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Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry (Photo courtesy of The Root)

Celebrating Black history only in February, as if it is separate from American history is both a blessing and a curse of the legacy of race relations in the United States. Some look at February as the month we have to celebrate Black history as an obligatory gesture attempting to right the long and treacherous legacy of wrongs against people of color. However, the richness and importance of Black culture and the celebration of its heroes is categorically more meaningful and important to the building of this nation than we are taught in schools. So, I look at February as the month to celebrate greatness with an illuminating spotlight.

Today we celebrate The Activist. Specifically, the Black, queer, woman activist.

U.S. history is “glittered” with the fabulousness of Black queerness. People who were unapologetic in their demand for change. These activists paved the way for change with a boldness and a fire that fuels so many of our modern day activists.

Women like

  • Journalist and early feminist Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Playwright and journalist Lorraine Hansberry
  • The iconic Angela Davis who is easily one of the most influential women activist in this century
  • Ruth Ellis, the first woman to own her own printing business and the name sake of the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit
  • Alice Walker, the revolutionary author of The Color Purple, among a litany of literary gold
  • Audre Lorde, prolific author and Black feminist icon
  • Marsha P. Johnson, who with Sylvia Rivera, was a key player in the Stonewall Riots and a mother of trans visibility
  • Pat Parker, author, speaker, revolutionary and leading voice on Black queer love and intimacy
  • Barbara Jordan, the first woman of color to be elected to the U.S. House of representatives and to deliver the keynote speech at the DNC
  • Margaret Sloan-Hunter, a writer and prominent early feminist
  • Monica Roberts, writer and founder of TransGriot

All of these women were driven by the knowledge that their time here mattered in a huge way. Their life, talent and words would be food to nourish movements of liberation from oppression and inequality.  These are the women who would lead the path of future activists and world changers.

Women like

Just as the past paves the road forward, these young activists pave the way for change. It is these women who carve out space for our future voices. We appreciate the legacy you are leaving and we celebrate you every day.