If you paid attention in school even a little bit, you likely heard the stories of Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, and Sally Ride. But even if you paid attention in school carefully, did the homework, read your texts cover to cover and made a diorama for extra credit, there would be a lot of women your history books forgot — among them a huge number of women of color from history everyone should know about, but frustratingly few do. Indeed, the recent success of the Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures puts numbers to a now seemingly-obvious notion: We want to hear stories about women of color. And it's high time we started telling them.
History is said to be written by the winners. When you have a history compounded by sexism and racism, it’s hard to get a participation trophy, let alone win. Women of color have always been integral to American history, but their contributions have not always been recognized. When they are given recognition, it is usually secondary to their male counterparts. They are the Sacagawea to dozens of Lewis and Clarks.
The history of women of color is important to America because it is American history. Their stories are incredible in their own right. But their accomplishments overcome the impossible when you consider the people and perceptions and actual laws that held these women back.
So, get out your notebooks and pay attention. This will be on the test. Here are seven women of color who made history. Learn about them for Women's History Month — but also learn about them just because they deserve to be learned about.