Updated: Feb 13, 2019
There are many black women who have made significant contributions as well, but their stories are often not taught in schools.
When you think about important figures in black history, names like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass likely come to mind. But there's no denying that black women have played a powerful and important role in history, though you may not hear their stories as often. Black women have been breaking down barriers and shattering stereotypes in the fields of education, sports, politics, and more for generations.
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to hold a pilot's license.
Wilma Rudolph ran off with three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics.
Shirley Chisholm made political history as the first black woman elected to the US Congress.
Mary McLeod Bethune was a trailblazer for African-American people in education by opening her own school.
Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American author to publish a book of poetry.
Janet Collins became the first African-American artist to perform full-time at the Met.