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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Claudia L. Thomas

Claudia L. Thomas, the first African-American female orthopedic surgeon in the United States, was born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Inspired by her childhood pediatrician, Claudia pursued a career in medicine and overcame discrimination and hardships to achieve groundbreaking success. She has also been an advocate for increasing minority representation in medical school and combatting racial bias in healthcare.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Myra Adele Logan

Myra Adele Logan (1908-1977) was an extraordinary pioneer in the medical field, breaking barriers as the first African American female physician. She performed the first successful open-heart surgery by an African American woman and made significant contributions to children’s heart surgery and the development of antibiotic Aureomycin. Despite the challenges of the pre-Civil Rights era, Logan’s legacy continues to inspire and she actively fought for equality and justice through her involvement in various organizations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Dorothy Lavinia Brown

Dorothy Lavinia Brown, also known as “Dr. D.”, was an African-American surgeon, legislator, and teacher. She broke many barriers as the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry from the Southeastern United States.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Alice Ball

Alice Augusta Ball was an American chemist who developed the “Ball Method,” the most effective treatment for leprosy at that time. Despite her remarkable achievements, her contributions to science were not recognized until many years after her untimely death at the age of 24. Her groundbreaking research and the “Ball Method” gained widespread recognition in the 1970s, establishing her as a true icon in the history of scientific breakthroughs and women’s empowerment.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Elayne Arrington

Elayne Arrington, an American mathematician and engineer, overcame numerous obstacles throughout her career to become a trailblazer for women, particularly African American women, in the fields of mathematics and engineering. Her exceptional aptitude in mathematics led her to become the second-highest scorer on the SAT in her class, despite facing discrimination in her academic journey. Despite these challenges, Arrington’s determination to succeed propelled her to become the first African American woman to graduate from the School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Her accomplishments have shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future generations of women and minorities in STEM fields.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Vivienne Malone-Mayes

Vivienne Lucille Malone-Mayes, an accomplished American mathematician and professor, overcame significant obstacles to make groundbreaking contributions to the field of mathematics. Despite facing racial segregation and discrimination, she became the fifth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in the United States. Her determination and resilience continue to inspire future generations in the pursuit of education and knowledge.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Nicole M. Joseph

Nicole M. Joseph is an American mathematician and scholar of mathematics education. Her research focuses on the experiences of African-American girls and women in mathematics, the effects of white supremacist reactions to their work in mathematics, and the intersectional nature of educational inequity. She has authored and edited several books and was awarded the Louise Hay Award for her contributions to mathematics education.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Eleanor Jones

Eleanor Green Dawley Jones (1929-2021) was an American mathematician and a prominent figure in the field of mathematics. She was one of the first African-American women to achieve a Ph.D. in mathematics, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. Jones dedicated her life to promoting education, advocating for civil rights, and inspiring others to pursue careers in science and mathematics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Louise Stokes Hunter

Ella Louise Stokes Hunter, a renowned American mathematics educator, dedicated her life to teaching and mentoring students. With a passion for mathematics and education, she became the first African-American woman to earn a degree from Harvard University. Her groundbreaking achievements and unwavering commitment to the field of education continue to inspire and shape the field of mathematics education today.

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United StatesActivistActor

Geraldine Lawhorn

Geraldine Jerrie Lawhorn, a prominent figure in the American deafblind community, was a multi-talented performer, pianist, actress, and instructor. She made history as the first deafblind African American to earn a college degree in the United States. Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, she dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and inclusivity of individuals with disabilities, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Geraldine’s accomplishments continue to inspire and empower deafblind individuals worldwide.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a trans woman author, activist, and community organizer, has played a significant role in activism and community organizing for transgender rights. She has made substantial contributions to oral history collections and published her memoir, Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary. Her resilience, courage, and commitment to justice have solidified her place as a pioneering figure in the transgender rights movement and women’s history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Carlotta Walls LaNier

Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, broke racial barriers as one of the first African-American students to attend Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Despite facing intense opposition and a bomb attack on her home, LaNier’s determination paved the way for future generations of African-Americans to access quality education. Her remarkable journey and advocacy for equal opportunities continue to inspire social progress.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLGBTQIA

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde, born Audrey Geraldine Lorde on February 18, 1934, was a prolific American writer, poet, and civil rights activist. She was an influential figure in the feminist and civil rights movements of the 20th century, dedicating her life and creative talent to confronting social injustices. Lorde described herself as a “black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, mother, warrior, poet,” and her work profoundly explored and addressed issues of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

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United StatesActivistActor

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee (1922-2014) was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights activist. She gained national recognition for her role in the film “The Jackie Robinson Story” and went on to have a successful career in film and theater. Dee was also actively involved in television and used her platform to advocate for racial equality and social justice. Her outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry and dedication to activism have left a lasting legacy.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Christia Adair

Christia V. Daniels Adair was an African-American suffragist and civil rights worker who played a significant role in advocating for women’s suffrage and fighting against racial discrimination in early 20th century Texas. Her dedication to both causes made her a prominent figure in Texas history.

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FranceTogoAfrican American

Clarisse Agbegnenou

Clarisse Agbegnenou, a French judoka born in 1992 in Rennes, France, has made a name for herself in the world of judo. Known for her exceptional skills and determination, Agbegnenou has achieved great success throughout her career, winning numerous titles and medals. Her passion and talent for judo were evident at a young age, setting the foundation for her remarkable achievements.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGovernment

Millie Bailey

Millie Bailey, born Vivian Mildred Corbett on February 3, 1918, in Washington, D.C., was an outstanding figure in American history… She will forever be remembered as a trailblazer, a champion for equality, and an inspiration to generations to come.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Nancy Gooch

Nancy Gooch was an early African-American settler in California and one of the state’s most successful 19th-century black female landowners. She overcame the adversity of slavery and worked tirelessly to bring her son to California while accumulating land and wealth. Her story is a testament to the strength and determination of African-American women during a time of social change.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Kitty Foster

Catherine “Kitty” Foster (c. 1790–1863) was a freed African American woman who defied societal expectations and became a landowner at a time of immense discrimination. She owned property near the University of Virginia from 1833 until her death in 1863, leaving a lasting legacy. Foster’s story of resilience and determination challenges the prevailing narrative of her time and highlights the impact of individuals like her on women’s history and the struggle for equality.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen, also known as Mother Allen, was an American abolitionist and missionary for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Born into slavery, she found freedom in Philadelphia and married Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church. Sarah played a crucial role in establishing the church and supporting its growth. She also actively participated in the Underground Railroad, providing shelter and assistance to runaway slaves. Sarah’s dedication to the AME Church and the fight against slavery left behind a legacy of resilience, faith, and activism.

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FranceUnited StatesAfrican American

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre is an influential American political advisor and the first black person and openly LGBT individual to serve as the White House press secretary. Born in 1974 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, she has made history with her groundbreaking achievements. With her impressive career in politics and media, Karine Jean-Pierre has become a prominent figure in American society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJudge

Deborah Batts

Deborah Batts, the first openly LGBT, African-American federal judge in the United States, made history and left a lasting legacy. Born in Philadelphia, Batts had a strong sense of social justice and a passion for making a difference. Throughout her career, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney, faculty member at Fordham University School of Law, and a federal judge in the Southern District of New York. Batts’ contributions shattered glass ceilings and inspired future generations of diverse legal professionals.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson, born Malcolm Michaels Jr., was a pivotal figure in the Stonewall uprising and an influential American gay liberation activist. She co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) and was an AIDS activist with ACT UP. Johnson’s legacy as a fearless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights lives on, inspiring others to fight for equality and justice.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Aurelia Browder

Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman was an African-American civil rights activist born on January 29, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama. Throughout her life, Browder played a crucial role in the fight for racial equality, leaving an indelible mark on history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Cori Bush

Cori Anika Bush, a nurse, pastor, and Black Lives Matter activist, was born on July 21, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri. She has made a significant impact on her community and the nation as a whole, serving as a U.S. representative for Missouri’s 1st congressional district. Bush’s journey towards political leadership began with her early education and was influenced by her politically active family. She has become a powerful force for change and representation, advocating for social justice and equality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLGBTQIA

Monica Roberts

Monica Katrice Roberts, a pioneering African-American transgender rights advocate, dedicated her life to fighting for equality and justice. Through her writing and activism, she shed light on the experiences of Black trans individuals, challenged societal norms, and raised awareness of the violence and discrimination faced by transgender people. With her powerful voice and unwavering dedication, Roberts has made an indelible mark on women’s history and continues to inspire future generations of activists.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, an American diplomat and political scientist, grew up during a time of racial segregation in the South but overcame challenges to excel academically. She held high-profile positions in the United States government, including serving as Secretary of State. Rice’s groundbreaking achievements have made a significant impact on women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Ida Stephens Owens

Ida Stephens Owens, a trailblazing American scientist, overcame adversity to become one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Duke University. Her groundbreaking research on drug-detoxifying enzymes at the National Institutes of Health has left an indelible mark on the field of biomedical research. Owens’ unwavering commitment and contributions continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks, born Loretta Pleasant in 1920, had a profound impact on medical research. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Lacks is best known as the unwitting donor of the HeLa cell line, which revolutionized science and medicine. Her enduring legacy serves as a testament to the important role that individuals, like Lacks, can play in shaping the future of medicine.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sandra Lawson

Sandra Lawson, the first openly gay, female, and black rabbi in the world, has broken barriers and made significant contributions to the Jewish community and society as a whole. Throughout her life, Lawson’s passion for diversity and social justice has driven her to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and racial equality. Her unique intersectional identity and unwavering commitment to inclusivity have inspired and challenged traditional notions of what a rabbi can be.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Gayle King

Gayle King (born December 28, 1954) is an American television personality, author, and broadcast journalist for CBS News. She is best known for co-hosting its flagship morning program, CBS Mornings, and before that its predecessor CBS This Morning. In addition, she serves as an editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine. King has made a significant impact on the media landscape and has been recognized as one of the most influential personalities in recent years.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King, born in 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama, was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader. She played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement and continued her advocacy for equality even after her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. Her tireless dedication to the cause earned her the title “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.”

