February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize the role of blacks in U.S. history. As many continue to reminisce on the last decade, let’s take a look back at some of the most influential female African Americans.
2. Tarana Burke- As a civil rights activist, Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo movement to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault in society. After working with survivors of sexual violence, Burke developed the nonprofit "Just Be" in 2003, which is an all-girls program for young black girls.
3. April Ryan- A veteran journalist, a political analyst for CNN and a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Ryan has been covering the U.S. presidency since the Clinton administration. She is currently the only black woman reporting on urban issues from the White House.
4. Oprah Winfrey- As a media executive, actress, TV producer and talk show host, Oprah Winfrey had the highest-rated television program of its kind in history from 1986-2011. Winfrey was the richest African American of the 20th century. She is known as the “Queen of All Media” as she became a political force in the 2008 presidential race, delivering about one million votes to Barack Obama’s campaign.
5. Meghan Markle- Former American actress, outspoken feminist, and gender inequality spokesperson, Meghan Markle has made her mark in several parts of the U.K.. Markle represented international charity organizations and received recognition for her fashion and style after releasing a clothing line in 2016. She became Duchess of Sussex after her marriage to Prince Harry. They recently announced their intention to step back from the royal family to pursue careers outside the family.
6. Mo’ne Davis- Former Little League baseball pitcher, Mo’ne Davis was one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and was the first girl to pitch a shutout in world series history. As the first African American girl to play in the Little League World Series, Davis was the first little leaguer to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
7. Williams Sisters- With a competitive sister rivalry, Venus and Serena Williams are two of the most noted professional tennis players. They became the first two players to play in four consecutive Grand Slam singles. By 2016, they collectively won 12 Wimbledon singles titles. Both players have won medals at the Summer Olympics and as a duo, they have completed the Career Golden Slam in doubles, twice.
8. Kimberly Bryant- As a former engineer, Kimberly Bryant dedicates her life to make sure black girls can make it in the STEM world. In 2011, she founded Black Girls Code to give young girls the opportunity to learn technology and coding skills. This organization has since trained more than 8,000 girls. After founding Black Girls Code, Bryant put on the list of "25 Most Influential African-Americans In Technology".
9. Simone Biles- With a total of 30 Olympic and World Champion medals, Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and third most decorated in the world. In her big debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Biles won individual gold medals in vault, floor and all-around. She is set to train for the 2020 Olympics in Indianapolis.
10. Kamala Harris- As a lawyer and politician serving as a U.S. Senator, Kamala Harris has supported single-payer healthcare, the DREAM Act and bans on assault rifles. Harris has lowered taxes for the working and middle class while raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent of Americans. She also ran as a 2020 presidential candidate before ending her campaign back in December 2019.