7 Of The Most Unrecognized Women in Black History

25 comments
February 23, 2012 ‐ By Erica Renee

Every February, in recognition of Black History Month, we’re reintroduced to influential people in our history who have left marks in their respective industries. These people were great. Their courage surpassed their fear and they held steadfast in their fight for justice and equality for the human race. Yet, while we’re constantly reminded of the Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Harriet Tubmans, Malcolms, and Rosa Parks of the past, there are many other black leaders that often go unrecognized. Their paths were just as difficult and their fights just as courageous.

So as Black History Month gets ready to come to a close, we would like to acknowledge seven of the least recognized women in black history. Some you may be familiar with by name, but not aware of their stories. Others you will be introduced to for the first time. These women paved the way for other women and blacks in general.

Check out our list of influential black women who may have missed the mainstream recognition, but nevertheless played a pivotal role in our history.

photo courtesy of zinnedproject.org

Ella Baker

While we’re constantly reminded of the civil rights leaders who worked in front, those who were behind the scenes often go unrecognized. Ella Baker is one of those people. An active civil rights leader in the 1930s, Ms. Baker fought for civil rights for five decades, working alongside W.E.B Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She even mentored well-known civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.

Ella Baker is quoted as saying, “You didn’t see me on television; you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

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  • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

    This is a great article with excellent information on real heroes.

  • Tammy

    What about the most important Black American Woman in my opinion…Mary McCloud Bethune!!! Remember, Dr. Height would not have been who she was if Mrs. Bethune did not found the National Council of Negro Women!!!!

    • phillipskification .

      Reread the title. UNRECOGNIZED women. Clearly Mary McLeod Bethune has an HBCU named after her. I think that’s recognition.

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  • Margaret

    I’d like to see Catherine Ferguson (1779-1854) mentioned as an unrecognized woman in Black History.

    • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Thanks for the information. Catherine Ferguson should be acknowledged heavily for her accomplishments too. Also, Ida B. Wells is one of my heroes as well.

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  • Sarah

    Madam C J Walker was the first female millionaire and a former slave…….and she was not on this list

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WSVFJLWBGUC6IZCIMBKVXSNRWY Dani

    Beautiful History and Women

    • Sarai

      MN thanks for the info. I was wondering is there any info regarding whether or not two of my faves: Zora Neale Hurston and Billie Holiday ever met? Just curious.

  • Yadi

     good profiles, good job!!

  • IllyPhilly

    LOVE IT!!!!!!

  • Pingback: You Should Know These Women in Black History |

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ash-Iman/663018948 Ash Iman

    It was nice to see some of my sorors of Delta Sigma Theta on this list. It would be interesting to see an article about the work of Black Greeks in the Civil Rights Movement. Great article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ash-Iman/663018948 Ash Iman

    It was nice to see some of my sorors of Delta Sigma Theta on this list. It would be interesting to see an article about the work of Black Greeks in the Civil Rights Movement. Great article.

  • Asantewaaspeasks

    Thanks for this.  I actually am a shamed that I had only read about Fannie Lou Hamer and Dorothy Heights.  There are so many unsung heroes.

  • Asantewaaspeasks

    Thanks for this.  I actually am a shamed that I had only read about Fannie Lou Hamer and Dorothy Heights.  There are so many unsung heroes.

  • Pymobwisc

    I thank you for bringing attention to issues pertaining to African American Blacks .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voVZ3hqZiX0&feature=colike

  • Sugar_Spice

    Thank you for sharing MN!  I am so thankful for all of these women & everyone who fought so that I can have a better life.  I just wish that we as a whole AA community can do these people who fought tirelessly for equal rights justice in our actions today. 

  • Sugar_Spice

    Thank you for sharing MN!  I am so thankful for all of these women & everyone who fought so that I can have a better life.  I just wish that we as a whole AA community can do these people who fought tirelessly for equal rights justice in our actions today. 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V6O2EBOSDDIC3EESW3JS22OYWA Vic

    Why is Dr. Francess Cress Welsing not on this list? Disgraceful. 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V6O2EBOSDDIC3EESW3JS22OYWA Vic

    Why is Dr. Francess Cress Welsing not on this list? Disgraceful. 

  • JN31

    Great article. I do think MN had the entire month to spotlight Black women in history. Hopefully it will continue after February