2020 Embrace Ambition Summit | Tory Burch Foundation

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Black women have played a critical role in shaping history from politics and science to literature and the arts. We have so many strong activists, leaders and changemakers to thank for making the world a better place. Trailblazers like Sojourner Truth and Shirley Chisholm were prominent voices in the civil and women’s rights movement, while mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson played a vital role in advancing NASA’s early space missions.

Despite facing systemic discrimination and barriers to education, Black women have made significant contributions to health and medicine. Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cells were used without her consent in groundbreaking medical research, has been called the “mother of modern medicine” due to her cells’ unique ability to replicate indefinitely. Her cells have been used to develop vaccines, cancer treatments and other life-saving medical procedures.

These Black women weren’t the only history-makers to defy the odds. In honor of Black History month, let’s look at a few hidden figures that have made a tremendous impact on society with their historical contributions.


Audley Moore

Audley “Queen Mother” Moore (1898-1997) was an African American civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist. Born in New Iberia, Louisiana, Moore moved to Harlem in the 1920s, where she became involved in various political and social justice organizations.

Moore is perhaps best known for her advocacy of reparations for slavery. In 1957, she founded the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, which was dedicated to fighting for the rights of African people and seeking reparations for the transatlantic slave trade. She also played a key role in the formation of the Republic of New Afrika, which sought to establish an independent Black nation in the southeastern United States.

Moore was a powerful orator and organizer, and she continued to be active in the struggle for civil rights and Black liberation throughout her life. She was known as the “Queen Mother” by many in the African American community, a title that recognized her leadership and wisdom. Moore’s activism and advocacy paved the way for future generations of Black activists and leaders, and her legacy continues to inspire people today.

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