100 Black Women Who’ve Made History During Our Lifetimes

Princella Talley
7 min readFeb 2, 2022
Amanda Gorman. By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States — 210120-D-WD757–2531, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The celebration of Black History Month is synonymous with famous Black leaders of the past who revolutionized history and inspired the world.

While the posthumous acclaim that centers the work and lives of people like Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks is rightfully a tradition, Black history is more than a recollection of a few Black people’s historic fights against injustice. In fact, Black history is being made every year across diverse career fields and positions of influence.

Educators also say there’s more to Black history than just teaching about oppression and suffering, and that curriculums need to incorporate lessons on Black “agency, joy, love and global connection with Blackness around the world.” — LaGarrett King, Director of Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education at the University of Missouri

This list cites headlines featuring some (but definitely not all) of the historic achievements of Black women during our lifetimes, most of whom have made history within the past 10 years.

  1. Aicha Evans: Meet the Black Woman CEO of the Tech Startup That Amazon Just Bought For $1.2 Billion
  2. Adut Akech: The South Sudanese refugee making fashion history
  3. Alex Wek: Meet Alek Wek, first model to influence the fashion industry with her black beauty
  4. Alicia Boler Davis: Alicia Boler Davis Becomes Amazon’s First Black Woman Senior Vice President
  5. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi (founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement): Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History
  6. Allyson Felix: Allyson Felix becomes most decorated U.S. track athlete in Olympic history with 11 medals
  7. Amanda Gorman: Amanda Gorman makes history, brings poetry into mainstream culture
  8. Amber Ruffin: Meet Amber Ruffin: First Black Woman Writer in Late Night Talk Show History
  9. Andrea Jenkins: Andrea Jenkins makes history as 1st openly transgender city council president
  10. Audra McDonald: Six-Time Tony Winner Audra McDonald Makes History (in Two Ways) with Lady Day Win