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Nannie Helen Burroughs

Frances E.W. Harper

Sissieretta Jones

Maggie Lena Walker

Ida B. Wells

of the 1800s

"The flowers absorb the sunshine because it is their nature. I give out melody because God filled my soul with it"

“Let woman choose her own vocation just as man does his. Let her go into business, let her make money, let her become independent, if possible, of man.”

“At times we feel wounded, hurt, disappointed, disgusted, resentful, sick of it all. At other times we feel skeptical, outraged, robbed, beaten. We chafe, hate, overlook. Then again we feel like ignoring, defying and fighting for every right that belongs to us as human beings.”

"We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul."

“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”

"We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men."

Emma Azalia Smith Hackley

Harriet Tubman

Lucy Parsons

Fannie Barrier Williams

Marie Selika Williams





of the 1800s

“I dare not cease to hope and aspire and believe in human love and justice".

"I am a race musicial misionary"

"I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me."

Due to her rendition of E. W. Mulder's "Polka Staccato", she was often called the "Queen of Staccato".


Berry, D. R. & Gross, K. N. (2020). A Black Women’s History of the United States. Beacon Press.JudyAnn Hargrove. (2021). A tribute to Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, Marian Anderson. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJJo0pKYYucZerlina on TikTok. (n.d.). TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@zerlinaschmerlina/video/706023896906106807936 Black Women who Changed American History. Chicago Tribune.https://www.chicagotribune.com/featured/sns-ws-black-women-changed-american-history-20211230-tq2rftmvkbamxg4iv5m5bfd67a-photogallery.htmlMusic From: Florence Price (1887). Symphony No. 1 in E minor: Movement III.Juba Dance (1932). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s4yY_A2A2k

Nannie Helen Burroughs1879-1961

Nannie Helen Burroughs was a leading educator, feminist, and suffragist in Washington, D.C. She founded a school for girls and women, the National Training School for Women and Girls. She served as the school's president until her death in 1961. She educated generations of Black students.

Memphis Free SpeechSouthern Horrors (1892)A Red Record (1895)

Works byIda B. Wells

Frances E.W. Harper1825-1911

Frances E.W. Harper was an author, poet, and activist. She was also suffragist. She organized the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was an abolitionist. She traveled across the United States and Canada giving speeches to anti-slavery organizations and advocating for women's rights and prohibition.

Lucy Parsons1851-1942

Lucy Parsons was born to her enslaved mother and a white enslaver. She was an anarchist who "defied resticive notions of race, gender, and sexuality" (Berry and Gross, 2020, pp. 120). She married Albert Parsons, a white Confederate veteran in 1872. They were known for their far left opinions on socialism, and working conditions. Her husband was hanged in 1886 after an explosion at one of their rallies.

Fannie Barrier Williams1855-1944

Fannie Barrier Williams was an influential educator and activist who was a staunch advocate for freed slaves in the South. She helped found organizations such as the National League of Colored Women, the National Association of Colored Women, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She also supported women's suffrage and in 1907, was the only African-American chosen to eulogize Susan B. Anthony at the 1907 National American Women Suffrage Association convention.

Maggie Lena Walker1864-1934

Maggie Lena Walker was the first Black woman to run a bank. She opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia. "A black women built, ran, and patronized the St, Luke bank, they helped construct and alternately deconstruct discourses about race, risk, and rights" (Berry and Gross, 2020, pp 113). She also boarded several women.

Ida B. Wells1862-1931

Ida B. Wells was born during the Civil War into an enslaved family. After the Emanicpation, she became a writer in Memphis and would sell her papers on trains. She was kicked off of a train in 1884, sued the railroad locally, and won. However, the railroad filed an appeal, which they won. She also assisted in founding the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896, as well as the NAACP.

Emma Azalia Smith Hackley1867-1922

Emma Azalia Smith Hackley was a woman of many talents: singer, teacher, journalist, and activist. Her mother was an escaped slave, who opened a school for other former enslaved people. She learned the piano and violin as a child, studied opera in Paris, and became a choir director. She edited the women's section of The Colorado Statesman, worked as an elementary school teacher, and gave singing lessons to such artists as Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes, and R. Nathaniel Dett. Co-founder of the Colored Women's League, she combatted racial discrimination all her life.

Performance byMarie Selika Williams

White House (1878)Philadelphia Academy of Music (1878)European Tour (1882-1885)Queen Victoria (1883)Carnegie Hall with Flora Batson and Sissieretta Jones (1896)

Tubman made 13 trips to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people. After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, she helped guide escapees farther north into Canada, and helped newly freed people find work. "I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger"

Journeys of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman1820-1913

Dubbed the "Moses of her people," Harriet Tubman is one of the most famous abolitionists ever. A slave herself, she escaped in 1849 and helped others gain freedom via the Underground Railroad for eight years. Such was her success that slave owners offered a reward of $40,000 for her capture or death. During the Civil War, Tubman was a spy for the Union Army, and she became an active supporters of women's suffrage

Sissieretta Jones1869-1933

Sissieretta Jones was born in Virginia to a pastor and singer in a church choir. She was an internationally acclaimed soprano. She became the first African-American to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1892. She also performed for four Presidents in the White House.

Marie Selika Williams1849-1937

Marie Selika Williams became the first Black artist to perform in the White House in 1878 for President Rutherford B. Hayes and was introduced by Marshall Fred Douglass. She was known as the "Queen of Staccato".From 1885 to 1891, Williams toured the United States with her husband, who took the stage name "Signor Velosko (the Hawaiian tenor)". She joined fellow Black singers Flora Batson and Sissieretta Jones for a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York on October 12, 1896.

She published her first volume of poetry when she was only 20. At the age of 67, she published "Iola Leroy", one of the first novels written by a Black woman

Books byFrances E.W. Harper

Dynamite: Plain Directions of Making ItDynamite Will Be Used in AmericaNo Masters, No Slaves

Works byLucy Parsons

After William Hannibal Thomas called Black women "lascivious by instinct and in bondage to physical pleasure", as well as lazy and materialistic "from purity to concubinage", Williams rebuttled by saying "how rare are the reported instances of colored men resenting any slur or insult upon their own women" (Berry and Gross, 2020, pp. 115)

Speaking Out on Black Beauty Culture

Richard III (1885)"Swanee River" La Taviata (1892)"Ocean, Thou Mighty Monster" (1893)"Old Folks at Home" (1894)

Performanes by "Black Patti"