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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Black influential women who you probably didn’t learn about in school


Women’s History Month is the perfect time to highlight amazing women who excel at what they do. In the Black community, there are countless women who have made significant changes that have and will affect future generations.

There are many Black women who have been pioneers for equal and adequate education for their communities. These women were on the front lines fighting for what’s right, but they aren’t mentioned in school curriculums like their white counterparts, such as Susan B. Anthony or Jane Addams.

There are many Black women in education you should know. 

Barbara Smith is the ultimate feminist and member of the LGBTQ community. She’s known for her work as a feminist, but she is also a scholar, an author and a business owner. Smith recognized there was a need for a platform for women of color to tell their stories, so she created one.

Smith became the co-founder of the first independent press — Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press — serving women of color and publishing their writing. She gave a voice to women who were silenced.

Jane Bolin was a woman determined to shatter the glass ceiling. She was the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first Black woman to join the New York City Bar Association and the first Black female judge in the U.S.

Bolin was also known for doing volunteer work in schools and throughout her community. Representation matters. Bolin showed Black women in the U.S. that any goal they set is attainable, even if they have to be the first to ever achieve the goal.

Gladys Hedgepeth and Berline Williams are two determined Black mothers who fought for equality in education for Black people and won. The Hedgepeth-Williams v. Board of Education case was the start of a movement that alleviated segregation and discrimination within school systems and public facilities according to Trenton Daily.

Hedgepeth and Williams were residents of Trenton, New Jersey. After their children were turned away from every junior high school in the city due to their race, they decided enough was enough.

Black children deserve the same education being offered to everyone else, and these women made certain they got it. In honor of these women, there is now a middle school named Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School in Trenton, New Jersey. 

These are just a few great examples of influential Black women throughout modern history. Let us honor these women who fought hard for their community and paved the way for generations to come.

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