Black History Month: Celebrating the female trailblazers

February is Black History Month, and we are kicking off the month by getting to know five lesser-known female trailblazers that, without their courage, voice, perseverance, and bravery, we would not be where we are today! Help me in getting to know and honor these amazing women who help take a rocket to space, helped save lives, and much more! 

  •  Dr. Patricia Bath was an ophthalmologist who invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment; in 1986, she became the first Black woman doctor to receive a medical patent. 
    • What’s a patent? 
    • What’s an ophthalmologist? 
  • Annie Lee Cooper, a voting rights activist, punched out a white sheriff who struck her as she tried to register to vote in Selma in 1965.
    • What is significant about the city of Selma? 
    • When did women get the right to vote? 
  •  Pauli Murray, a feminist and civil rights icon and the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest, in the first year that any women were ordained by that church
    • What was the civil rights movement? 
    • What does ordained mean? 
  • Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.
    • How did her calculations impact the success of the mission? 
    • What year was she awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom?  
  • Shirley Chisholm, during the racially contentious period in the late '60s, became the first Black woman elected to Congress
    • What city and district was she elected? 
    • How did she change the food and nutrition programs in the US? 

Don't stop here! We challenge you to keep learning about amazing black leaders who have shaped the world we live in today in extraordinary ways. 

[photo credit: The New York Times]