It’s almost the end of February. Some call it the month of love, but I know it as Black History Month. This is definitely a topic near and dear to my heart, not only because I’m a black woman, but also because I am continually learning about the incredible things that black people have done to contribute to this society.
That being said, I want to bring some of those *incredible stories to you. Yeah, it’s a little different to what I would normally post as a lifestyle blogger, but I truly feel like too few know about the accomplishments of black women and the impact they have had on the world around us. So, with that, let’s get started!
Before there was Pantene, there was Madam C.J. Walker. Madam Walker was probably the first black woman I heard about that showed me what #BlackGirlMagic was all about. Born in Louisiana as Sarah Breedlove, she developed a scalp condition that made her hair fall out. Like the absolute boss she was, she took that struggle with her hair and created her own hair care products.
It was her husband Charles that encouraged her to pick a recognizable brand name, and thus she was known as Madam C.J. Walker from then on. Her “Walker Method” took the U.S. by storm and created not only the first African American millionaire, but the first American female self-made millionaire.
Though she traveled around the nation giving demonstrations and lectures, she never forgot about her community. She was incredibly philanthropic, giving to charities and giving the largest donation by an African America toward the construction of the Indianapolis YMCA. Her legacy lives on as she inspires countless other women to think outside the box and turn their weaknesses into strengths.
I know some of you have definitely heard of Shirley Chisholm, but she is too important a figure not to make known in the mainstream. Eldest daughter to immigrant parents, she earned her Master’s degree from Columbia University in early childhood education.
She put her desire to change the conditions of the oppressed to use and ran and became the second African American in New York Legislation. Her victory didn’t stop her from moving up the ladder and in 1968 she became the first African American woman in Congress.
“Fighting Shirley” couldn’t be stopped. Not only did she introduce over 50 pieces of legislation, co-found the National Women’s Political Caucus, and became the first black and second woman to serve on the House Rules Committee, but she was the first African American to seek presidential nomination from one of the two major political parties.
Though she never won, she demonstrated her power, perseverance, and passion for the oppressed saying she wanted to be remember as “a catalyst of change.”
It’s so easy to give a quick nod to black people in February and continue on with our lives. The sacrifices made and hardships endured by these women are the reason that we have hair products like Miss Jessie’s or that we now have more women in congress than ever before or that we’ve had a black president! The product of the strength of black women are all around us; We just have to look.
Who is your favorite black queen? Why does she inspire you? Let me know!