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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      Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Notable African American Women." ThoughtCo, Dec. 31, 2017, thoughtco.com/notable-african-american-women-3528322. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, December 31). Notable African American Women. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/notable-african-american-women-3528322 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Notable African American Women." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/notable-african-american-women-3528322 (accessed January 22, 2018).