The stories, accomplishments and lives of Black women have never traditionally had a place of importance in mainstream history. For centuries, achievements reached by Black women have only ever been celebrated in the Black community, amongst those who knew how big of a deal it was. But as the years have gone by, society has learned not only to embrace these milestones, but finally celebrate the noteworthy accomplishments Black women have brought to the table: Althea Gibson was the first Black woman to compete in the Wimbledon Championships (and win, paving the way for Venus and Serena Williams); Michelle Obama became the first Black First Lady of the United States, who used her platform to spread knowledge about equality, nutrition and general kindness.
But before the world knew the Gibsons, the Obamas and the Harrises, there were the Chisholms, the Hamers and the Mahoneys. From as far back as the 1800s to present day, Black women have been shaking up societal norms and becoming vanguards for positions now deemed normal for a Black woman today to have. These seven women took admirable steps in their respective fields over the last 141 years to become medical experts, politicians, inventors and the like so the Black woman of today could follow their dreams as well.