All Articles Tagged "pioneer"
Since our country’s inception, black women have been instrumental in shaping the law of the land. They overcame racial and gender barriers to become lawyers and judges, while using their influence to enact laws for the greater good of society. One legal eagle – a former slave – never went to law school, but possessed the innate ability to present oral arguments before the Supreme Court. These trailblazers reshaped the legal landscape in their pursuit of liberty and justice for all.
Charlotte Ray has the distinction of being the first black female lawyer in the United States. In 1869, she applied for admission to Howard University’s Law School under the name “C.E. Ray” since the university discouraged women from applying to law school. When Ray graduated from Howard in 1872 with a degree in commercial law, she was the first black woman – and only the third female in the United States – to receive a law degree. That same year, she also became the first woman admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia.
Since the country’s inception, black women have been working tirelessly to advance the cause of medicine and eradicate sickness and disease. From the first black nurse to the first black female neurosurgeon, African-American women have solidified their place in medical history and left a legacy of firm determination, selfless compassion, and academic excellence.
Dr. Alexa Canady
In 1976, at age 26, Alexa Canady became the first black female neurosurgeon in the United States when she was accepted as a resident at the University of Minnesota. In 1986, after four years at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Canady became chief of the hospital’s neurosurgery department. In 1993, she received the American Women’s Medical Association President’s Award. Canady’s research in neurosurgical techniques resulted in the invention of a programmable antisiphon shunt, which is used to treat excess fluid in the brain. She shares a U.S. patent for the device with two other neurosurgeons.
If you’re a big hip hop historian, or were a fan of the duo Mickey & Sylvia, chances are, you knew a thing or two about Sylvia Robinson. If not, know that she was indeed the mother of hip hop.
Robinson passed away today at the age of 75, reportedly from congestive heart failure. She was a singer, songwriter and producer who sang in the group Mickey & Sylvia in the ’50s, and had a bit of solo success in the ’70s. But in 1979, after helping to found Sugar Hill Records (with her husband and Milton Malden), Robinson made the brave and historic decision of recording a hip-hop track, before it was called hip hop. That track would turn out to be the very successful and iconic “Rapper’s Delight.” After hearing a group of people rhyming over an instrumental in Harlem, she asked her son to find some lyricists, who would later turn out to be the Sugar Hill Gang, and have them rap over the instrumental for Chic’s “Good Times.” Golden idea! She would also go on to sign Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five From there, and with her help, they recorded “The Message.” Doors were opened and hip hop got its start thanks to a woman. This woman. Hopefully those who are elite in hip hop know her name, because who knows where they would be without her…
As OWN enters into its second week on the air, we’ve gotten a chance to reflect on what it means to have a 24-hour a day channel owned by Oprah Winfrey. And while we’ve only begun to explore what will be a media venture for years to come, scratching the surface we are getting to peek into what has helped make the great one so great.
For many of us, our journey to adulthood has gone parallel with Oprah’s rise to nearly omnipresent success. And while the old footage of her first ever national show seems dated, relatively speaking the empire Oprah has built has grown at an exponential rate. From the early years of flipped out hair and garish blush choices to dominance in the American culture, here are some of the reasons Oprah stays winning.