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGovernment

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins is the first Black openly transgender woman elected to public office in the United States. Serving on the Minneapolis City Council since 2018 and as council president since 2022, she is a prominent figure in local governance. Jenkins has had an eventful journey from her childhood in a low-income community to becoming a trailblazing political figure and advocate for transgender rights. Her accomplishments have made a lasting impact on society, particularly for Black transgender women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Andrea Hayes-Jordan

Andrea A. Hayes-Jordan Dixon is an American surgeon known for her groundbreaking work in pediatric surgery. She has saved countless lives by performing high-risk procedures and developing innovative treatments for pediatric cancer. Despite facing numerous challenges in her career, Hayes-Jordan has become a trailblazer and role model in the field, inspiring future generations of surgeons and challenging societal norms.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah is a renowned American essayist known for her captivating longform journalism. In 2018, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her compelling profile on white supremacist Dylann Roof. Ghansah’s ability to deeply analyze and understand her subjects has earned her widespread recognition and praise. She has also made significant contributions to academia through her teaching positions at top universities. Her multicultural upbringing and heritage have shaped her perspectives, making her an inspiration to aspiring female writers, particularly those from minority backgrounds. With her upcoming book and prestigious awards, Ghansah’s influence continues to grow in the literary world.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Henrietta Duterte

Henrietta Duterte (1817 – December 23, 1903) was an African-American funeral home owner, philanthropist, and abolitionist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the first American woman to own a mortuary, and her business operated as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Known for her fashionable attire, Duterte played a significant role in aiding runaway slaves, using her funeral parlor as a safe haven. She was also a devoted philanthropist, making generous contributions to various organizations in her community.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPoet

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley Peters, an American author, was the first African-American author to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa and sold into enslavement at a young age, she was encouraged to pursue her talent for poetry by the Wheatley family of Boston. Her work gained fame in both England and the American colonies, with prominent figures like George Washington praising her poetry. Despite facing personal challenges, Wheatley’s legacy as a pioneering African-American author continues to inspire and pave the way for future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDisabled

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry

Alice of Dunk’s Ferry, an African-American slave, toll collector, and centenarian, was known as “one of Black America’s early oral historians.” Despite being enslaved, Alice was respected for her sharp memory and her ability to vividly recall people, places, and events. Her recollections provided valuable insights into the development of Philadelphia. Throughout her long life, Alice had notable interactions with prominent figures and became an esteemed local historian, earning the nickname “Alice of Dunk’s Ferry”.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Ionia Rollin Whipper

Ionia Rollin Whipper, an American obstetrician and public health outreach worker, dedicated her life to improving the health and well-being of marginalized communities, especially African-American women and their children. Overcoming significant barriers as one of the few African-American women physicians of her generation, she made lasting impacts on society and paved the way for future generations of African-American women in medicine.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Zipporah Potter Atkins

Zipporah Potter Atkins, a free African American woman, defied societal norms by owning land in colonial Boston. Her purchase of a home in 1670 made her the first African American to own land in the city. Despite facing limited rights and opportunities, Zipporah persevered and even learned to read, leaving her mark on history as a trailblazer for African American empowerment and women’s rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanData Scientist

Valerie Thomas

Valerie L. Thomas is an American data scientist and inventor, known for her groundbreaking work in image processing and the invention of the illusion transmitter. She excelled in mathematics and science, graduating with a degree in physics with highest honors. Thomas played a crucial role in developing computer data systems for satellite operations and oversaw the creation of the Landsat program. She invented the illusion transmitter, which has become an indispensable tool for NASA and has found applications in various fields. Thomas’s achievements and pioneering spirit continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronaut

Yvonne Cagle

Yvonne Darlene Cagle (born April 24, 1959) is an American physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and NASA Astronaut. Cagle joined NASA as an astronaut in 1996. She is one of six African American female astronauts.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanReligious Leader

Delores S. Williams

Delores Seneva Williams, a pioneering American Presbyterian theologian, made a significant contribution to the development of womanist theology. Her influential book, “Sisters in the Wilderness,” examined the experiences of black women and their theological perspectives. Williams emphasized the importance of womanist thought rooted in the experiences of African-American women, challenging prevailing narratives within theological scholarship. Her work has had a lasting impact on the broader discourse on race, gender, and spirituality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Teresa Weatherspoon

Teresa Weatherspoon is an American professional basketball coach and former player who had a successful career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is known for her energetic play and leadership skills, and is considered one of the top players in WNBA history. Weatherspoon’s impact extends beyond her playing career, as she has also made a name for herself as a talented coach.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Lenora Spencer (born May 25, 1970) is an American actress and producer. She is widely recognized for her incredible talent and has received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career. As the first black actress to receive two consecutive Oscar nominations, Spencer has made a significant impact on the film industry and has been a trailblazer for diversity and equality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Velma Scantlebury

Dr. Velma Scantlebury GCM, the first African-American woman transplant surgeon in the United States, made history with her groundbreaking achievements in the field of surgery. Her extensive clinical experience, dedication to education, and inspiring efforts in raising awareness about organ transplant have left an indelible mark on society. She has received numerous accolades, including the prestigious “Gift of Life Award” and the Order of Barbados Gold Crown of Merit.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Christine Darden

Christine Darden, an American mathematician and aeronautical engineer, dedicated her career to researching supersonic flight and sonic booms. Her groundbreaking accomplishments at NASA shattered barriers and inspired future generations of women and minorities in the field of engineering and mathematics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Kathryn Peddrew

Kathryn Peddrew was an African-American mathematician, engineer, and scientist who made significant contributions to aerospace technology and medical science. She played a crucial role in the NACA and NASA, working as a “human computer” and aerospace technologist. Her groundbreaking research at the National Institutes of Health on cancer and tuberculosis treatments helped save lives. Despite facing racial and gender barriers, Peddrew’s perseverance paved the way for future generations of minority scientists. She received numerous awards and recognition for her work throughout her career.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWrestler

Babs Wingo

Babs Wingo, alongside her sisters Marva Scott and Ethel Johnson, was a trailblazing African-American wrestler who integrated professional wrestling in the 1950s. Their untold stories of resilience and strength helped revolutionize the sport, challenging racial and gender barriers. Babs became the first black woman to wrestle the reigning champion and emerged victorious, becoming the first interracial women’s champion. Her groundbreaking achievements paved the way for future generations of black wrestlers and left an enduring impact on professional wrestling.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWrestler

Marva Scott

Marva Scott, one of America’s first black female wrestlers, broke barriers and confronted prejudice head-on during the racially segregated era of the 1950s to the late 1970s. Alongside her sisters, Babs Wingo and Ethel Johnson, Marva used her platform to inspire young women of color and advocate for equal rights. Her legacy as a courageous and talented wrestler continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWrestler

Ethel Johnson

Ethel Blanche Hairston, better known as Ethel Johnson, was a trailblazing figure in professional wrestling. She became the first African-American women’s champion and paved the way for others in the sport. Through her talent and determination, Ethel challenged societal norms and left a lasting legacy in the wrestling industry. She passed away in 2018 at the age of 83, but her impact continues to resonate.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Dorothy Vaughan

Dorothy Jean Johnson Vaughan, born in 1910 in Kansas City, Missouri, was an accomplished mathematician and a trailblazer in the field of women’s history. She was the first African-American woman to receive a promotion and supervise a group of staff at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and later NASA. Vaughan’s story gained wider recognition when she was featured in the book and movie “Hidden Figures,” highlighting her significant role in the space race. In recognition of her remarkable achievements, she was posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Carlotta Berry

Carlotta Berry is an American academic in the field of engineering who has made significant contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. As a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, she has dedicated her career to empowering underrepresented populations and encouraging greater participation in the engineering profession.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanComputer Scientist

Latanya Sweeney

Latanya Arvette Sweeney is a groundbreaking American computer scientist known for her research in data privacy. She is currently a professor at Harvard University and the founder of the Public Interest Tech Lab. Sweeney’s most notable achievement is the development of k-anonymity, which sparked a national conversation on data privacy. She has also had a significant impact on public policy and is committed to mentoring underrepresented groups in computer science. Sweeney has received numerous awards for her contributions to the field and continues to inspire others in technology and advocacy.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Mary White Ovington

Mary White Ovington, born in Brooklyn in 1865, was a suffragist, journalist, and one of the co-founders of the NAACP. As a passionate advocate for civil rights, Ovington dedicated her life to fighting for equality, particularly in education and employment for African-Americans. Her involvement in the civil rights movement and her contributions to the suffrage cause made her a notable figure in the early 20th century.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer, a prominent civil rights activist, dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. Despite facing poverty and discrimination, she persevered and became actively involved in voter registration drives and community organizing efforts. Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and played a vital role in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. Her legacy as an advocate for justice and empowerment continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Gwen Carr

Gwen Carr (born 1949) is an American activist, public speaker, and author. She is known for her tireless advocacy in the fight against police brutality and for justice in the United States. Carr’s life changed forever on July 17, 2014, when her son, Eric Garner, was killed by a New York Police Department officer during an arrest.

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JapanUnited StatesAfrican American

Sophia Danenberg

Sophia Danenberg, the first African American and first black woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, is a trailblazer in the world of mountaineering. Her remarkable achievement not only established her as a pioneering figure in the mountaineering community but also inspired countless individuals to break barriers and pursue their dreams.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Joan Higginbotham

Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham, born on August 3, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, became a renowned NASA astronaut. Throughout her career, she actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her 9-year tenure at Kennedy Space Center. Her groundbreaking achievements serve as a testament to the power of determination and hard work. She has paved the way for future generations, especially women, to pursue careers in space exploration.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAmerican Football

Linda Jefferson

Linda Jefferson, a trailblazer in women’s football, broke through societal barriers with her exceptional talent and athleticism. As a member of the Toledo Troopers in the 1970s, Jefferson’s electrifying performances captivated football fans nationwide. Her six-year winning streak and numerous accolades solidify her status as a symbol of excellence and inspiration for women in sports. Inducted into the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame and the American Association Football Hall of Fame, Jefferson shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of female athletes.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes is a renowned American stand-up comedian, actress, and writer. With her sharp wit and comedic talent, she gained recognition for her work on The Chris Rock Show. Sykes has made notable contributions to television and film with her exceptional acting skills, earning nominations for prestigious awards. As an African-American woman in comedy, she has broken barriers and inspired others, making her an influential figure in society.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Aprille Ericsson-Jackson

Aprille J. Ericsson-Jackson is an American aerospace engineer, known for being the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Her groundbreaking achievements and dedication to promoting STEM education make her an inspiring figure in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Marjorie Lee Browne

