Home Community and Culture Five BIPOC historical figures that should be household names

Five BIPOC historical figures that should be household names

In honor of Women’s History Month, each week Culturas will be sharing five womxn of color who are noteworthy.

This week is focusing on five more historical figures that history brushes over.

Diane Nash

Courtesy of Alamy Stock Photos

Diane Judith Nash, born May 15th, 1938, is a civil rights activist. Nash is known for spearheading the student section of the Civil Rights Movement.

She strategized a successful civil rights campaign to integrate lunch counters in Nashville and she worked with the Freedom Riders to desegregate travel. Further, she began the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She played a large role in the Selma Voting Rights Movement that pushed congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Nash is a key reason minorities are not prevented from voting.  

Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Courtesy of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

Charlotte Hawkins Brown is an educator and founder of the Palmer Memorial Institute. Brown was born June 11th, 1883. She worked at a rural school for African American youth known as the Bethan Institute in Sedalia, North Caroline. 

When the American Missionary Association closed the school, Brown decided to open her own. She raised money and purchased 200 acres of land. There,  she opened the Palmer Memorial Institute, named after  Alice Freeman Palmer. It was a school for African American youth. Brown’s is one of the only schools in North Carolina to provide college preparatory courses. 

Shirley Chisholm 

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Shirley Anita Chisholm was an educator, author and American politician. She was the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968.  She served seven terms representing New York’s 12th congressional district. 

Not only was she the first Black woman in congress, but she was also the first Black woman to seek a nomination for U.S. president. Her motto was “Unbossed and Unbought”, and it is also the name for her autobiography. She served as an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during her time as a public servant. 

Marsha P. Johnson 

Courtesy of Netflix

Marsha P. Johnson, born on August 24th 1945, was an American gay liberation and AIDS activist. 

Johnson identified as a drag queen and was a notable figure in the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. She founded the Gay Liberation Front and co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries to provide resources for homeless LGBTQ youth. Johnson also modeled for Andy Warhol and performed with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. 

Nanyehi 

Courtesy of lharmonica1

Nanyehi or Nancy Ward was a Cherokee political leader and Beloved Woman. She was born in 1783. 


She advocated for peaceful living with the European Americans. Nanyehi served as ambassador between the Cherokee and the settlers of America. She always advocated for women asking why there were no women among the American land negotiators. 

“You know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words,” she reportedly told John Sevier.

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Sophia Ungaro
Sophia Rose Ungaro is Culturas resident writing intern. Ungaro hails from San Pedro, California. Growing up with a Navajo/Meztizo mother and a Sicilian father has given Ungaro a unique perspective on the world. In 2021 Ungaro will graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Journalism. Her beats are race, pop culture, and entertainment.
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