BHM: Five Black female heroes

Ketan Narotam, Police Reporter

Every Black History Month, we celebrate the achievements of many African-Americans that include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and W.E.B. DuBois. No one can deny the contributions these Black men made towards the fight for civil rights and equality for all men and women. But what about Black women? Here are five unsung Black female heroes that not only fought just as hard for civil rights for all Americans but broke down barriers in their respective fields for both women and African-Americans.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler:

Photo of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler. Photo courtesy of Pioneer Institute.

Dr. Rebecca Crumpler was known for being the first Black woman to become a medical doctor in 1864. While practicing medicine, Crumpler experienced intense racism and sexism. However, that didn’t stop her from working hard for her patients. Crumpler continued to practice medicine and became one of the first female physician authors of the 19th century when she published “A Book of Medical Discourses” in 1883. She also worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which provided medical care for freed slaves. 

Jane Brolin:

Photo of Jane Brolin. Photo courtesy of

Jane Bolin was known for being the first Black woman to serve as a judge in the United States in 1939. In 1931, Bolin became the first Black woman to graduate and earn a law degree from Yale Law School. She was also the first one of three women to graduate from Yale Law School that year.

Amelia Boynton Robinson:

Photo of Amelia Boynton Robinson. Photo courtesy of

Amelia Robinson was known for being a trailblazer in the fight for civil rights in the 1960s. She was best known for her work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama, and planning and leading the Selma march in 1964. Robinson was also instrumental in helping pass the Voting Rights Act of 1963 and became the first Black woman to run for Congress in 1964.

Wangari Maathai:

Photo of Wangari Maathai. Photo courtesy of

Wangari Maathai was known for her environmental work in Kenya. In 1977, Maathai started one of the largest tree-planting campaigns in Africa. She would later become the first Black woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for planting over 51 million trees in Kenya. Maathai was also the first woman to earn a doctorate in East and Central Africa. 

Alice Allison Dunnigan:

Photo of Alice Allison Dunnigan at the U.S. Capitol. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Alice Dunnigan was known as the first Black female White House correspondent for the Truman presidency in 1948. Dunnigan was the first Black female journalist to cover a presidential campaign. During this time, she also became one of the first Black female reporters to become a member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries.

Each of these amazing women worked tirelessly to achieve equality for both men and women in America. Their hard work and dedication made it possible to ‘break the glass ceiling’ and achieve greatness in their respective fields. As we celebrate Black History Month, we must not only remember these wonder women for their achievements but for their eagerness to fight for all Americans.  


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