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African women have been at the center of historical movements for centuries.

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African American Womanhood: A Stu Covering the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, and up to the beginning of World War I, this work examines the way these women expressed their self-identities.

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Much has been written about being the year of the woman. What we are is truth tellers, change agents, and troublemakers—in the best way.

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And advocating. Standing on the shoulders of a long line of resourceful and resilient black women.

25 black women who are changing the world

And preparing the next generation to take on the mantle with their own kind of activism. There are, of course, some big names who are without a doubt changing the world. You cannot speak of black women who are change-makers in this country without Oprah Winfreywhose contributions are too numerous to count but whose recent Times Up speech at the Golden Globes got the whole country talking and launched a million wishes for a presidential run.

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But there are also countless women beyond the headlines doing the work every day without any of the fanfare. Our cover subject Tarana Burke is a perfect example.

Side effects of the “strong independent black woman” myth

And that stayed with me for a very long time. But what I am is a survivor and I have at least the knowledge of what I would have needed when I was that age.

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Purpose is a common denominator across the black women on our list. Like Burke, so many of them saw what was lacking in their communities or vowed to give black girls the precious resources that would have made a difference for them growing up and stepped up to fill the void.


Sisterhood is another tie that binds. Recognizing the power of education to lift families out of poverty, she founded Leap Year, an Atlanta-based nonprofit with the mission of helping low-income and first-generation college students succeed. As executive director, she oversees the program—which had three fellows in its pilot year and four in its current cohort—which puts high school graduates through a gap year filled with tutoring, confidence building, and paid service to prepare them academically and socially for higher education.

She also founded Zyrobotics L. The award-winning Nigerian author is changing the conversation about feminism, especially as it relates to African women. She has written two memoirs about her own experience; her first, a best-seller, was the first biography from the perspective of a young trans person.

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And she started the hashtag GirlsLikeUs to foster a sense of community online for trans women. This historian is making sure that blacks in America always have access to the rich stories of both well-known and unsung members of our community.

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As the founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, she he the largest national collection of African American video oral histories on record. Now in her second year as a U. She founded Black Girls Code in to expose girls of color ages 7 to 17 to STEM disciplines and give them opportunities to learn technology and coding skills at workshops and after-school programs.

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The organization has since trained more than 8, girls and now has 13 chapters across the U. Photo: Rayon Richards. The president and CEO of the W. The actress, producer, and screenwriter made history last year as the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her work on Master of Nonefor an episode based on her own experience coming out as a lesbian.

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The best-selling author, columnist, podcaster, and veteran blogger behind Awesomely Luvvie serves up biting social commentary with a big side of humor. This prima ballerina, the first African American woman to become a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, has shattered barriers in the world of ballet and leapt off the stage to become her own brand.

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Her accomplishments on the tennis court are unparalleled: 39 Grand Slam titles; consecutive weeks ranked No. The movement was an outgrowth of Just Be Inc. At the forefront of the Black Travel Movement, this creator of digital publishing brand Travel Noire wanted to make international jetsetting more relatable and accessible to people of color and to engage a community of black travelers who helped each other with tips, tools, and the discovery of new destinations. Reaching more than 2 million travelers a month, with more thanfollowers on Instagram alone, the boutique company was acquired by Blavity last year.

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