Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges are two of five influential and game-changing Black women who are 2024 inductees into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
The 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion and the civil rights pioneer were added Nov. 16 to a group of eight previously listed inductees, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to her record-breaking tennis career, Williams is being recognized by the National Women’s Hall of Fame as the first athlete to receive the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America or CFDA. The 42-year-old mother of two achieved the latter honor in early November — over a year after she stepped away from tennis.
Bridges’ 2024 induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame comes after decades of advocating for civil and educational rights. The iconic was only six years old in November 1960 when she bravely became the first Black student to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The trailblazer established her nonprofit, the Ruby Bridges Foundation, in 1999 with a commitment to end racism and support younger generations. The civil rights leader, 69, has published several children’s books and recently celebrated this year’s annual Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day in honor of her history-making footsteps.
There are ten total 2024 inductees — including several that are posthumous. Other prestigious Black women to be forever memorialized during next year’s ceremony include:
- Patricia Era Bath, the first Black woman to receive a medical patent
- Kimberlé Crenshaw, a pioneering scholar, and critical race theory expert who coined the term “intersectionality” in 1987
- Loretta Ross, a leader in academia and activism, is known for her feminist-forward approach to reproductive rights being human rights.
Elouise Pepion Cobell, aka Yellow Bird Woman, is an activist on the inductee list who fought for the rights of Native Americans. The 2024 group also includes pathologist and disease treatment pioneer Anna Wessels Williams, transgender studies pioneer and author Sandy Stone, Jewish feminist theologian Judith Plaskow, and White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack author Peggy McIntosh.
The induction ceremony will occur in New York City in March 2024, during Women’s History Month.
“The 2024 class of inductees are scientists, activists, performers, and athletes who are the changemakers of today and inspiration for the women of tomorrow,” said Jennifer Gabriel, the National Women’s Hall of Fame’s chief executive. “Their dedication, drive, and talent got them here, and we’re thrilled to honor them on the national stage.”
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