top of page

Feminist History - Five Female Firsts

Here's five women you should know about because we should never forget about the women that paved the way for where we are today, especially black women - because their achievements have been gained without the privilege a white woman would have had amongst a history of racism and segregation.


1. Rosa Parks


On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in a white-priority area of segregated Montgomery, Alabama. This led to the desegregation ofMontgomery buses, a turning point in the US civil rights movement. Despite her significance it is important to note that fifteen year old Claudette Colvin had refused to give up her seat nine months prior. Rosa's involvement in the NAACP meant her actions were more widely publicised .She then became the first woman to lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol.


Rosa famously said


I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free...so other people would also be free


2. Claudette Colvin


Claudette Colvin was the first black woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white person on a segregated bus in Alabama– nine months before Rosa Parks. The teenager's act of defiance influenced Parks and the wider civil rights movement. She bravely refused to give up her seat, saying, "It's my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it's my constitutional right."

I could not move because history had me glued to my seat


3. Madam C.J. Walker


On 25 May 1919 Madam CJ Walker, who's birth name was Sarah Breedlove, was recorded the first self made female millionaire in the US. She was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. Her success came after she developed a line of beauty care products for black women. She gave back to the black community, including building community centres, endowing scholarship funds and establishing educational centres.


I got my start by giving myself a start

4. Elizabeth Blackwell


The first female to qualify as a doctor in America and the first woman to have her name entered in the British General Medical Council's medical register in 1859. She was a pioneer, instrumental in many campaigns for reform, launching numerous innovative health schemes and a tireless worker for health care.


If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodelled.


5. Maggie Lena Walker


First woman to establish and serve as president of a US bank in 1903, Maggie Lena Walker was one of the foremost female business leaders in the United States, paving the way for African Americans and women in business. Walker’s entrepreneurial skills transformed black business practices while also inspiring other women to enter the field.


Let woman choose her own vocation just as man does his


Va Va Womb feminist handbook, coming soon!


26 views0 comments
bottom of page