Barbara Johns

On April 23, 1951, Barbara Johns, a 16 year-old high school girl in Prince Edward County, Virginia, led her classmates in a strike to protest the substandard conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School. Her idealism, planning, and persistence ultimately garnered the support of NAACP lawyers Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill to take up her… Continue reading Barbara Johns

bell hooks

Both an intellectual and a person who helped people pursue ‘right relations’ to others, bell hooks wrote more than 30 books on race, feminism and class. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, bell took her pen name from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. She made it lower case as she wanted the public to focus on… Continue reading bell hooks

Alice Ball

Alice Augusta Ball overcome the racial and gender barriers of her time to become the first woman and African-American to graduate with a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii. At 23 she became the first woman chemistry teacher there. As a research chemist she was able to create an injectable leprosy treatment using oil… Continue reading Alice Ball

Juliette Derricotte

uliette Derricotte was an American educator and political activist whose death stemming from being refused treatment after a fatal car accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee sparked outrage in the African-American community. At the time of her death she was Dean of Women at Fisk University. In 1931, Juliette Derricotte was driving three students to her parents’… Continue reading Juliette Derricotte

Elizabeth Jennings Graham

Almost a century before Rosa Parks became known for desegregatiing the Mongomery bus system, Elizabeth Jennings Grahm desegregated the private NYC streetcars. Elizabeth Grahm was born free in 1827. She was a teacher who started the first African-American kindergarten in New Yourk City. It was in her home and operated until her death in 1901.… Continue reading Elizabeth Jennings Graham

Mary Shadd Cary

Mary Shadd Cary was the first black woman law student, enrolling at Howard University in September 1869. She graduated from Howard in 1870 with her LL.B, the first African American woman to get a law degree in the United States. She joined the growing women’s voting movement just as fellow activists Frederick Douglass and Susan… Continue reading Mary Shadd Cary