February 1, 2021

Black History Month 2021: 5 Black Female Pioneers That You May Not Be Familiar With

African American educator and U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm speaks at a podium at the Democratic National Convention, Miami Beach, Florida, July 1972. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

Every February, so many of us take time to reflect on the History of African Americans and those of African descent that have made a difference in our world and country. If you’ve never celebrated before, that’s okay! We can help you get started on a simple way to start a new tradition in your home. You may even ask why it’s celebrated. Black History Month gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture as well as the contributions of the black community in US history which is so often overlooked or undermined.

As I was thinking of how to celebrate this month, I was lead to teach myself, my husband, and my 5 year old about some African American and African women who have made extreme contributions to the advancement of black people. But the cool thing is that the people that I will share with you may be people that you haven’t heard of or if you have, you may learn something new.

Education Starts At Home

We know that our educators are amazing, but they also depend on us to teach our children at home, too. This is such a great opportunity for everyone to learn together. If you don’t have children, that’s okay. I’m sure maybe one of the people mentioned may be an unfamiliar name to you. I want to challenge you to choose a few names and maybe once a week, choose a person to focus on and discuss in your homes, on your drives, at your work place with a coworker, with your family and friends, etc. 

JANE BOLIN (1908-2007)

Jane Bolin became the first Black woman to become a judge in 1939. She was also the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, and she served on New York’s Family Court for 40 years. She worked tirelessly to stop probation officers from getting assignments based on the color of their skin.


Alice Allison Dunnigan was the first African American female correspondent for the White House. Alice was also the first black female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press. She became the chief of the Associated Negro Press in 1947, which allowed her a year later to become the first female African American to follow a President’s campaign out on the road.

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

Wangari Maathai was the first black woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her environmental work in Kenya. She was also the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. Maathai served as the chairman for six years on the National Council of Women in Kenya, and introduced the idea of accomplishing the largest tree-planting campaign in Africa—the Green Belt Movement. The organization has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya since its founding in 1977. She is known as the “Queen of Trees”.

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)

Shirley Chisholm was a pioneer for black women in the realm of government. In 1968, Chisholm was elected as the first African-American Congresswoman, and later became one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1972 she broke ceilings again as she became the first African-American woman of a major political party to run for the Democratic party nomination.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895)

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman physician in the United States. Dr. Crumpler started out working as a nurse in Massachusetts between 1852 and 1860. She was accepted into New England Female Medical College and earned an M.D. in 1864. She practiced medicine in Boston and Richmond, Virginia, primarily working with the poor, who had limited access to medical care.

Be sure to send us an email or message on Instagram to let us know how you enjoyed this and if you learned something new! Who would you add to the list?


Instagram: Instagram.com/thecoveredlife

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Have a great Black History Month!


Sources: marieclaire.com, wikipedia.com, AP

About Me

Jasmine Coicou

Jasmine Coicou

Believer. Wife. Mom. Author. Entrepreneur. Self Care Advocate. Organizational Coach

Jasmine understands the importance of keeping God first and she is an advocate for self care.

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