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  • Writer's pictureErika Turner

BLACK WOMEN MAKING HISTORY



The end of Black History Month and almost the beginning of Women’s History Month allows us to seamlessly bridge the gap of celebrating our melanin sisters who are continuing to make history every single day.  While it’s hard to believe there’s a “first Black” anything in 2024, we are proud that there are those breaking down barriers and creating space for generations to come!  Here are 5 Black women history makers and game changers you should know.


Shania Shakura Muhammad

(Image Source: @smartgirlshania)

Imagine walking into your child’s 3rd grade classroom and seeing a teenager ready to teach.  16 years old, Shania Shakura Muhammad, made history by becoming the country’s youngest, full-time teacher!  At just 15, the Oklahoma native obtained her third college degree from HBCU, Langston University, and walked across the stage with her older siblings.  With literally her entire adult life ahead of her, Shania plans to add “public speaker” to her resume and for a noble reason.  In an interview with Koco_TV, the young scholar said: “We are the invisible Black scholars of this world.  We don’t have the press that the athletes, the artists, and the social media influencers do because we are unrecognized in society.” We're looking forward to seeing Shania change all that.


Britney Deas

(Image Source: @britneydeas)

On the first day of Black History Month this year, Britney Deas became the first Black woman to become the chief justice of the University of Florida Supreme Court.  The 25 year old is no stranger to firsts either.  As a student of USF, the Haitian-American was the first woman student body president, which broke the barriers for the two women who were appointed after her.  The law student told Alligator.org: “Breaking down barriers for Black women and women in general has always been profound and deeply, deeply meaningful to me...The most important aspect of representation is… knocking down self doubt."


Tracey Chapman

Even though, like most things in America, country music originated with African-Americans, we are in a time when some folks are big mad that Black excellence is making an imprint in the genre…but it’s happening anyway! After making a very rare appearance at this year’s Grammy Awards alongside Luke Combs who covered her 35 year old classic, “Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman became the first Black woman to win a Country Music Association award and according to Billboard, became the first Black woman as a song’s sole writer to top the chart since its debut in 1990.  That same year the now 59-year old told the San Diego Tribune, “The way I see it, there certainly was a time when people saw cultural backgrounds dictating how they created music. But I think at this point, with mass communications, people are exposed to all different styles of music and

culture. Your race or heritage is no longer relevant, or it’s as relevant as you choose to make it.”


Starr Andrews

     (Image Source: @starrandrews)

22-year old Starr Andrews is taking space and breaking history in the world of figure skating.  In 2022, the Los Angeles native, became the first African-American woman to win the Grand Prix medal.  Andrews has been defying odds in her young life, as she’s been breaking records while battling the heart condition, Supraventricular Tachycardia, since she was a young child.  When she stepped on the figure skating scene, the future star, literally and figuratively, made her mark by choosing songs like Willow Smith’s  “Whip My Hair,” and Mickey Guyton’s “Black Like Me.”  In an interview at her California home rink, Starr shared: “Making history is mind-blowing to me…It’s breaking barriers and paving a way for other young athletes..and letting them know it’s possible that they can do it.”


JESSICA WATKINS


(Image Source: @astro_watkins)

First there was Jemison, then Wilson and now Watkins.  In 2022, Jessica Watkins became the first Black woman to complete an International Space Station long-term mission.  The Stanford graduate and rugby player, was born in Maryland and attended high school in Colorado when her family relocated.   While she excelled at sports, her passion for geology led her down that path with all roads pointing to NASA, and the rest is history.  After spending 6 months in space, Watkins is slated to return in 2025.  On her accomplishments, Jessica has said,  “Growing up and throughout my career, it’s been really important for me to see people who look like me or have my background or similar experiences in the roles that I aspire to or contributing in ways that I aspire to contribute.  To the extent that I am able to do that for other young girls or young people of color, I’m grateful for the opportunity to return the favor.”

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