Marjorie Lee Browne (1914-1979), a pioneering African-American mathematician and educator, overcame numerous challenges to become one of the first African-American women to earn a PhD in mathematics. Her groundbreaking research and dedication to mathematics education paved the way for future generations of minority mathematicians. Although her life was tragically cut short, Browne’s legacy as a champion for diversity in STEM fields continues to inspire and empower others.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sarah E. Goode

Sarah Elisabeth Goode was an American entrepreneur and inventor who received a United States patent in 1885 for her cabinet bed. Her invention revolutionized small apartment living, providing comfort and convenience for individuals with limited space. Goode’s determination and innovative spirit have left a lasting impact on women’s history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Caroline Still Anderson

Caroline Still Anderson was a pioneering physician, educator, and activist. She was one of the first Black women to become a physician in the United States and dedicated her medical practice to serving the African-American community in Philadelphia. Despite facing discrimination and challenges, Anderson’s accomplishments and dedication continue to serve as an inspiration for women, particularly women of color, in the pursuit of their dreams and careers.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Hetty Reckless

Amy Hester “Hetty” Reckless (1776–1881) was an influential figure in the American abolitionist movement and a key supporter of the Underground Railroad. Born into slavery in Salem, New Jersey, she overcame the cruelty of her owners to eventually escape to Philadelphia in 1826. Hetty became a founding member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and played a crucial role in promoting abolitionist ideas. Her dedication to social justice and her tireless efforts in supporting the cause made her an influential leader in the abolitionist community.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Anna Williams

Anna “Ann” Williams, an enslaved woman born in 1791 in Bladensburg, Maryland, successfully sued for freedom for herself and her children. Her daring escape from the F Street Tavern and subsequent legal battle highlighted the atrocities of the slave trade, raising awareness and prompting a Congressional inquiry in 1816. Williams’ victory in court brought attention to the cruelty of slavery and the fight for freedom.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Duchess Quamino

Duchess Quamino, also known as the “Pastry Queen of Rhode Island,” was a formerly enslaved woman who defied the odds to become an influential figure in her community. Born around 1739 in Senegal or Ghana, Duchess rose above her circumstances and became a renowned independent caterer. Her culinary talents and entrepreneurial spirit made her a beloved and respected figure in colonial Rhode Island, inspiring future generations with her resilience and achievements.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Key Grinstead

Elizabeth Key Grinstead was a pioneer figure in early American history, advocating for the rights of enslaved individuals. Born in 1630 in Warwick County, Virginia, Key challenged the institution of slavery and secured her own freedom, becoming one of the first black women in the Thirteen Colonies to do so. Her landmark legal victory and its subsequent legislation made a significant impact on the future of slavery in the English colonies.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Alice Stebbins Wells

Alice Stebbins Wells, a trailblazing figure in American law enforcement, became one of the first American-born female police officers in 1910. Her determination to pursue a career in police work was fueled by her study at the Hartford Theological Seminary, which revealed the need for women officers. Despite facing challenges, Wells paved the way for other women to join the force and established the International Policewomen’s Association. Her legacy continues to inspire future generations of women in law enforcement.

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CanadaAfrican AmericanBusiness

Rose Fortune

Rose Fortune, born to runaway slaves during the American Revolutionary War, defied the odds and left an enduring legacy. Settling in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, at a young age, she became a central figure in her community. Rose’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to start a luggage transportation business, which eventually expanded to horse-drawn carriages. Not only was she a shrewd businesswoman, but Rose also became the first female police officer in North America, symbolizing strength and courage in her town. Her story continues to inspire future generations, highlighting resilience and determination to overcome adversity.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBiochemist

Marie Maynard Daly

Marie Maynard Daly was an American biochemist who made significant contributions to the field of chemistry and medicine. She was the first African-American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her groundbreaking research on protein synthesis, hypertension, and muscle cells’ uptake of creatine deepened our understanding of biochemistry and paved the way for medical advancements. Daly’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity also played a vital role in inspiring underrepresented individuals to pursue careers in science.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Sarah Loguen Fraser

Sarah Marinda Loguen Fraser, a trailblazing African-American physician and pediatrician, overcame numerous obstacles to make significant contributions to the field of medicine in the late 19th century. Born on January 29, 1850, in Syracuse, New York, Fraser’s determination to help others led her to become the first African-American woman to earn an M.D. from Syracuse University School of Medicine. Her legacy as a pioneer in medicine continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Violette Neatley Anderson

Violette Neatley Anderson was a trailblazing African-American lawyer who broke barriers and became the first African-American woman to practice law before the United States Supreme Court. Her relentless advocacy for justice and equal rights during a time of discrimination cemented her place in history as a pioneering figure.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanComputer Scientist

Evelyn Boyd Granville

Evelyn Boyd Granville overcame challenges to become the second African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from an American university. She made significant contributions to mathematics and computer science, inspiring future generations of women in STEM fields.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson, born Creola Katherine Coleman on August 26, 1918, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, was an American mathematician whose pioneering work at NASA paved the way for crewed spaceflights and advanced the field of orbital mechanics. Her contributions to the early days of space exploration were instrumental in the success of numerous missions and made her a trailblazer for African-American women in science and mathematics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant, an American electrical engineer, founded Black Girls Code, an organization focused on providing technology and computer programming education to African-American girls. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement, Bryant’s passion for technology led her to establish a nonprofit that aims to address the underrepresentation of African-American women in the tech industry. Her efforts have been recognized, and she was listed as one of the “25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology” by Business Insider.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Marian Croak

Marian Rogers Croak is a Vice President of Engineering at Google, renowned for her significant contributions to the field of telecommunications. Born on May 14, 1955, in New York City, Croak’s early fascination with science and technology was nurtured by her father, who built her a home chemistry set.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Donna Auguste

Donna Auguste (born 1958) is an African-American businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was the co-founder and CEO of Freshwater Software from 1996 to 2000. She sold Freshwater Software for $147 million and was recognized as one of the “25 Women Who Are Making It Big in Small Business” by Fortune Magazine. She also won the 2001 Golden Torch Award for Outstanding Woman in Technology.

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AustraliaAfrican AmericanBallet

Stephanie Kurlow

Stephanie Kurlow is an Australian dancer and ballet student often credited as being the world’s first Hijabi Ballerina. She was born to an Australian father and Russian mother and grew up in the suburbs of Sydney. Stephanie’s passion for dance began at the young age of two when she started taking ballet classes.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Martha Mitchell

Martha Mitchell, born in 1918 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was the wife of United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell. Despite her struggles with dyslexia and a failed first marriage, Martha’s passion for the arts and bold personality left a lasting impact. She became a notable figure during the Watergate scandal, speaking out against corruption and uncovering the truth. Martha Mitchell’s resilience and bravery cemented her place in history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Eliza Suggs

Eliza Suggs, an African American author and activist, lived a life marked by resilience and determination. Overcoming the challenges of osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, she defied expectations and became an advocate for social reform. Although her life was tragically shortened, her impact on society continues to inspire and empower future generations of African American women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson, an American ballet dancer and former principal dancer with the Houston Ballet, broke barriers as one of the first African-American ballerinas to become a principal for a major dance company. Her talent and determination paved the way for future generations of diverse dancers, leaving an indelible mark on the world of ballet.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Minnie M. Kenny

Minnie M. Kenny (1929–August 17, 2005) was a cryptanalyst, educator, and equal opportunity activist who made significant contributions at the National Security Agency (NSA). Throughout her career, she demonstrated exceptional expertise in cryptanalysis, language, and traffic analysis, earning her prestigious awards and recognition. Kenny played a crucial role in transforming the field of cryptography and promoting diversity within the intelligence community.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Florynce Kennedy

Florynce Rae Kennedy was an influential figure in American history, known for her groundbreaking work as a lawyer, radical feminist, civil rights advocate, lecturer, and activist. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Kennedy experienced both poverty during the Great Depression and deep-rooted racism in her mostly white neighborhood. Kennedy’s resilience and intelligence led her to achieve great academic success. She overcame discrimination to become the only black student in her law school class. Kennedy’s activism extended beyond the courtroom. She was a passionate advocate for civil rights and a prominent figure in the Women’s Liberation Movement. Her impact on society laid the foundation for future generations of activists.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Irene Moorman Blackstone

Irene Moorman Blackstone (January 1872 – after 1944) was an African-American businesswoman and club member who became active in the fight for women’s suffrage. Along with Alva Belmont, she initiated the interracial cooperation of women in the drive for enfranchisement. When the 19th Amendment passed, she turned her activism toward the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and other programs which worked to uplift the black community and prevent the exclusion of and discrimination against blacks in attaining socio-economic and political equality.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, born on December 9, 1973, in Madison, Wisconsin, is an American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 and was the minority leader from 2011 to 2017. Abrams founded Fair Fight Action in 2018, and her efforts have been widely recognized for boosting voter turnout in Georgia. She was the Democratic nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, becoming the first African-American female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. Abrams continues to be a prominent advocate for voting rights and equal access to the ballot box.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Janet Collins

Janet Collins was a pioneering African American ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Despite facing racial barriers, she studied with renowned ballet teachers and became one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. She collaborated with Katherine Dunham and gained recognition for her talent. Collins became the first black ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera and later dedicated herself to teaching. Her legacy as a pioneer of black ballet dancing continues to inspire dancers worldwide.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is an American ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theatre and the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s history. Raised in Los Angeles, Copeland’s love for dance blossomed at age 13. Despite facing challenges and a custody battle, Copeland’s determination and talent propelled her career forward. She has become a beacon of inspiration, a best-selling author, and an influential figure in the ballet world.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Georgia Ann Robinson

Georgia Ann Robinson, the first African American woman appointed as a police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), broke down racial barriers and improved the lives of women in Los Angeles. She became a symbol of hope and progress for African American club women advocating for black women in law enforcement. Robinson’s dedication, capabilities, and groundbreaking achievements paved the way for greater diversity within the LAPD and inspired future generations of African American women in law enforcement.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Charlotte E. Ray

Charlotte E. Ray was the first black American female lawyer in the United States. Raised in a home that valued education and advocacy, Ray graduated from the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth and later became the first woman to graduate from the Howard University School of Law. Despite facing societal barriers, Ray opened her own law office and made significant contributions before leaving the legal profession. She continued to fight for women’s rights and her legacy continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Ora Washington

Ora Belle Washington was an American athlete from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who excelled in both tennis and basketball. She was a trailblazer in both sports, earning the nicknames “Queen Ora” and the “Queen of Two Courts” from black newspapers. Her remarkable talent and achievements in sports resulted in her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Ora Washington defied racial and gender barriers, leaving a lasting impact on the history of athletics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Dorothy Gaters

Dorothy Gaters, the legendary high school basketball coach from Chicago, is renowned for her incredible coaching career spanning over 45 years at Marshall High School. Her record-breaking 1,153 wins, 10 girls state championships, and 24 state trophies solidify her as the winningest coach in Illinois history. Gaters’ impact reaches far beyond the court, as she has become an inspiration and trailblazer, breaking barriers for female coaches and athletes alike. Her unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements have left an indelible mark on the basketball landscape.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronaut

Jessica Watkins

Jessica Andrea Watkins, the accomplished American astronaut, geologist, and aquanaut, has left an indelible mark on the world of space exploration. Born on May 14, 1988, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to Michael and Carolyn Watkins, Jessica’s upbringing was marked by curiosity, ambition, and a drive for excellence.

