Black Women: Achievements Against the Odds

October 21, 1984 – June 30, 1985

Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place, SE
Washington, DC

Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, 2405 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE

African American women have made significant contributions to the United States and the world for more than three centuries. Learn about 120 women whose stories are organized by areas of accomplishment, including science, math, religion, literature, medicine, civil rights, education, law, music, business, art, journalism, sports, and government. The women range from world-famous to little-known—from poet Phillis Wheatley and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan to business executive Eartha M.M. White and Clara Burrill Bruce, the first female editor-in-chief of the Boston University Law Review.

A continuously-running, narrated slide show, Sketches from Life, includes biographical vignettes of antislavery suffragettes Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells Barnett; Maggie Lena Walker, the first black female banker; Rosa Parks, who refused to sit at the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama; and Marjorie McKenzie Lawson, appointed a DC municipal judge by President John F. Kennedy. Five of the women are featured in films that can be screened in the exhibition area: Mahalia Jackson, Leontyne Price, Maya Angelou, Alma Thomas, and Lorraine Hansberry.

Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1945. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of the Harmon Foundation. © Peter Edward Fayard