Notable African American Women

Women in Black History

Women of the civil rights movement, 2015, including Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Women of the civil rights movement, 2015, including Charlayne Hunter-Gault.  Win McNamee/Getty Images

An ever-expanding list of resources for learning about famous African American women and other women of Black History. You'll find women who are famous and women who should be better-known, from early America and slavery to the 21st century, including the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement. See also:

Famous African American Women: A - Z

Marian Anderson: singer

Regina Anderson: librarian, playwright

Maya Angelou: singer, actress, activist, writer, poet

Lil Hardin Armstrong: jazz musician

Pearl Bailey: singer, performer, stage, film, special ambassador

Josephine Baker: entertainer

Ida B. Wells Barnett: see Ida B. Wells-Barnett below.

Daisy Bates: journalist, civil rights activist

Mary McLeod Bethune: educator, racial justice activist, New Deal government official

Marita Bonner: writer, educator

Gwendolyn Brooks: poet, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1950, poet laureate of Illinois

Hallie Quinn Brown: educator, lecturer, clubwoman, reformer

Marjorie Lee Browne: educator, mathematician

    Nannie Helen Burroughs: educator and activist

    Shirley Chisholm: politician

    Bessie Coleman: aviator

    Angela Davis: radical black activist, educator, philosopher

      Ruby Dee: actress, activist

      Henriette Delille: founded religious order

      Alice Dunbar-Nelson: writer, teacher; Harlem Renaissance figure

      Marian Wright Edelman: lawyer, educator, activist, reformer, children's advocate, administrator

      Elizabeth ("Old Elizabeth"): preacher, emancipated slave, autobiographer

      Myrlie Evers: activist

      Jessie Redmon Fauset: poet; Harlem Renaissance figure

      Charlotte Forten: see Charlotte Forten Grimké below

      Althea Gibson: tennis player

      Angelina Weld Grimke: writer

      Charlotte Forten Grimké: educator, writer, anti-slavery activist, civil rights activist, clubwoman

      Fannie Lou Hamer: activist, sharecropper

      Lorraine Hansberry: playwright

      Lil Hardin: jazz musician

      Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: writer, abolitionist

      Anna Arnold Hedgeman: educator, civil rights activist, politician, government office-holder, writer, feminist

      Dorothy Height: activist, reformer, organizer

      Sally Hemings: slave, likely mistress of Thomas Jefferson and mother of several of his children

      Billie Holiday: singer

      Ariel Williams Holloway: musician, pianist, educator, poet

      bell hooks: writer, theologian, philosopher

      Lena Horne: singer, actress

      Zora Neale Hurston: writer, folklorist, anthropologist

      Mae Jemison: astronaut, physician

      Georgia Douglas Johnson: poet; Harlem Renaissance figure

      Barbara Jordan: politician

      Florynce Kennedy: lawyer, activist

      Jackie Joyner-Kersee: athlete

      Nella Larsen: writer, nurse

      Edmonia Lewis: sculptor

      Audre Lorde: writer, poet, activist, librarian

      Wangari Maathai: educator, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner

      Toni Morrison: writer; winner, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1993

      Eleanor Holmes Norton: lawyer, educator, politician

      Odetta: singer

      Rosa Parks: civil rights activist, social reformer, racial justice advocate

      Lucy Parsons: anarchist, writer

      Leontyne Price: opera singer

      Charlotte Ray: lawyer, teacher

      Bernice Johnson Reagon: singer, activist

      Wilma Rudolph: athlete, runner (track and field)

      Augusta Savage: sculptor, teacher

      Ntozake Shange: playwright, writer

      Nina Simone: singer

      Maria W. Stewart: lecturer, abolitionist, writer

      Mary Church Terrell: activist, reformer

      Sojourner Truth: lecturer, escaped slave, abolitionist, women's rights activist

      Harriet Tubman: escaped slave, Underground Railroad conductor, abolitionist, women's rights activist, spy, soldier

      Cicely Tyson: actress

      Wyomia Tyus: athlete

      A'Lelia Walker: business executive, arts patron

      Alice Walker: writer, activist

      Maggie Lena Walker: business executive, bank president

      Madam C J Walker (Sarah Breedlove Walker): business executive, inventor

      Margaret Murray Washington: educator, clubwoman

      Faye Wattleton: nurse, activist, Planned Parenthood president

      Ida B Wells-Barnett: journalist, activist

      Phillis Wheatley: poet, slave

      Oprah Winfrey: reporter, talk show host, business executive

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      Your Citation
      Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Notable African American Women." ThoughtCo, Dec. 31, 2017, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, December 31). Notable African American Women. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Notable African American Women." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 22, 2018).