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GuadeloupeActivistAfrican American

La Mulâtresse Solitude

La Mulâtresse Solitude (circa 1772 – 1802) was a historical figure and a heroine in the fight against slavery on French Guadeloupe. She has become a legend and a symbol of women’s resistance in the struggle against slavery in the history of the island.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGeographer

Dawn Wright

Dawn Jeannine Wright is an American geographer and oceanographer who made significant contributions to the field of ocean and coastal science. She is widely regarded as a leading authority in the application of geographic information system (GIS) technology to the study of the oceans. Throughout her career, Wright achieved numerous milestones and garnered recognition for her groundbreaking work and dedication to education.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Mary Emilie Holmes

Mary Emilie Holmes was a pioneering American geologist and educator who made significant contributions to the fields of geology and women’s education. She became the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America and played a crucial role in establishing an educational institution for young black women that later became Mary Holmes College. Her dedication to women’s education and groundbreaking achievements in geology left a lasting impact on society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMountaineer

Rosemary Saal

Rosemary Saal is an American mountaineer who has made significant contributions to the field of outdoor exploration. She shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future climbers of color by becoming a member of the first all African American climbing team to summit Denali in 2013 and part of the first all-Black U.S. expedition team to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2022. Saal’s resilience, strength, and determination have made her a trailblazer in the world of mountaineering while advocating for diversity and inclusion in the outdoor community.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAnthropologist

Caroline Bond Day

Caroline Stewart Bond Day was an American physical anthropologist, author, and educator. She was one of the first African-Americans to receive a degree in anthropology. Day’s research challenged scientific racism and advocated for social equality for African-Americans. Her work on documenting and understanding mixed-race families helped to challenge racial preconceptions and discrimination. Despite being controversial, her research marks an important step in the recognition of African-American women in physical anthropology.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman overcame barriers as an African-American and Native American aviator, becoming the first of both to hold a pilot license. Her groundbreaking achievements opened doors for women and people of color in aviation. Tragically, her life was cut short in a plane crash at the age of 34, leaving behind an enduring legacy of courage and inspiration.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBaseball

Mamie Johnson

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was an American professional baseball player who made history as one of the first female pitchers in the Negro leagues. Despite facing racial barriers, Mamie’s talent and determination led her to a successful career with the Indianapolis Clowns. She became a legend in the sport and was honored with induction into the Women in Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

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SudanAfrican AmericanArtist

Shanakdakhete

Shanakdakhete, the renowned queen of the Kingdom of Kush, was a trailblazer and the earliest known ruling African queen of ancient Nubia. She ruled the Meroë Empire with absolute power and accomplished this without a king by her side, breaking the male-dominated governance of the time. Besides her political achievements, Shanakdakhete played a significant role in the Meroitic religion and her name is immortalized in history through inscriptions in Egyptian Meroitic hieroglyphs. She left a lasting legacy as one of the most remarkable queens of ancient Nubia, challenging traditional gender roles and paving the way for future generations of women in positions of authority.

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Great BritainAfrican AmericanSprinter

Anita Neil

Doris “Anita” Neil OLY (born 5 April 1950) is a retired British international sprinter. In 1968, she became the first black British woman Olympian. Eventually, the lack of a coach, insufficient training facilities, and the need to support her family financially forced Neil into early retirement at just 23 years old.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWater Polo

Ashleigh Johnson

Ashleigh Elizabeth Johnson, one of the best water polo goalkeepers in the world, has achieved numerous accomplishments and groundbreaking achievements. Raised in a water polo-loving family, Johnson’s interest in becoming a goalie was sparked by her sister. She excelled at Ransom Everglades School and went on to play water polo at Princeton University. Her breakthrough on the international stage came in 2015 when she helped secure a gold medal for the United States at the World Aquatics Championships. In 2016, Johnson became the first African-American woman to earn a spot on the US Olympic water polo team and played a vital role in securing a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. She continues to make strides in her career and has become an inspiration to young women and aspiring water polo players.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Charlotta Bass

Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass, born in 1874 in Sumter, South Carolina, was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. She played a crucial role in advocating for civil rights and addressing social injustices faced by African Americans. Bass’s impact extended beyond her role as a newspaper publisher, as she inspired others to stand up for their rights and became the first African-American woman nominated for Vice President of the United States in 1952.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDiver

Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Hadiyah-Nicole Green is an American medical physicist known for her groundbreaking research using laser-activated nanoparticles as a potential cancer treatment. She has not only excelled in her field but has also become a strong advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and increasing diversity in STEM fields. Green’s dedication to her work and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others make her a true trailblazer in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Cathay Williams

Cathay Williams (1844-1893) defied gender norms and racial barriers as the first African American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army. She served during the Indian Wars under the name William Cathay, posing as a man. Despite facing challenges and being discharged due to her true identity being discovered, her courage and determination have been celebrated, recognizing her resilience and contributions to history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason, an African-American nurse and real estate entrepreneur, overcame the challenges of slavery to become a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Her expertise in medicine, child care, and livestock care made her a valuable asset to her owners. After gaining her freedom, Biddy’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to invest in real estate, becoming a successful landowner. She used her resources to help those in need, leaving behind a legacy of strength and compassion.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDeaf

Blanche Wilkins Williams

Blanche Wilkins Williams was an American educator of deaf children and a trailblazer in the deaf community. Despite facing significant adversity and discrimination, she became the first African American woman to graduate from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in 1893. She embarked on a remarkable career in education and made significant contributions to deaf education. Blanche Wilkins Williams’s dedication to inclusivity and her commitment to deaf education left an indelible mark on society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Mattie E. Coleman

Mattie E. Coleman (1870-1943) was one of Tennessee’s first African-American woman physicians. She was a religious feminist and suffragist who was instrumental in building alliances between black and white women. Coleman established a medical practice in Clarksville, Tennessee, where she provided medical assistance to those in need. Her leadership and dedication to her cause contributed to what is believed to be the initiation of a biracial alliance in Nashville.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Eliza Ann Grier

Eliza Anna Grier (1864–1902) was the first African American woman licensed to practice medicine in Georgia. Born into slavery, she overcame adversity and worked various jobs to support her education. After graduating in 1897, she opened a private practice in Atlanta, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Grier’s dedication to providing healthcare to her community in the face of discrimination paved the way for future African American women in medicine.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Bet or Mum Bet, was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. Her courageous fight for freedom and the subsequent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court marked a significant milestone in the struggle for emancipation and the abolition of slavery in the United States.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Sally Seymour

Sally Seymour was an African American pastry chef and restaurateur who defied societal expectations to become a successful entrepreneur and renowned pastry chef. Her culinary brilliance and dedication earned her widespread popularity and acclaim in Charleston, where she established her own bakery and trained several pupils. Her legacy lives on through her daughter, who expanded the business, and her influence can still be seen in the culinary traditions of the region.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Jenny Slew

Jenny Slew (1719 – after 1765) is known for being one of the first black Americans to successfully sue for her freedom through a trial by jury. Her life was marked by perseverance and a determination to assert her rights, making her a trailblazer in the fight against slavery and an important figure in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Alethia Tanner

Alethia Tanner, also known as Alethia “Lethe” Browning Tanner, was a prominent educator and leader in the African American community in Washington, D.C. during the early 19th century. She played a significant role in the establishment of The Bell School, the first school for free black children in the city. Tanner’s dedication to education and freeing enslaved individuals made her a respected figure in her community.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Higgins Sanger, later known as Margaret Sanger Slee, was born on September 14, 1879, in Corning, New York. She grew up in a large, Catholic family and her childhood experiences greatly influenced her later work as a birth control activist and women’s rights advocate. Her mother, Anne Higgins, was a devout Catholic who had 18 pregnancies in 22 years, with 11 children surviving to adulthood. Sanger’s mother’s frequent pregnancies and the hardships they brought upon the family made a lasting impression on her.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Pauli Murray

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (1910-1985) was an American civil rights activist, legal scholar, and Episcopal priest. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she overcame significant challenges to become a leading voice for justice and equality. Murray’s groundbreaking work on civil rights and gender equality left a lasting impact on American society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGeographer

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a prominent prison abolitionist and scholar, is known for her significant contributions to the field of carceral geography. Her upbringing, influenced by her family’s commitment to social justice, fueled her determination to fight for equality and justice. Gilmore’s activism began in college and continued throughout her career, leading her to co-found social justice organizations and challenge society’s perception of incarceration. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Geographers.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Pamela Carter

Pamela Lynn Carter, born in 1949, is a trailblazing figure in American law and politics. Not only was she the first black woman to serve as a state’s attorney general, but she also made significant contributions to the field of consumer protection. Carter’s career has been marked by her commitment to social justice and her tireless efforts to reform health and human services in the state of Indiana.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Rosa Slade Gragg

Dr. Rosa Slade Gragg was an American activist and politician who dedicated her life to creating opportunities for black women and advocating for racial equality. Her influential work in education and her role as an advisor to three United States presidents solidified her place as a pioneer for women’s rights and African American progress. Gragg’s advocacy efforts caught the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and she was appointed to a national advisory board of the Federal Office of Civil Defense. Her tireless dedication continues to inspire generations of women.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEconomist

Susan M. Collins

Susan M. Collins is a distinguished American economist and leader in the field of finance. She has made significant contributions to academia, public policy, and the financial sector throughout her illustrious career. Collins currently serves as the 14th president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a position she assumed on July 1, 2022.

