5 Amazing People We’re Celebrating This Women’s History Month

5 Amazing People We’re Celebrating This Women’s History Month

March is the month we celebrate great women.

But so often, Women’s History month neglects to recognize so many women of color who have helped shaped history. Below is a list of five amazing women of color who made major impact on American history that you have not have known!


1. Ella Baker (1903-1986)

A civil rights and human rights activist, Ella Baker was a major figure in some the key civil rights organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She organized a meeting at Shaw University that led to the creation of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Not only was she a great activist, but she also helped support and counsel a generation of activists to continue the fight for social justice and equality.


2. Dolores Huerta (1930-present)

Cesar Chavez is the name most often associated with the National Farm Workers Association and workers’ rights, but this does not dimish the fact that Dolores Huerta was his fellow co-founder. Together they founded NFWA, which is now known as the United Farm Workers. She helped organize the 1965 Delano Grape Strike, fought for proper benefits and safety conditions for agricultural workers, and lobbied for many labor relations reforms. Her work earned her the Medal of Freedom in 1993.


3. Patsy Mink (1927-2002)

Mink originally wanted to be a doctor, but no medical school she applied to would accept women, so her solution to the problem was to go to law school. She decided that law school would help her create ways to make it mandatory for medical schools to accept women. Later, she became not only the first Asian American elected to Congress, but also the first woman of color. Much of the work around sexual assault the past few years has been because of the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education, which she authored and sponsored, and which was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.


4. Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010)

Wilma Mankiller was the very first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee nation, fight prejudices against women and inspire young Cherokee girls to strive for leadership positions. Her work helped re-prioritize and improve the education and healthcare system within the nation. Gloria Steinem once said of Mankiller, “as long as people like Wilma Mankiller carry the flame within them, centuries of ignorance and genocide can’t extinguish the human spirit.”


5. Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002)

Long before the days of Laverne Cox and Caitlin Jenner, there was Sylvia Rivera. Born Ray Rivera, she grew up on the streets of New York City, and eventually became a prominent drag queen and trans activist, serving as one of the founding members of two major organizations — the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. She also founded her own organization, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. A woman of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, she dedicated much of her life to helping support specifically homeless trans women of color. Rivera’s work supported many of the people who are marginalized and ignored in the fight for LGBTQ rights.


So, for when you’re in need of a little inspiration or the next subject of your school history project, don’t forget these kick-ass feminists! Of course our list couldn’t capture all the brilliant female power that have been part of American history. Which other unsung heroes do you think deserve recognition?