The Women Behind our Black History Month Gear
At My Pride Apparel, we are dedicated to honoring the culture and legacy of Black women. Our products make a statement without you ever having to speak a word. One of our most popular items is our Black History Month (BHM) gear. Our BHM gear reminds Black women to stand tall and look to our ancestors and leaders.
Our BHM sweatshirt is adorned with the words:
- INSPIRE like Michelle
- LEAD like Harriet
- WRITE like Maya
- REPRESENT like Maxine
- BUILD like Madam C.J.
- CHALLENGE like Rosa
- SPEAK like Sojourner
- SERVE like Condoleeza
You likely recognize some of these names, but maybe you aren’t sure who all of them are, or their contributions to history and society. Below, we offer an overview of each of these powerful Black women.
Michelle Obama is best known as the First Lady of President Barack Obama (2009-2017). But the attorney-turned-First Lady is much more than that role. She is also highly educated and works with a variety of nonprofit organizations. She is an advocate for women, including education, poverty awareness, nutrition, and physical activity. She is also a supporter of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage rights.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery but escaped to freedom in 1849. She then went on to become the most famous “conductor” of the Underground Railroad – a network of people who offered aid to escaped slaves from the South. Tubman helped hundreds of families obtain freedom through the secret network of safe houses. During the Civil War, she was also a spy for the Union Army. She risked her life on a daily basis to help others find freedom.
Maya Angelou is a well-known author, poet, and civil rights activist. Over her 50 year writing career she received dozens of awards and reached millions of people. Angelou became a respected spokesperson for Black men and women. Her writing is deeply personal and reflects on life as a Black woman in the United States. Aside from her writing, Angelou is known for her relationship with Malcolm X and her assisting him with his civil rights efforts.
Maxine Waters is a congresswoman and powerful advocate for the rights of women, children, and people of color. She is often considered one of the most powerful women in politics. Waters was elected in 2018 to her fifteenth term as a congresswoman in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first African-American, and the first woman, to be Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. She is also a member of organizations that support legislation for Alzheimer’s disease, civil rights, and putting an end to poverty.
Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was the first “Black woman millionaire in America”. She made her fortune by creating a homemade line of hair care products specifically for Black women. Her business began due to her own experience with hair loss and quickly became well-known. She used her fortune to help others, contributing to scholarships at the Tuskegee Institute especially for women. She also donated large portions of her wealth to the Black YMCA and the NAACP.
Rosa Parks is best known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. She was arrested. Her action led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ended with the Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public transit systems was unconstitutional. Parks’ bravery would lead her to work with civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. She also served on the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Sojourner Truth has been ranked in the top 100 most influential Americans of her time. She was an abolitionist, Civil War recruiter for the Union, and women’s rights activist. In 1827, Truth became the first Black woman to go to court against a white man and win. She was fighting for her son, who had been sold into slavery by her previous owner. In 1851 she gave a speech called “Ain’t I a Woman?”, which gained her notoriety. During the Civil War, she helped the Union Army recruit Black troops. After the war, she attempted to secure land for former slaves, but was challenged. She was named one of the most “Significant Americans of All Time” in 2014.
Condoleeza Rice is a well known American diplomat and politician. She served as Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, and has also been a National Security Adviser. She is also a professor and political scientist. She is also the first woman and African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University. She is well-known for her work on gender equality and women’s rights.