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Learning Center Experience
important part of African American History Month is celebrating the contributions
of African American women in improving human conditions. Although African
American women are the core of organized African American life, their influences
within the American culture are often unrecognized (“Black Women in America,”
n.d.). Many African American women have overcome challenges and worked hard to
escape labeling in the fight for justice and equality within the United States.
These women rose above adversity and opened doors for people of all races. African
American women’s contributions and achievements in education and
leadership have firmly defined their role in facilitating the development
of the America culture.
African American Women in Education
is a strong attribute among many African American women due to their ability to
rise above challenges and master goals (Green, 2005). The road to establishing
change is based upon breaking barriers and on building bridges to success. Education
is the catalyst of change and self-improvement. In 2009, the National Center
for Education and Statistics published statistical data on degrees conferred by
sex and race. According to the data published, African American females earned:
African American women who were the first to achieve major education
Tubman is considered one of the first African American female leaders due to
her contributions in leading slaves to freedom and for her involvement with the
Underground Railroad. Rather than leading herself to freedom, Tubman fought
hard to end organized slavery and lead over 300 slaves to freedom (Africans in
America, n.d.). Many women have used Tubman’s focus of changing the world and
have opened doors through their leadership.
C.J. Walker was a noted business leader developed hair care and beauty products
and is regarded as the first African American female millionaire. Like Tubman,
Walker was an innovator—she motivated her entire family to join the hair care
business and become self-sufficient. She also inspired the nation to focus on
their external gift of beauty (Bundles, 2008). In today’s global market, African
American female leaders are media moguls, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, such as:
Hughes—Founder of Radio One, the largest African American owned and operated
broadcast company. Hughes also owns 51 percent of TV One television network. Despite
many challenges, Hughes kept her company alive and has inspired a nation of women
to hold on to their dreams of success (Chung, 2012).
Winfrey—Media mogul and the first to become a major shareholder in a television
network. Winfrey helped launch the careers of many talk show hosts and
television personalities such as Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus,
Suze Orman, Rhonda Bryne, and Bob Greene (“Oprah’s Legacy,” 2011).
G. Brewer—First female and first African American to become a CEO of a Wal-Mart
division. Brewer’s current focus is on improving customer service and value in
service (Desmond–Harris, n.d.).
D. Saunders—Current president and COO of M&F Bancorp (Desmond–Harris, n.d.).
M. Burns—CEO of Xerox Corporation and the chair of the President’s Export
Council. Her philosophy is that hard work demands elevated status
by African American women date back to the founding of the country and continue
to rise today. Their contributions in education and leadership have inspired
the nation, and they also have a firm imprint in the entertainment industry. Despite
many challenges, these accomplishments were earned with determination and a
willingness to change.
in America. (n.d.). People and events: Harriet Tubman. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1535.html
women in American history and culture: The 2012 annual black history theme. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.asalh.org/files/ExecutiveSummary2012.pdf
A. (2008). Madam C.J. Walker: Building a business empire. New York, NY: The
J. (2012). Cathy Hughes radio one: From teen mom to media mogul. Retrieved from
J. (n.d.). Black: Female and in charge. The
Root. Retrieved from http://www.theroot.com/multimedia/black-women-ceos
A.L. (2005). Sisters of the academy: Emergent black women scholars in higher education.
New York, NY: Stylus Publishing.
of Blacks in Higher Education. (2013). Key
events in black higher education: JBHE chronology of
major landmarks in the progress of African Americans in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.jbhe.com/chronology/
Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Fast
facts: Degrees conferred by sex and race. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72
G. (2011, May). Oprah’s legacy: Drs. Oz and Phil, Rachael Ray and much, much
more. Chron. Retrieved from http://www.chron.com/life/article/Oprah-s-legacy-Drs-Oz-and-Phil-Rachael-Ray-and-1394189.php
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