article via USA TODAY
These leaders — Black, Latina, Asian, Arab, Native American — in varied fields, broke both gender and racial barriers as they made history. Here is a by-no-means-comprehensive primer recognizing 34 women of color, past and present:
Peggy Alexander and Diane Nash
Peggy Alexander and Diane Nash, pictured in the middle in the photo above, participated at lunch counter sit-ins during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and were some of the first African Americans served lunch at a previously all-white counter, along with Matthew Walker and Stanley Hemphill.
Maya Angelou was a Pulitzer prize-nominated poet and civil rights activist. Her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings received critical acclaim for its depiction of racism and sexual assault. A leader in black feminism, Angelou worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Ella Baker was a civil rights activist who founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a prominent organization in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement that united its young leaders. Baker worked with other leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall.
Monifa Bandele works as an advocate for food justice at MomsRising, a grassroots organization aimed at empowering mothers politically and educating people on issues that women and mothers face.
Grace Lee Boggs
Long-time activist Grace Lee Boggs speaks to a crowd
Grace Lee Boggs, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, was a prominent writer and activist who worked closely with black Marxist and black power leaders like Malcolm X and her husband James Boggs during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
Grace Lee Boggs, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, was a prominent writer and activist who worked closely with black Marxist and black power leaders like Malcolm X and her husband James Boggs during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Melanie Campbell is the president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, which seeks to increase black voter participation.
Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to U.S. Congress in 1968, and later became the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for president as a Democrat.
Laverne Cox, star of Orange Is The New Black, became the first transgender actress to play a transgender network-TV series regular on CBS’ Doubt. “I think that talking about diversity, talking about race, talking about gender is important,” she said.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Angela Davis rose to prominence during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement due to her involvement with the Communist party. She was targeted by the FBI, making its 10 Most Wanted List, and later imprisoned but then acquitted on murder and kidnapping charges in association with a courtroom attack during the trial of the Soledad Brothers, three African-American inmates charged with the murder of a white prison guard. She has been a professor and author and today focuses on battling the “industrial prison complex” in the U.S. as well as the role of black women and the rise of intersectionality in feminism.
Audre Lorde was a self-proclaimed black lesbian feminist warrior poet. She wrote 12 poetry collections and five books of prose, including A Burst of Light, which won a National Book Award.
To read full article, go to: Women’s History Month: Women of color whose names you should know