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Costa RicaJamaicaUnited States

Hughenna L. Gauntlett

Hughenna Louise Gauntlett, a pioneering American physician, faced various challenges throughout her career, including racial and gender discrimination. Despite these obstacles, Gauntlett became the first Black woman to be certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1968. She left behind a significant legacy in the medical field, inspiring future generations of medical professionals, especially women and individuals from underrepresented communities.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima Poinsette Clark was an African American educator and civil rights activist who played a significant role in the fight for voting rights and civil rights for African Americans. Despite facing under-appreciation, Clark’s contributions were vital in empowering marginalized groups and promoting social change. She is often referred to as the “Queen mother” or “Grandmother” of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and Martin Luther King Jr. recognized her as “The Mother of the Movement.”

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Annie Easley

Annie Jean Easley, an American computer scientist and rocket scientist, overcame barriers and discrimination to become one of the first African-Americans to work at NASA. Her groundbreaking work in aerospace technology and her advocacy for inclusivity continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Alexa Canady

Dr. Alexa Canady, born in 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, was the first black woman to become a neurosurgeon. Despite facing prejudice, she rose above it and achieved groundbreaking milestones throughout her career. She dedicated herself to pediatric neurosurgery, becoming the Chief of Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan. Her exceptional contributions and accomplishments were recognized through various awards and honors, making her an inspiration to aspiring medical professionals.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Mercedes Deiz

Mercedes Deiz (1917-2005) broke barriers for women of color in Oregon’s legal profession. She became the first black woman admitted to the Oregon State Bar and went on to become the first black woman district court judge and county circuit court judge. Her contributions and dedication to mentoring young lawyers left a remarkable legacy of promoting diversity in the legal profession.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Mary Deconge

Mary Lovenia DeConge-Watson, born in 1933 in Wickliff, Louisiana, is an American mathematician and former nun. She is known for being the 15th African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. in mathematics. DeConge-Watson’s journey towards becoming a mathematician and her contributions to the field are both inspiring and significant.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Mahala Ashley Dickerson

Mahala Ashley Dickerson was a trailblazing American lawyer and civil rights advocate who played a significant role in breaking racial and gender barriers in the legal profession. Despite facing discrimination and prejudice, she became the first African American female attorney admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1948. Dickerson’s resilience and determination paved the way for future generations of women attorneys and made her an inspiration in the fight for social justice.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Donna P. Davis

Donna P. Davis, the first African-American woman to serve as a medical doctor in the United States Navy, broke barriers and paved the way for future generations. She pursued her passion for medicine from a young age and excelled academically, earning multiple accolades. After achieving her doctorate in medicine, she joined the Navy and provided medical care to service members. Davis continues to practice medicine and inspire others with her trailblazing achievements.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston

Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston (1919-1998) was a trailblazing black female American lawyer and judge who overcame numerous obstacles to make significant contributions to the legal profession. Her determination and commitment to justice defined her remarkable career, which served as a powerful symbol of progress for black women in the legal field.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ella Baker

Ella Josephine Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist who played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Known for her dedication to grassroots organizing and empowering the oppressed, Baker worked alongside prominent civil rights leaders, challenging the notion of charismatic leadership and advocating for radical democracy. Her influence on the movement was significant, and she is considered one of the most important American leaders of the twentieth century.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Lilia Ann Abron

Lilia Ann Abron is a trailblazing entrepreneur and chemical engineer who became the first African American woman to earn a PhD in chemical engineering. Born in 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee, Abron overcame racial segregation and pursued her passion for engineering. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to the field of environmental engineering and founded PEER Consultants, P.C. With her groundbreaking achievements, Abron has become an inspiration to future generations of engineers and women in STEM.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ethelene Crockett

Ethelene Jones Crockett (1914–1978) was a pioneering African-American physician and activist from Detroit. Overcoming discrimination and barriers, she became Michigan’s first African-American woman to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Crockett dedicated her life to providing healthcare and support to her community, while also advocating for public daycare centers, family planning, and the liberalization of Michigan’s abortion laws. Her contributions to medicine and activism continue to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Alma Levant Hayden

Alma Levant Hayden, an American chemist, was a pioneering figure in the field of science. Making significant contributions to spectroscopy, she became one of the first African-American women to hold a scientist position at a science agency in Washington, D.C. Her research on Krebiozen further contributed to increased drug safety regulations. Her achievements continue to inspire future generations in the field of chemistry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Oleta Crain

Oleta Lawanda Crain, an African-American military officer and federal civil servant, fought for black women’s rights and desegregation. Serving in the United States Air Force for 20 years, she was one of the three African Americans out of 300 women nationwide who entered officer training in the U.S. military in 1943. After retiring from the military, Crain became a regional administrator of the Women’s Bureau in Denver, Colorado, advocating for employment rights and career opportunities for women. She received numerous awards for her outstanding contributions.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Gail Harris

Gail Harris (born June 23, 1949) is a former United States Navy officer, and was the highest-ranking female African American in the U.S. Navy upon her retirement in December 2001. She served as the first female intelligence officer in a Navy aviation squadron in 1973. In 1979, Captain Harris became the first female and African American instructor at the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado. In 1989, she became the first female and African American to lead the Intelligence Department for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron in Rota, Spain, the largest Navy aviation squadron.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDoctor

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, born Rebecca Davis, overcame racial and gender barriers to become the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree in the United States. She published her seminal work, “A Book of Medical Discourses,” and dedicated her career to providing medical care to marginalized communities. Her pioneering achievements paved the way for future generations of African-American women in medicine.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Euphemia Haynes

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in mathematics, dedicated her life to education and advocacy. Her groundbreaking journey led her to earn a PhD from the Catholic University of America in 1943. She made significant contributions to the educational system in Washington, D.C., and her advocacy work played a pivotal role in ending the track system that disadvantaged African-American students. Euphemia’s enduring legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronomer

Moogega Cooper

Moogega Cooper (born 1985) is an American astronomer, physicist, and engineer. She is best known for her work in planetary protection and her involvement in the Mars 2020 Mission and the InSight Mission. Dr. Cooper also takes part in programs and speaking engagements to encourage young women and others from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in science and technology.

Died:

Awards:
– NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal (2018)

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United StatesAfrican AmericanChemist

Bettye Washington Greene

Bettye Washington Greene was an American industrial research chemist who made significant contributions to the field of latex and polymers. Born and raised in a segregated community, she shattered barriers and became the first African American female Ph.D. chemist to work at the Dow Chemical Company. Throughout her career, she published important papers and filed for multiple patents, revolutionizing the field of latex technology. Her legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire future generations of African American women in science.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Rebecca Cole

Rebecca J. Cole was an American physician and social reformer who became the second African-American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Despite facing racial and gender-based barriers, Cole made significant contributions in the field of medicine and advocacy for women’s rights. She paved the way for future African American women in medicine and fought for healthcare access for underprivileged communities.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanInventor

Mary Kenner

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, born on May 17, 1912, was an American inventor best known for her remarkable contributions to women’s hygiene. Despite facing racial discrimination, Kenner’s ingenuity led her to develop the adjustable sanitary belt, revolutionizing the way women managed their menstruation. However, it was not until thirty years later that her patent for the sanitary belt was finally granted.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanNurse

Mattiedna Johnson

Mattiedna Johnson, an African American nurse and laboratory technician, played a crucial role in finding a cure for the scarlet fever epidemic during World War II. Despite not receiving credit for her work, she dedicated her career to healthcare and co-founded the National Black Nurses Association. Her impact extended to Africa, where she served as a medical missionary and advocated for nursing education and professional growth.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJudge

Edith Jacqueline Ingram Grant

Edith Jacqueline Ingram Grant was the first African American woman judge in the United States, dedicating her life to public service and making significant contributions to the legal system. Her trailblazing career paved the way for other women of color in the legal profession.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanScholar

Lois Rice

Lois Ann Dickson Fitt Rice was an accomplished American corporate executive, scholar, and education policy expert. She fought for greater access to higher education for all students. Rice’s groundbreaking work as a lobbyist for the creation of the Pell Grant program earned her the title of the “mother of the Pell Grant.” Moreover, she was one of the first African-American women to serve on the boards of major US corporations, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPhysicist

Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson, a prominent figure in theoretical particle physics, made history as the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from MIT in any field. Her groundbreaking achievements, commitment to education, and milestone presidency have shaped the landscape of both physics and academia, inspiring generations of aspiring physicists, particularly women and minorities.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPhysicist

Carolyn Parker

Carolyn Beatrice Parker, a pioneering physicist, made significant contributions to nuclear research. She came from a family that valued education and scientific pursuits, with several of her siblings earning degrees in natural science or mathematics. Parker’s outstanding academic achievements marked the beginning of a remarkable career in scientific research. Despite her untimely passing at the age of 48, Parker’s contributions and trailblazing achievements continue to inspire generations of scientists.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstrophysicist

Jedidah Isler

Jedidah C. Isler is the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale University. Her research focuses on the study of blazars and the jet streams they emit. Isler is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM fields and has made significant contributions to advancing representation in scientific research and education. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor of Astrophysics at Dartmouth College and was appointed as a member of Joe Biden’s presidential transition Agency Review Team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 2020.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913, became a leading figure in the American civil rights movement. Her act of refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. Parks’ bravery and determination inspired others to join the fight for equality, and she was awarded prestigious honors for her unwavering commitment to civil rights. She passed away in 2005, leaving behind a powerful legacy.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson, a pioneering American mathematician and aerospace engineer, made significant contributions to aeronautics at NACA and NASA. Overcoming racial and gender barriers, she became NASA’s first black female engineer. Jackson’s expertise advanced aerospace technology, and her advocacy for diversity and equal opportunities left an indelible impact. Her inspiring story was featured in the book “Hidden Figures” and honored with the renaming of NASA headquarters to the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Audrey S. Penn

Audrey Shields Penn, born in 1934, is an American neurologist and emeritus professor known for her groundbreaking research in the biochemistry of muscle weakness in myasthenia gravis. Penn’s contributions to the field of neurology have had a profound impact on our understanding of neurological disorders and have paved the way for advancements in treatment options. Moreover, her accomplishments as an African-American woman in a male-dominated field have made her an inspirational figure and a trailblazer for future generations.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Olivia Hooker

Olivia Juliette Hooker, born in 1915 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, overcame adversity from a young age, surviving the Tulsa race massacre in 1921. She became the first African-American woman to join the U.S. Coast Guard and made significant contributions to the field of psychology. Her resilience and trailblazing achievements continue to inspire others.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEngineer

Willie Hobbs Moore

Willie Hobbs Moore (1934-1994) was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in physics. Her groundbreaking achievements in science and engineering, along with her dedication to mentorship and promoting diversity, have left a lasting impact on society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Nia Imara

