songs to Western audiences, becoming one of the world’s most prominent black African performers in the 20th century. She is best known for the songs “Pata Pata,” “The Click Song” and “Malaika.”
Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, an organisation fighting to conserve the environment and campaign for women’s rights. She was the first African women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights, and women’s rights in particular”.
Georgia Douglas Johnson was an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and the first modern African-American female poet and playwright to gain widespread recognition.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa as well as the world’s first elected black female president. In 2011 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Ella Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist who worked with the NAACP and co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Gwendolyn Brooks was an American poet and teacher. She was the first black author to win a Pulitzer prize, the first black woman to become poetry consultant to the Library of Congress and the Poet Laureate of Illinois from 1968 until her death.
Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist. She was instrumental in organising Mississippi’s Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Dorothy Height was an American civil rights and women’s rights activist who served as president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) for four decades. She is known as the “godmother of the civil rights movement.”
Ntozake Shange is 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 is a self-proclaimed black feminist, and her work frequently addresses race and feminism.
Ethel L. Payne was an African-American journalist, publisher, civil rights leader, and educator known as the “First Lady of the Black Press”.
Alice Walker is an American novelist, story story writer, poet and civil rights activist. She is best known for her critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Margaret Ekpo was a Nigerian women’s rights activist, social mobiliser and a pioneering female politician in Nigeria’s First Republic.
Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first black professional nurse in the U.S. She co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), which worked to eliminate racial discrimination within the registered nursing profession.
Daisy Bates was an American journalist and civil rights activist who is best known for playing a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.