The Monthly Climb April - Black Women’s History Month
Black Women’s History Month:
April is Black Women’s History Month which is the conglomeration of the previous two months: Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Black Women’s History Month highlights the importance of acknowledging the intersections of these identities, and the contributions they have made to society. This month celebrates the pride that comes with being a Black woman as well as the progress made towards recognizing their achievements. Black women have had to fight twice as hard for their rights, their voices and stories which are often drowned out by almost every other demographic. Black trans femmes specifically are the most vulnerable demographic to violence. Despite all of these struggles, their history is rich and the fight for black women’s empowerment and quality is not over.
Black women do not have just one defining identity, they have multiple and some are subject to societal oppression, this is referred to as intersectionality. Examining these identities separately ignores intersectionality and the nuances that are extremely important to the discussion of black women’s lived experiences. Black women can experience misogyny and racism from all demographics, including black men and non-black women. This combination of racism and misogyny is called misogynoir, an entirely unique type of oppression that only black women face.
Black women are active contributors to many of the innovations made in science and technology, pop culture, and politics. One of the first black women to receive a patent for their design was Martha Jones. Jones received the patent for “Improvement to the Corn Husk, Sheller” in the year 1868. This invention made the process of husking, shelling, cutting up, and separating the corn husks a more simultaneous process through one operation.
In the year 1939, Hattie McDaniel won the very first Oscar won by not only a Black person, but a Black woman for her role in Gone with the Wind. She was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Mammy; therefore, she was granted special permission to attend this event that was an exclusively white only event. Her Oscar now resides at the historically Black college, Howard University. Furthering on in Hollywood, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.
In terms of politics, the first black woman appointed senator was in 1993 and fell to Carol Moseley Braun. In 2020, Kamala Harris was appointed to be the first female and Black Vice President of the United States. The most recent strife for Black women in the realm of politics was the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court Justice in 2022.
The contributions made by Black women are monumentally significant in scale and necessitate a much greater deal of recognition in American society. Despite facing an immense amount of oppression from white supremacists and systemic racism endemic governing our country, Black women have continually represented a steadfast example of resistance against injustice. Thus, in order to continue overcoming the destruction which institutional racism and misogyny has left on American life, it is absolutely necessary to actively promote the accomplishments and history of Black women in all aspects of American society. Through the highlighting of the achievements and work of Black women, communities of color are given a greater emphasis in the overall feminist movement.