Nia Imara, an American astrophysicist, artist, and activist, has made significant contributions to astrophysics and astronomy. Her journey began in the San Francisco Bay Area, where her passion for science and the universe flourished. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Kenyon College and went on to become the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. Imara’s groundbreaking research has advanced our understanding of stellar nurseries and she continues to inspire through her activism and mentorship.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Melba Roy Mouton

Melba Roy Mouton, an American mathematician, played a crucial role in NASA’s trajectory and geodynamics programs in the 1960s. Her remarkable career spanned various key roles at NASA, including Head Mathematician for Echo Satellites 1 and 2, Head Computer Programmer, and Program Production Section Chief. Mouton’s dedication and expertise earned her prestigious awards and recognition, highlighting her vital contributions to space research and mathematics. Her legacy continues to inspire mathematicians, scientists, and women worldwide.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Julia Pearl Hughes

Julia Pearl Hughes (March 19, 1873 – September 14, 1950), also known as Julia P. H. Coleman or Julia Coleman-Robinson, was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, social activist, and business executive. She was a trailblazer in various fields and made significant contributions to her community and society as a whole… Julia Pearl Hughes was born in Melville Township, Alamance County, North Carolina on March 19, 1873… leaving a lasting impact on women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanArcher

Ruth Ella Moore

Ruth Ella Moore, born in Columbus, Ohio in 1903, was a pioneering American bacteriologist and microbiologist. She became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in a natural science in 1933. Moore’s groundbreaking research on tuberculosis made significant contributions to the understanding and control of the disease. Throughout her career, she served as a mentor and inspiration to aspiring scientists, particularly African-American women. Her legacy as a trailblazer in her field continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Trudy Haynes

Trudy Haynes, the first African American woman to hold various television reporting positions, broke barriers and shattered stereotypes in the field of broadcast journalism. Despite facing challenges and discrimination, Haynes demonstrated resilience and achieved remarkable success throughout her career. Her groundbreaking work opened doors for countless individuals of color in the media industry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Joan Murray

Joan Murray (1937-2021) was a trailblazing African-American woman who shattered barriers in journalism. As the first African-American woman to report the news on a major network show, Murray’s determination and resilience paved the way for women of color in broadcast journalism. Her groundbreaking achievements, including being the first African-American newswoman at WCBS and participating in the All Woman Transcontinental Air Race, will forever inspire and empower future generations.

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CanadaAfrican AmericanLawyer

Violet King Henry

Violet Pauline King Henry, born on October 18, 1929, shattered barriers as the first black woman lawyer in Canada and the first black person to graduate law in Alberta. Her commitment to justice and equality opened doors for future generations of black women in the legal profession. Her legacy continues to inspire and shape society.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Raye Montague

Raye Jean Montague was an American naval engineer who made groundbreaking contributions to ship design and became the first female program manager of ships in the United States Navy. Her innovative approach and dedication to her work left a lasting impact on the naval engineering field.

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United StatesActorAfrican American

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji Penda Henson, born on September 11, 1970, in Southeast Washington, D.C., is an American actress who has made a significant impact on Hollywood. She grew up in a working-class family with her mother Bernice, who worked as a corporate manager, and her father Boris, a janitor and metal fabricator.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBusiness

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone was an American businesswoman, inventor, and philanthropist. She founded a successful enterprise centered on cosmetics for African-American women, becoming one of the first African American women to become a millionaire.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanLawyer

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is an American attorney and author who served as the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Obama has been a powerful advocate for women, youth, education, and societal issues throughout her life. Her upbringing on the South Side of Chicago played a significant role in shaping her perspective and passion for social justice.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Marcella Ng

Marcella Ann Ng, born in 1956, was the first African American woman pilot in the United States Armed Forces. Her achievements have paved the way for future generations of women in aviation. Raised in Centralia, Missouri, Marcella discovered her passion for aviation during her time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enlisted in the United States Army in 1978 and went on to become the first black woman to earn her pilot’s wings in 1979. Throughout her impressive 22-year military career, Marcella’s leadership and expertise were invaluable. She continues to inspire and empower others with her story.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMilitary

Ruth A. Lucas

Colonel Ruth Alice Lucas, the first African American woman promoted to the rank of colonel in the Air Force, overcame racial prejudice and made lasting contributions in the military and education. She dedicated herself to improving education within the military, creating special literacy programs and motivating servicemen to continue their education. Her legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for African American women continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGeologist

Marguerite Williams

Marguerite Thomas Williams was the first African American to earn a doctorate in geology in the United States. Her groundbreaking research and dissertation focused on erosional processes and the risks of natural flooding. Despite facing discrimination and obstacles throughout her career, Williams made significant contributions to the field of geology and paved the way for future generations of women in science. She passed away on August 17, 1991, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and trailblazing achievements.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mother Wright

Mary Ann Wright, also known as Mother Wright, was a humanitarian activist who dedicated almost three decades of her life to feeding the residents of the East Bay. Born into poverty and raised by her father after losing her mother at a young age, she overcame many challenges as a single mother. A transformative moment in 1980 led her to establish the Mother Mary Ann Wright Foundation, providing meals, food, clothing, and toys to those in need. Her legacy as a trailblazer in the fight against hunger and poverty lives on.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanWriter

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes, born on January 13, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois, is an American television producer and screenwriter. She is best known for her work as the showrunner and creator of the long-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and the political thriller Scandal. Rhimes has received numerous accolades for her contributions to the industry and has made a significant impact on television. Her ability to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving entertainment landscape is a testament to her versatility and talent.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMotorcycler

Bessie Stringfield

Bessie Stringfield, known as the “Motorcycle Queen of Miami,” was a trailblazing figure in American motorcycling history. She became the first African-American woman to ride across the United States solo, breaking down barriers for women and African-American motorcyclists. Her extraordinary achievements and contributions to the motorcycling community have left an indelible mark on history. Stringfield’s love for motorcycles and the open road embodied the spirit of freedom and independence, inspiring countless individuals to pursue their dreams and challenge social norms.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDancer

Raven Wilkinson

Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to break the color barrier in classical ballet, paved the way for future generations of dancers. Despite facing discrimination and limited opportunities, Wilkinson’s unwavering determination and talent propelled her through the ranks of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her legacy continues to inspire countless individuals, reminding us that talent knows no boundaries.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Azellia White

Azellia White broke barriers as an African-American aviator, defying stereotypes by becoming one of the first African-American women in the United States to earn a pilot’s license. Her groundbreaking achievements and indomitable spirit paved the way for others in the field of aviation. White passed away in 2019 at the age of 106, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance and determination.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sheyann Webb

Sheyann Webb-Christburg, born in 1956 in Selma, Alabama, is a civil rights activist known as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Smallest Freedom Fighter” and co-author of Selma, Lord, Selma. She participated in the first attempt at the Selma to Montgomery march, known as Bloody Sunday, at the age of eight. Her bravery and commitment to the cause continue to inspire future generations of women.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Phyllis Ann Wallace

Phyllis Ann Wallace (1921–1993) was a distinguished African American economist and activist, known for her groundbreaking work in combating workplace discrimination and promoting economic equality. She became the first woman to receive a doctorate of economics at Yale University and played a crucial role in shaping the anti-discrimination provisions of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Wallace’s dedication to economic issues and her unwavering commitment to equal opportunity make her a significant figure in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanMathematician

Gladys West

Gladys Mae West, an American mathematician, is renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to the modeling of the Earth’s shape and her pivotal work in the development of satellite geodesy models that were incorporated into the Global Positioning System (GPS). Her exceptional achievements have had a significant impact on scientific and technological advancements.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Lee Thornton

Lee Thornton (1941-2013) was a trailblazing American journalist and professor who broke racial barriers in the field. She worked for prestigious news organizations such as CBS, CNN, and NPR, and was the first African American woman to cover the White House. Thornton’s impact extended beyond her reporting, as she also made significant contributions to academia, teaching journalism at Howard University and the University of Maryland. Her dedication, excellence, and commitment to truth have left an enduring legacy in the world of journalism.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mamie Till

Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley, born in Webb, Mississippi in 1921, became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement after her son, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Determined to seek justice and shed light on racial violence, Mamie’s activism left an indelible mark on American history, inspiring others and advocating for equality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Merryl Tengesdal

Merryl Tengesdal, the first and only Black woman to fly the United States Air Force’s U-2 spy plane, has made significant contributions to the field of aviation. Her achievements are even more remarkable considering the limited representation of women and minorities in the U-2 program. Tengesdal’s determination and resilience serve as an inspiration to aspiring aviators, especially women and minorities.

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Great BritainUnited StatesAfrican American

Natalia Tanner

Natalia Tanner (1922-2018) was a pioneering American physician who fought against health inequality. As the first female African-American fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she paved the way for women and people of color in medicine. Her dedication to her patients and tireless advocacy for equal access to healthcare made a lasting impact on the medical profession.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Margaret Bush Wilson

Margaret Bush Wilson was a trailblazing African-American lawyer and activist who fought for equal rights and opportunities. She made significant contributions to the civil rights movement, including her involvement in the landmark Shelley v. Kraemer case. Wilson’s dedication and leadership led her to become the first woman to chair the National Board of Directors for the NAACP, leaving an indelible mark on the history of women’s rights and social progress.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAmerican Football

Natalie Randolph

Natalie Randolph is a remarkable individual who has made significant contributions in the fields of education, athletics, and breaking gender barriers. She has been a trailblazer and an inspiration to many, proving that with determination and passion, one can achieve anything they set their mind to.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Gloria Blackwell

Gloria Blackwell, also known as Gloria Rackley, was an African-American civil rights activist and educator. She played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement in Orangeburg during the 1960s, challenging racial segregation and inspiring others to fight for equality. Despite facing personal loss and adversity, she continued to pursue education and empowerment. Blackwell’s activism brought her both praise and criticism, but she remained resilient and determined, leaving a lasting impact on American history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Theresa Burroughs

Theresa Burroughs was a key figure in the civil rights movement, fighting for voting rights for African Americans in the 1960s. Growing up in Alabama, she witnessed the injustices faced by her community and dedicated her life to making a change. Burroughs played a pivotal role in the historic events in Selma, Alabama, and her unwavering commitment to equality left a lasting impact on society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Flossie Bailey

