Black History Month 2021
Happy Black History Month! Or, Happy African American History Month! Whichever you prefer, I hope that you take an opportunity to learn more about the accomplishments of Black folks in the United States (and beyond). In honor of Black History Month 2021, Sentimental Moodz is celebrating by compiling a list of 20 Black American women who made history in 2020.
Black History Month Origins
Despite my belief that Black history is synonymous with American history, this thought process is in the minority. The disparities in both history collection and telling of Black contributions throughout the decades have made it essential to call attention to the accomplishments of African Americans. In 1926, Carter G. Woodsen believed in the importance of recognizing the contributions of African Americans nationally and succeeded in establishing a nationwide Black History Month celebration (biography.com). Since its inception, a universal theme has been assigned to guide and focus the nation’s learning (asalh.org).
Black History Month 2021 Theme
In keeping the tradition of its founder, Carter G. Woodsen, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) selects a theme for Black History month each year (asalh.org). For 2021, the theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity (asalh.org). The age old adage of, if momma’s not happy, no one is happy, is the inspiration for our 20 Black Women Who Made History in 2020. As you can agree, there is no family without a mother in the mix somewhere. Even in non-conventional families, the nurturing spirit of the mother manifests itself somewhere!
20 Black Women Who Made History in 2020
The year 2020 was one for the history books. We began the year entering into a worldwide pandemic and ended the year electing the first Black woman to the office of the Vice Presidency. Despite the unprecedented time 2020 brought us all, Black women still found a way to make some Black history achievements. Below is our list of 20 Black Women Who Made History in 2020:
1. Arisha Hatch- Vice President, Chief of Campaigns and Director of the PAC at Color Of Change. The year 2020 was a great awakening for many in the United States with regard to the challenges between police and Black people. Color of Change has been at the forefront of helping to move the Black community (and other communities of color) forward with its powerful advocacy. Their petitions have empowered many and have helped to facilitate change. Learn more about Arisha Hatch here.
2. Stacey Abrams-Founder, Fair Fight. Stacey Abrams was at the center of the 2020 Presidential Election with her efforts of getting the vote out in her state of Georgia. History will reward Ms. Abrams with being at the center of turning Georgia a traditionally “red” state, to “blue” in the 2020 election. Stacey also helped to elect the state of Georgia’s first Black and Jewish Senators. Learn more about Stacey Abrams here.
3. LaTosha Brown- Co-Founder, Black Voters Matter. LaTosha Brown’s Black Voters Matter fund gained notoriety in 2017 during the 2017 election cycle. The Black southern based civic engagement organization played a huge role in voter registrations and turnout during the 2020 presidential elections. Learn more about LaTosha Brown here.
4. Patrisse Cullors- Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter movement went global in 2020 after the televised police killing of George Floyd. Black Lives Matter led a nation (and other countries) wide summer of protest in an effort to bring about police reform. Learn more about Patrisse Cullors here.
5. Alicia Garza- Co- Founder, Black Lives Matter. Learn more about Alicia Garza here.
6. Opal Tometi- Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter. Learn more about Opal Tometi here.
7. Issa Rae, Media Mogul. Issa Rae bursts on the main stage in 2016 with her show, in which she also stars, Insecure. However, Issa has since acted in, created and directed both movies and television shows. Ms. Rae also has a record label, Raedio, that she partnered with Atlantic. Learn more about Issa Rae here.
Black Women Lead
8. Keisha Lance Bottoms- Mayor of Atlanta. Mayor Lance Bottoms gained national recognition from here work on Covid mitigation in her city and social justice. The Atlanta Mayor received the Leader of the Year award from Dive. Learn more about Keisha Lance Bottoms here.
9. S.A.W. Arts- Atlanta Artist. S.A.W., an Atlanta based artist painted murals of two of the state of Georgia’s most influential leaders, Stacey Abrams and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Learn more about S.A.W. here.
10. Regina King- Actress, Director and Activist. Regina King has definitely been a household name since she co-starred in the ’80s sitcom 227. She is one of People’s, 2020 People of the Year. Ms. King’s film, One Night in Miami, which was her directorial debut, made history. The inclusion of Ms. King’s film was the first directed by a Black woman to premier at the Venice Film Festival in the festival’s history (people.com). Learned more about Regina King here.
Black Women in History
12. Shonda Rhimes- Showrunner. Shonda Rhimes, creator of some of ABC’s most remarkable dramas (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, etc.) in the past decade, left the network to create new shows for Netflix. Learn more about Shonda Rhimes here.
13. Elizabeth Williams- Professional Basketball Player, Atlanta Dream, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The WNBA led the way in social action in 2020. Specifically Elizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream. The Atlanta team’s social action efforts were crucial in the 2020 elections. Specifically the senate race that ultimately elected the state’s first Black senator. Learn more about Elizabeth Williams here.
14. Kizzmekia Corbett- Scientist. Kizzmekia Corbett is credited as being a lead scientist on the development of the Covid vaccine. Learn more about Kizzmekia Corbett here.
Black Women Make History
15. Beyonce’- Singer, Actress, Director and Humanitarian. One of the bright spots in 2020 was Beyonce’s Black is King. The visually beautiful film was a play on Disney’s the Lion King and featured Beyonce’s Afrobeat collaborations. Learn more about Beyonce’s Black is King here.
16. Abby Phillip- Journalist, CNN Political Analyst & Weekend Anchor. Abby Phillip rose to popularity during the 2020 election cycle. Ms. Phillip easily became a favorite as she joined Jake Tapper and Dana Bash for special CNN coverage. Eventually being promoted to weekend anchor for 2021. Learn more about Abby Phillip here.
17. Lavern Cox- Actress & Activist. Lavern Cox is working hard to change how trans women are portrayed in film. Ms. Cox also works hard to get Black trans women recognized in the Black Lives Matter movement as Black trans women are murdered at disproportionate rates. Learn more about Lavern here.
Black History 2021
18. Jurnee Smollett- Actress & Activist. Jurnee is not a new actress by any means, but 2020 was definitely a comeback year for her. Ms. Smollet’s character in the HBO breakout hit, Love Craft Country, provided many of parallels for the actress as she is very active with the Black Lives Matter movement. Learn more about Jurnee Smollet here.
19. Rashida Jones- President, MSNBC. Rashida Jones is taking the reins as the president of MSNBC beginning on February 1st, 2021. Ms. Jones is the first Black woman to serve in the role of president at the network. Learn more about Rashida Jones here.
20. Kamala Harris- Vice President of the United States of America. Madam Vice President Kamala Harris definitely made history twice as being the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected to the 2nd highest office in the country. Learn more about Kamala Harris here.
Black History Month 2021 Recap
Thank you for reading through to the end! Before you say it, of course more than 20 Black women made history in 2020. So please do not assume I mean for this list to be complete. With that being said, I hope that you learned something new to help kick off Black History Month 2021. What do you think of the list? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are you giving me the side eye right now? Either way, I want to hear your thoughts in the comment section.