Dot Counts

Dorothy “Dot” Counts, 1944- Dot Counts, Civil Rights activist, was one of the four first students to integrate the Harry Harding High School in 1956. The photo of her attending her first day inspired these painting. It also inspired James Baldwin who wrote in I Am Not Your Negro: “It made me furious and filled… Continue reading Dot Counts

Ann Cole Lowe

Ann Cole Lowe , 1898 – 1981 Lowe was an American fashion designer and the first African American to become a noted fashion designer. Lowe’s one-of-a-kind designs were a favorite among high society matrons from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was best known for designing the ivory silk taffeta wedding dress worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. Links to… Continue reading Ann Cole Lowe

Juanita Harrison

Juanita Harrison, 1891 – 1967 Juanita Harrison was an African-American writer known for her autobiography, My Great, Wide, Beautiful World, which narrates her extensive travel abroad. Harrison began her travels at the age of 16, traversing the world and exploring 22 countries all by herself. This was quite rare for her time. Harrison funded her… Continue reading Juanita Harrison

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman, 1892 –1926 Bessie Coleman was an early American civil aviator. She was the first African-American woman and first Native American woman to hold a pilot license.  She earned her license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale on June 15, 1921, and was the first Black person to earn an international pilot’s license. Born to a… Continue reading Bessie Coleman

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells, 1862 – 1931 Born into slavery, Ida B. Wells devoted nearly 50 years of her life to fearlessly fighting for racial justice, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. In 1884, while working as a teacher in the Shelby County school system in Memphis, Ida was forcibly removed from her seat in the “ladies… Continue reading Ida B. Wells

Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, 1858 – 1964 Anna Cooper was an American author, educator, sociologist, speaker, Black liberation activist, and one of the most prominent African American scholars in United States history. Born into slavery in 1858, Cooper went on to receive a world-class education and claim power and prestige in academic and social circles. In 1924, she… Continue reading Anna Julia Cooper

Maggie Walker

Maggie Walker  1864-1934 Maggie Walker was one of the most prominent businesswomen in America during the turn of the century. In 1903 she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia. When she cut the ribbon on opening day, she became the first female bank president in the United States. Walker also established… Continue reading Maggie Walker

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer, 1917-1977 Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and women’s rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement. Hamer organized Mississippi’s Freedom Summer along with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1963 while attending a pro-citizenship conference by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, Hamer and others on their bus were arrested for not calling an office… Continue reading Fannie Lou Hamer

Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason, 1818-1891 Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born into slavery in Georgia She learned herbal medicine, midwifery and agricultural skills from other female slaves, and cared for the plantation owners, slaves, and livestock. In 1848 the owners and their slaves moved to Salt Lake City. The journey was grueling; Mason walked over 1700 miles carrying… Continue reading Biddy Mason

Ruth Ella Moore

Ruth Ella Moore 1903-1994 Ruth Ella Moore overcame obstacles of race and gender to become the very first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Microbiology and the first African-American to join the American Society for Microbiology. Besides being a well-known scientist with a passion for her professional work, Moore was a talented seamstress and her passion for… Continue reading Ruth Ella Moore