Katherine “Flossie” Bailey (1895 – February 6, 1952) was a civil rights and anti-lynching activist from Indiana. She established a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Marion, Indiana, in 1918 and became especially active fighting for justice and equality following the double lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in 1930. As president of the Indiana NAACP, Bailey was pivotal in lobbying for passage of a statewide anti-lynching law in Indiana in 1931 and advocated for a similar bill at the national level. She was also a recipient of the national NAACP’s Madam C. J. Walker Medal.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanPsychologist

Joyce Hamilton Berry

Joyce Hamilton Berry, LP, Ph.D., born in 1937, is a prominent clinical psychologist who has made significant contributions to the field. Her life story reflects the challenges and triumphs of an African-American woman growing up amidst racial segregation and rising above societal barriers to achieve remarkable success.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Annie Lee Cooper

Annie Lee Wilkerson Cooper was born in racially segregated Selma, Alabama, in 1909. She defied the limitations imposed on African-Americans and became a prominent civil rights activist. From standing up against racial segregation in her restaurant to registering to vote and participating in the historic Selma to Montgomery marches, Cooper’s unwavering courage and resilience left an indelible mark on the fight for racial justice. She passed away in 2010, leaving behind a legacy of advocacy and inspiration.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall, the first African American child to attend an all-white school in Louisiana, was born on September 8, 1954. Facing intense opposition and hostility, Ruby’s remarkable story of resilience and bravery in the face of adversity has become a symbol of strength and determination in the fight for equal rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJournalist

Ida B. Wells

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was a pioneering American investigative journalist, educator, and civil rights leader. She co-founded the NAACP and dedicated her career to fighting prejudice and violence, advocating for African-American equality. Wells exposed the horrors of lynching and highlighted the injustices faced by African Americans in the South. Despite facing backlash and threats, her fearless activism and unwavering commitment continue to inspire to this day.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Ayọ Tometi

Ayọ Tometi, an American human rights activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, has dedicated her life to advocating for racial justice and immigrant rights. Raised by Nigerian immigrants in Phoenix, Arizona, Tometi’s experiences and her parents’ struggles shaped her commitment to social justice. She has been a powerful voice in the fight against police violence and systemic racism, and her work extends to global human rights advocacy. Tometi’s impact on women’s history is profound, inspiring countless individuals to work towards a more just and inclusive world.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell was a prominent African-American civil rights activist, suffragist, and educator. She fought for racial equality and women’s rights, becoming the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1884. Terrell was dedicated to providing quality education to African-American students and co-founded the Colored Women’s League of Washington. She was a powerful advocate for equal rights and social justice, leaving a lasting impact on society.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Edith Irby Jones

Edith Irby Jones was a trailblazing American physician who broke down racial barriers and made significant contributions to medicine and civil rights. Despite facing numerous challenges and discrimination, she became the first African American to be accepted as a non-segregated student at the University of Arkansas Medical School. Her achievements paved the way for future generations and she continued to advocate for healthcare equity and representation throughout her groundbreaking career.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mildred Jeffrey

Mildred McWilliams “Millie” Jeffrey was an American political and social activist who played a crucial role in various reform movements, including labor reforms, women’s rights, and civil rights. Known for her dedication and relentless pursuit of justice, Jeffrey left an indelible mark on American history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanEducator

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a prominent American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and writer. Raised by her aunt and uncle, she received a strong education and developed a passion for literature. As one of the first African-American women to be published in the U.S., Harper used her writing and powerful oratory skills to advocate for the rights of African Americans and women. Her impact extended beyond her words, as she founded and supported progressive organizations, leaving an indelible mark on the fight for equality and justice.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Nellie Griswold Francis

Nellie F. Griswold Francis was an influential African-American suffragist, civil rights activist, and civic leader in Minnesota. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1874, Francis played a significant role in the fight for women’s rights and racial equality during the early 20th century. Her dedication and leadership have made her a notable figure in the history of the suffrage movement.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall, an American schoolteacher and activist, dedicated her life to advancing education and equality for black girls in the early 19th century. Despite facing racism and opposition, Crandall stood firm in her belief in equal educational opportunities for all. Her pioneering efforts and unwavering determination left a lasting impact on women’s history and the fight against racial inequality.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Peggie Gillom-Granderson

Peggie Gillom-Granderson, a former professional basketball player and coach, now serves as a chaplain at the University of Mississippi. Her basketball journey began at Ole Miss, where she excelled and set career records. Gillom’s success continued in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, and she later found her calling in coaching, guiding teams to victory at both the collegiate and professional levels. Her remarkable contributions to the sport led to her induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Teresa Edwards

Teresa Edwards, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and former American women’s basketball player, is widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century. She had an outstanding basketball career, representing the United States in five Olympic Games and earning four gold medals. Edwards’s impact on women’s basketball, both domestically and internationally, continues to inspire future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Vicky Bullett

Victoria Andrea Bullett, born on October 4, 1967, is an American former professional basketball player and current women’s basketball head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Throughout her career, she played for the Charlotte Sting and Washington Mystics in the WNBA, as well as for various European and South American professional teams, the U.S. Olympic team, and the University of Maryland Terrapins. With her versatility on the court, Bullett played at different positions including center, small forward, and power forward. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, solidifying her status as one of the most influential figures in the sport.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Ruthie Bolton

Ruthie Bolton, an American former professional women’s basketball player, made a significant impact at the collegiate, Olympic, and professional levels of women’s basketball. Her journey began at Auburn University, where she teamed up with her sister Mae Ola Bolton. After her college career, Bolton played overseas before joining the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs. Known for her tenacity and defensive prowess, she left an indelible mark on the game and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Lusia Harris Stewart

Lusia Mae Harris (1955-2022) was an American professional basketball player who played a pivotal role in advancing women’s basketball. From her humble beginnings in Minter City, Mississippi, Harris’s talent and determination propelled her to achieve tremendous success in college and on the international stage. Her exceptional skills and impact on the sport solidify her place in basketball history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Bridgette Gordon

Bridgette C. Gordon was a talented American professional basketball player who made a significant impact on the sport. She played for the University of Tennessee and helped the team win two national championships. Gordon also represented the United States in international competitions, including the Olympics, where she won a gold medal. Her contributions to women’s basketball earned her a well-deserved spot in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

C. Vivian Stringer

C. Vivian Stringer, born in 1948 in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, is a renowned former basketball coach. Her name is synonymous with excellence, as she holds one of the best coaching records in women’s basketball history. Throughout her remarkable career, Stringer became a trailblazer and a prominent figure in women’s collegiate basketball, leading three different women’s programs to the NCAA Final Four. She is not only celebrated for her coaching prowess but also for her advocacy for equality and social justice. Serving as a role model, Stringer has left an undeniable legacy on and off the basketball court.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Tina Thompson

Tina Marie Thompson (born February 10, 1975) is an American former WNBA professional basketball player and coach. Most recently, she served as the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers women’s basketball team from 2018 to 2022. Thompson was inducted into both the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Lisa Leslie

Lisa Leslie’s exceptional skill and perseverance in basketball left an indelible mark on the sport and blazed a trail for women. Raised by a single mother who started her truck driving business, Leslie’s success began in middle school when she joined the school team. She continued to excel in high school and college, becoming a dominant player in the newly formed WNBA. Leslie’s impact extended beyond the court, as she became a generational talent, a trailblazer, and an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Nikki McCray

Nikki Kesangane McCray-Penson is a former professional women’s basketball player and coach. She had a successful playing career in the WNBA, earning three WNBA All-Star selections and scoring 2,550 career points. McCray also achieved gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 for her contributions to the sport.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

Pamela McGee

Pamela Denise McGee, a pioneer in women’s basketball, is known for her lasting impact on the sport. From her high school achievements to her successful college career at USC and her gold medal win in the Olympics, McGee’s dedication, talent, and perseverance have solidified her place in history. Her impressive basketball career has earned her a spot in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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BrazilAfrican AmericanBasketball

Hortencia Marcari

Hortência Marcari, known as “The Queen,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest female basketball players in Brazilian history. Her remarkable skills and talent have earned her a place in prestigious halls of fame and she has left an indelible mark on the sport.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBasketball

DeLisha Milton-Jones

DeLisha Lachell Milton-Jones, born in Riceboro, Georgia, on September 11, 1974, became a basketball superstar known for her versatility and leadership. She achieved success both in college and the WNBA, earning multiple accolades, including Olympic gold medals and WNBA championships. Now retired from playing, Milton-Jones is sharing her wealth of experience as the head coach of Old Dominion, inspiring the next generation of players with her determination and commitment to the sport.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSinger

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald, known as the “First Lady of Song,” the “Queen of Jazz,” and “Lady Ella,” stands as one of the most accomplished and influential jazz singers in history. Born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, Fitzgerald’s remarkable talent and enduring legacy have forever etched their mark on the world of music.

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Trinidad and TobagoUnited StatesAfrican American

Pearl Primus

Pearl Eileen Primus (November 29, 1919 – October 29, 1994) was an American dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist. Primus played a pivotal role in the presentation of African dance to American audiences, promoting it as a valuable art form worthy of study and performance. Her work was a response to prevailing myths of savagery and the limited understanding of African culture prevalent at the time. Primus sought to enlighten the Western world about African dance, showcasing its significance and the dignified expression it represented.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDancer

Alicia Graf Mack

Alicia Graf Mack is an accomplished American dancer and teacher who has made significant contributions to the world of dance. She has danced with prestigious companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and has also excelled as an educator at institutions like the Juilliard School. With her talent, resilience, and dedication, she has inspired countless individuals and broken barriers in the dance industry.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBallet

Debra Austin

Debra Austin, born in 1955, made history as the first African-American female principal dancer of a major American ballet company. Talent recognized at a young age, she caught the attention of George Balanchine and joined the New York City Ballet. Her international career included roles as a soloist with the Zurich Ballet and as a principal dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet, breaking down racial barriers in the arts. After retiring from performing, Austin transitioned into teaching, nurturing the next generation of dancers.

