5 Black Women You Didn't Learn About In History Class

At trèStiQue, we stand in alliance with our Black employees and community and we want to continue to educate ourselves on Black history in the United States. It's common in classrooms for not much time to be dedicated to learning the contributions of the Black community, so we wanted to use our platform to amplify their stories and achievements. Be inspired by 5 Black female trailblazers, who made their mark on our country's history!

Madame CJ Walker

Madame C.J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. The daughter of former enslaved laborers, she is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. While searching for a cure for her own hair loss, she created a hair treatment that would completely change the Black hair care industry. She opened a factory and beauty school, and trained sales beauticians (who were called "Walker Agents”) to help create career opportunities for thousands of Black women. She used her position to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans and for an end to lynching. Among her many philanthropic endeavors, Walker contributed to the YMCA and NAACP’s efforts.

 

Lena Richards

Lena Richard

Lena was a trained chef, acclaimed cookbook author and the first black woman to host her own television cooking show during the Jim Crow era. She owned many small restaurants, a catering company and a cooking school, and became a frozen food entrepreneur. Among her many accomplishments, she self-published a cookbook reclaiming 300 recipes that were taken without permission and published by white cookbook authors. She also opened her cooking school to educate young black people with the culinary and hospitality skills needed for employment and to push for a better financial position.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe  was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. She was gospel’s first real hitmaker, its first crossover artist, first national star and was considered the "Godmother of Rock and Roll". Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash were also all inspired by Tharpe.

 

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an American-born French entertainer, French Resistance agent, and civil rights activist. In the 1920s she moved to France and soon became one of the most successful black performers in French history. Baker’s career illustrates the ways entertainers can use their platforms to change the world. When Adolf Hitler and the German army invaded France during World War II, Baker joined the fight against the Nazi regime by passing on secrets she heard while performing in front of the enemy. When she returned to the U.S., she was confronted with discrimination but she often refused to perform to segregated audiences, which usually forced club owners to integrate for her shows. Her activism was recognized by the NAACP. 

 

Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman was an American athlete that specialized in high jump and was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she competed in her first Olympic Games in 1948. Always a supporter of athletes, she formed the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to young athletes and helps former Olympic athletes adjust to life after the games. After she retired, she taught, coached, and became involved in the Job Corps. 

 

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