10 Inspiring Black Women in History


February marks Black History Month, a celebration of African-American men and women who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, and many other fields. Though it's important to acknowledge prominent women figures such as Harriet Tubman & Rosa Parks, there are countless other African-American women who have made history in many different ways and in a variety of fields. Here are ten of those women who have paved way for us and future generations.

Madam C.J. Walker (1867–1919)

 Madam C.J. Walker

She created specialized hair products for African American hair care after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss.

She was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.


Annie Malone (1877–1957)

 Madam C.J. Walker

She created chemical hair care products which helped African American women straighten their hair.

Along with being an inventor, Malone was the first recorded African American millionairess.

Madam C J walker was an alumni of the Annie Malone’s Poro training.


Mary Kenner (1912–2006)

Mary Kenner

She created the sanitary belt, the precursor to self-adhesive maxi pad but racial discrimination prevented it's adoption for 30 years.

Her invention attracted multiple feminine hygiene companies but it was rejected by most when they realized that she was an African-African-American woman 😢. Nevertheless, Mary went on to patent other household items including the bathroom tissue holder, a back washer that mounted on the wall of the shower, and the carrier attachment on walkers for disabled people.


Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922–1999)

Marie Van Brittan Brown

She created an early version of the modern home security system which was patented in 1969.

She rigged a motorized camera to record her home entryway and project images onto a TV monitor because she was feeling unsafe in her neighborhood. Also included in her setup was a two-way microphone in order to communicate with visitors without opening the door, as well as a panic button to notify police of any potential emergency in progress.


Sarah Boone(1832–1904)

Marie Van Brittan Brown

She was an African-American inventor who was awarded a patent for the ironing board.

she expanded upon the original ironing board, which was essentially a horizontal wooden block originally patented in 1858. Boone’s additions featured a narrower and curved design, making it easier to iron garments, particularly women’s clothing. Boone’s design would morph into the modern ironing board that we use today.


Miriam E. Benjamin(1861–1947)

Miriam E. Benjamin

She invented the Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels which was a precursor to the signaling system used on airplanes for passengers to seek assistance from flight attendants.

The chair would "reduce the expenses of hotels by decreasing the number of waiters and attendants, to add to the convenience and comfort of guests and to obviate the necessity of hand clapping or calling aloud to obtain the services of pages." The chair worked when the person sitting would press a small button on the back of the chair which would then send a signal to a waiting attendant. A light would illuminate as well, allowing the attendant to see which guest needed help


Anna Arnold Hedgeman(1899–after 1990)

Anna Arnold Hedgeman(

She was an author, politician, and educator who fought to end segregation among teachers of color. She was the first black woman to hold a mayoral cabinet position in New York


Ellen Eglin(1849–after 1890)

Ellen Eglin(

She invented a clothes wringer for the washing machine.

The clothes would move through the machine and it would press out all the water. It was illegal to receive a patent before 1865 so she got a patent after the abolition of slavery.

Eglin sold her invention for $18 😢. In an extract from an issue of Women Inventors, she explained why she sold her invention. “You know I am black and if it was known that a Negro woman patented the invention, white ladies would not buy the wringer. I was afraid to be known because of my colour in having it introduced into the market, that is the only reason.”


Gladys West(1930 –)

Glady West

West’s work contributed to the development of the GPS (Global positioning system). GPS technology is used across every industry from tracking humans to animals, stat navs, social media, Google Maps to your local delivery service all use GPS.


Shirley Ann Jackson (1946–)

Marie Van Brittan Brown

She led research to develop caller ID and call waiting functions while working at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the 1970s.

No one likes picking up a call from an unknown number, particularly if you’re already on the phone with someone else. This issue was solved by inventor and physicist Shirley Ann Jackson. The first black woman to ever earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The only thing that I can think of after writing this article is that, no human being is limited and that we do not have an excuse for not making an impact in our generation. What's your take away from this article?

*content from https://www.revolvy.com/, https://www.history.com/


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