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Republic of the CongoUnited StatesActivist

Therese Patricia Okoumou

Therese Patricia Okoumou, commonly known as Patricia Okoumou, is a Black activist who gained national attention for her bold and courageous acts of protest. She is most well-known for scaling the base of the Statue of Liberty in 2018, in protest of children being separated from their parents at the Mexico-United States border.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBoxer

Fredia Gibbs

Fredia “The Cheetah” Gibbs, born on July 8, 1963, in Chester, Pennsylvania, is an American former professional martial artist, kickboxer, and boxer who competed from 1975 to 2005. With an illustrious career spanning three decades, Gibbs left an indelible mark on combat sports, becoming one of the most dominant champions in the history of kickboxing and a prominent figure in women’s athletics.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBaseball

Bianca Smith

Bianca Smith (born March 1991) is an American professional baseball coach. During the 2021 season, she became the first African American woman to serve as a professional baseball coach, working in the Boston Red Sox organization.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanBobsledder

Vonetta Flowers

Vonetta Flowers, born in 1973 in Birmingham, Alabama, made history in the 2002 Winter Olympics as the first African American and the first Black athlete from any country to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics. After a successful athletic career in track and field, she transitioned to bobsledding and made her mark in the sport by winning gold in the two-woman event at the 2002 Games. Flowers’ achievements and contributions to bobsledding cemented her status as a trailblazer.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Willa Brown

Willa Beatrice Brown, an influential American aviator, teacher, and civil rights activist, shattered racial and gender barriers in the field of aviation. She became the first African American woman in the United States to earn an aircraft mechanic’s license in 1935, and later achieved her private and commercial pilot’s licenses. Besides her groundbreaking achievements, Brown also co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics, trained Tuskegee Airmen, and advocated for political and social change throughout her life.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell

Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and the first female African-American fighter pilot in Air Force history. Her determination and passion for aviation propelled her forward, despite the challenges she faced. Kimbrell’s impressive career has made her a trailblazer and role model for women in the military, leaving a lasting impact on the field.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAviation

Kimberly Anyadike

In 2009, at the age of 15, Kimberly Anyadike became the youngest African American woman to complete a transcontinental flight across the United States. With a single-engine Cessna 172, she flew from Los Angeles, California to Newport News, Virginia in 13 days. Anyadike’s bravery, determination, and passion for aviation inspire aspiring aviators and honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. In 2015, she received the Young Aviator’s Award from the Tuskegee Airmen for her groundbreaking achievement.

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United StatesAerospace EngineerAfrican American

Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Diana Wilson is an American engineer and NASA astronaut. She has made significant contributions to space exploration, having flown on three Space Shuttle missions. Wilson’s achievements have not only broken gender barriers but have also inspired a new generation of women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She is the second African American woman to venture into space, following in the footsteps of Mae Jemison.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanAstronaut

Mae Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space, was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. Inspired by Star Trek and Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Lieutenant Uhura, Jemison pursued her passion for science and space exploration. She earned degrees in chemical engineering and African and African-American studies from Stanford University before obtaining her medical degree from Cornell University. Jemison joined the Peace Corps in 1983 and worked as a doctor in Liberia and Sierra Leone. In 1987, she was selected to join NASA’s astronaut corps and made history aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Jemison continues to promote science education and support space exploration through her various endeavors and has received numerous awards and accolades for her pioneering achievements.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Margaretta Forten

Margaretta Forten (1806-1875) was a prominent African-American suffragist and abolitionist. She co-founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, fought for women’s rights, and played a vital role in the women’s suffrage movement. Margaretta dedicated her life to education, believing it was crucial for empowering individuals and fostering social change. Her legacy as a champion for equality and justice lives on, and she is buried in Philadelphia.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Eliza Ann Gardner

Eliza Ann Gardner was a prominent African-American abolitionist, women’s rights leader, and religious figure. Born in New York City and raised in Boston’s African-American community, she was surrounded by activism and the fight against slavery. Despite societal constraints, Gardner excelled academically and became a respected figure in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. She founded the Zion Missionary Society and played a key role in advocating for women’s rights within the church. Gardner’s unwavering commitment to equality and justice made her a pivotal figure in the fight for social change.

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CanadaUnited StatesActivist

Laura Smith Haviland

Laura Smith Haviland (1808-1898) was an American abolitionist, suffragette, and social reformer. As a Quaker, she played a vital role in the Underground Railroad and sheltered and guided escaped slaves to freedom. Haviland also founded schools to provide education to African Americans. She advocated for women’s rights and worked alongside prominent figures such as Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Haviland’s dedication to justice and equality left a lasting legacy in the fight against oppression and discrimination.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott was an American Quaker, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and social reformer. She dedicated her life to advocating for the rights and equality of marginalized groups, including women and African Americans. Her passion for women’s rights was ignited when she was excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London in 1840. Mott played a significant role in the establishment of educational institutions that benefitted women and remained a central figure in various reform movements until her death in 1880. Her tireless efforts and unwavering dedication continue to inspire generations of activists and advocates for social justice.

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NigeriaUnited StatesAfrican American

Bukola Oriola

Bukola Oriola, a Nigerian-American journalist, was born in 1976. She currently resides in Anoka County, Minnesota, and is the proud mother of her son, Samuel Jacobs. Bukola spent several years as a journalist in Nigeria, particularly focusing on education. Her dedication to the field led her to make significant contributions before she made her way to the United States.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th-century entrepreneur, real estate magnate, and abolitionist. She amassed a fortune, making her one of the most successful African-American women of her time. Pleasant provided support to African Americans before and during the Civil War and expanded her involvement in the Underground Railroad during the California Gold Rush. Her commitment to women’s rights earned her the title “The Mother of Human Rights in California.” Despite facing challenges as a black woman in power, Pleasant successfully integrated into wealthy society and made a significant impact on civil rights.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sheila White

Sheila White, an African-American anti-sex trafficking activist, was born in 1988 in The Bronx, New York City. Her life story is one of resilience, overcoming immense challenges, and dedicating herself to raising awareness about the issue of human trafficking.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart was an influential American teacher, journalist, abolitionist, and lecturer who made significant contributions to the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements. As the first African American woman to publicly address mixed audiences and advocate for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, she paved the way for future activists. Her powerful oratory skills and writings inspired generations and played a vital role in advancing these causes.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sarah Louisa Forten Purvis

Sarah Louisa Forten Purvis (1814–1884) was an American poet and abolitionist who co-founded The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and contributed to The Liberator. Her poetry, including “An Appeal to Woman” and “The Grave of the Slave”, focused on slavery and womanhood. She married Joseph Purvis, had eight children, and played a significant role in the abolitionist and feminist movements.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Harriet Forten Purvis

Harriet Forten Purvis, an African-American abolitionist and suffragist, was a key figure in the fight for racial equality and women’s rights. She co-founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, hosted anti-slavery events at her home, and helped run an Underground Railroad station. After the Civil War, Harriet continued her activism by advocating against segregation and fighting for the voting rights of Black Americans. Her dedication and contributions have left a lasting impact on the history of social justice.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree around 1797, was an influential American abolitionist and activist for African-American civil rights, women’s rights, and alcohol temperance. She faced the hardships of slavery but managed to escape to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826. Truth’s life was full of remarkable achievements and courageous acts, making her an iconic figure in history.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, born in 1811, was a renowned American author and abolitionist. She received a remarkable education for women of her time and became a prominent figure in the fight against slavery and for women’s rights. Her influential novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” shed light on the brutal conditions experienced by enslaved African-Americans, sparking a national conversation on the issue. Stowe’s writings and activism continue to inspire and educate people about the injustices of the past.

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IrelandActivistAfrican American

Kathleen Simon, Viscountess Simon

Kathleen Rochard Simon, Viscountess Simon, DBE, was an Anglo-Irish anti-slavery activist who dedicated her life to ending slavery and racial discrimination. From her early experiences in Tennessee to her involvement in the abolitionist movement in London, Kathleen fought tirelessly for justice and equality. Her legacy lives on as an inspiration to activists working towards a more inclusive society.

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CanadaUnited StatesActivist

Mary Ann Shadd

Mary Ann Camberton Shadd Cary was a trailblazer in promoting racial equality and women’s rights. As the first black woman publisher in North America and the second black woman to attend law school in the US, she dedicated her life to education, abolition, and civil rights. Her activism and accomplishments continue to inspire and shape history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSprinter

Tidye Pickett

Tidye Pickett (1914-1986) was the first African-American woman to compete in the Olympic Games. Despite facing racial discrimination and setbacks, she continued to pursue her running career and made history as a trailblazing athlete. After retiring from athletics, Pickett dedicated her life to education and became a schoolteacher, leaving a lasting impact on the community. Her inspiring journey serves as a symbol of perseverance and determination in women’s history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanSprinter

Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph, an American sprinter, overcame childhood polio to become an Olympic champion and an international sports icon. Her determination and willpower propelled her to win three gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics, making her the first American woman to achieve this feat. Rudolph’s remarkable achievements inspired future generations of athletes, breaking down racial and gender barriers along the way. She passed away in 1994, leaving behind a lasting legacy in civil rights and women’s rights.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanTennis

Venus Williams

Venus Williams is an American professional tennis player who has achieved numerous milestones and is widely recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She turned professional at the age of 14, becoming the first African American woman to reach the world No. 1 ranking in singles in the Open era. Venus has won 7 Grand Slam singles titles, an Olympic gold medal, 14 women’s doubles major titles with her sister Serena, and 3 Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles. Her impact extends beyond the tennis court, inspiring countless individuals, especially women of color, to overcome societal barriers and pursue their dreams.

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United StatesActivistAfrican American

Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew, an American abolitionist, played a pivotal role in the American Civil War. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she built and operated an extensive spy ring for the Union Army. Van Lew’s resourcefulness and determination aided in gathering crucial information about Confederate troop movements. Her dedication to freedom and justice established her as an influential figure in history.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanDiver

Shirley Marshall-Lee

Shirley Marshall-Lee became the first black female diver in 1965. She obtained her basic diving certification that year, making her the first certified Black female diver and the first female member of the Underwater Adventure Seekers. Over her career, she explored exotic underwater locations and logged over 1000 dives. In 2009, Marshall-Lee was inducted into the National Association of Black Scuba Divers Hall of Fame for her contributions to the diving community.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGymnast

Simone Biles

Simone Biles Owens is renowned as the greatest gymnast of all time, redefining the sport with her extraordinary achievements and groundbreaking skills. Adopted by her grandparents, she began her training at a young age and quickly made her mark on the international stage. Biles’ triumph not only highlights her remarkable talent, but also her unwavering commitment to prioritize mental health and well-being. Her influence extends beyond gymnastics, inspiring women and girls worldwide to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanGymnast

Gabby Douglas

Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, better known as Gabby Douglas, was born on December 31, 1995, in Newport News, Virginia. She grew up in nearby Virginia Beach and developed her love for gymnastics at a young age. Her journey to becoming one of the most accomplished gymnasts in American history was filled with determination, hard work, and numerous achievements that established her as a trailblazer and an inspiration to countless young athletes.

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