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So often in history, it is HIS story that is told and the men are the heroes and victors. But behind the scenes or even right in front of our eyes are women and femmes who are changing the world and saving our lives with little to no recognition.

Telling HER story is our attempt to right this patriarchal wrong and learn from the women who paved the way. Join us this month as we highlight amazing Black Women, their contributions to history and how their legacy is linked to today's fight for freedom.

Learn about reach of these amazing Black Women and then answer the curated questions to help you place your own efforts into the context of the struggle for Black liberation.

#BlackHerstoryMonth Index
Click on individual names to access each Woman or scroll down to learn about them all!

Day 15 - Zoharrah Simmons

Day 16 - Ava Duvernay

Day 17 - Eve Ewing

Day 18 - Trina

Day 19 - Elle Hearns

Day 20 - Queen Nanny

Day 21 - Julie Dash

Day 22 - Henrietta Lacks

Day 23 - Harriet Tubman

Day 24 - Mary Fields

Day 25 - Ida B Wells

Day 26 - Fannie Lou Hamer

Day 27 - Korryn Gaines

Day 28 - Marsha P Johnson


Here are some questions to put the work of this trailblazer into context:

  1. In what ways does Maxine Waters embrace and worked for intersectionality?
  2. How does the “angry Black woman” trope make Maxine Waters job, and the jobs of other Black women, much more difficult?
  3. What could be changed throughout the U.S. if people just, “Listened to Black women?”

A few Queen Bey questions to ponder:

 

  1. Why have Beyonce’s views on feminism, race, and social justice issues been criticized when they are similar to other’s views that have been not received scrutiny?
  2. How has Beyonce’s hypervisibility, been both good and bad in relation to how the world views Black women?
  3. In a historical context, why is it so important that Beyonce embraces and is vocal about motherhood?

A few questions to think about as you learn her story:

  1. Why was her stand not centered in the CRM?
  2. What made her act of defiance easily disregarded by CRM leadership?
  3. How do we perpetuate the "perfect victim" narrative today?

Here are a few things to think about as you learn more about this Pioneer.... 

  1. If you had not heard of Shirley before - why do you think that is? 
  2. Why did Shirley choose "Unbought & Unbossed" as her campaign slogan? What does it mean?
  3. How does Shirley's presidential run illustrate the failings of #WhiteFeminismTM?

Here are a few things to think about as you learn more about this Pioneer.... 

  1. How does Mary’s emphasis on both race and gender in the suffragette movement mirror the interactions between Black women and #WhiteFeminismTM in today’s social justice movements?
  2. If Mary was not born into wealth and white passing, could she have made the same impact in the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements?
  3. How does Mary use her privilege to effect change without harming others and how can you do the same?

Here are a few questions to ponder as you learn more about her lift & work:

  1. With the loss of most of her actual sculptures, how does this effect her legacy? In what ways do Black creators today struggle their work being “lost”?
  2. In what ways did racism affect her artistic growth and recognition?
  3. How do you combat similar instances when consuming Black creators?

Answer these questions as you learn more about Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

  1. Daisy Bates had no children of her own and some would say “dog in this fight.” Why do you feel she still took on the risk of advocating for and protecting the Little Rock Nine?
  2. How does this mirror your own roles in activism and dismantling white supremacy? 
  3. Daisy was not allowed to attend the first graduation of the Little Rock Nine, but understood and accepted why she couldn’t. What can you learn from decentering yourself and your feelings during times where accomplishments are being recognized?

Think about the following questions as you learn more about Ella Baker.

  1. In light of Ella Baker encouraging students to form their own organization outside of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, how can older generations encourage the youth without stifling them?
  2. In order to do the work, Ella navigated through both sexism and racism aimed at her in order to make a difference. In your own life, when faced with obstacles regarding social justice, how often have you given up or silenced yourself when faced with opposition?
  3. How will you approach similar opposition in the future?

Below are a few questions to think about as you learn more about Alberta Hunter

  1. As the first Black singer to be backed by an all white band, we know she experienced overt racism. How did that overt racism, change to subtle racism for Black people in leadership positions today?
  2. Have you done anything to combat this?
  3. If you did, what were your actions? If not, why not and what could you do differently?

Answers these questions to give more context to Phillis Wheatley's story

  1. Education and achievement are often touted as cure-alls for racial disparities. How does Phillis’s life prove this theory wrong?
  2. For Phillis’s work to be acknowledged, she needed white people to vouch for her. How is this narrative still played out today?
  3. Are there any Black people you can use your privilege to uplift?

Think on these questions related to Black creatives and Lucille Clifton

  1. How have creatives, like Lucille, contributed to the world? 
  2. Why was intersectionality such an important part of her work? 
  3. In what ways has art, such as poetry, helped you understand the world?

Answer the questions below to connect Kayla's work in Missouri to the challenges other young organizers are facing.

  1. Why is it so important to young people, such as Kayla, are leading social justice work? 
  2. What are obstacles they face now, that previous generations of organizers didn’t? 
  3. How can allies and older generations help, without taking over or silencing them?

Think through the questions below and ponder how we have historically excluded TransActivists in the movement histories.

  1. Do you include or recognize the LGBTQIA community in your activism work?
  2. If you do, how do you do you include the LGBTQIA community?
  3. If not, why not and how can you recognize and include these interactions?

Gloria Richardson - Day 14

Discuss these questions as you learn more about the original Unapologetically Black Girl!

  1. Women who played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights Movement were often pushed to the back and erased from the narrative. If women were given their rightful accolades, how do you think the movement would have benefitted? 
  2. Why do you believe Gloria Richardson is not as well known as Rosa Parks, or other high profile women in the Civil Rights Movement?
  3. What are the pros and cons of nonviolence vs self-defense in regards to tactics used in fighting oppression?

Questions related to the work of this Civil Rights Movement Leader

  1. How do you put communal goals before individual goals in your social justice work?
  2. What role has religion played in past social justice work?
  3. What role does religion play in today’s social justice work?

 

Discuss these questions related to media & representation as you learn more about Ava's important work. 

  1. Why is having Black women behind the lens so important in media?
  2. Ava proves that there is no shortage of qualified women and people of color in the film industry by hiring them as both cast and crew. What other industries are lacking in representation of women and people of color?
  3. In what ways can you work to change this underrepresentation?

Discussion Questions related to the Black Women in academia

  1. What positive effect does having Black women and other marginalized groups in fields like sociology?
  2. What other ways have you seen academia merged with art?
  3. How is art just as important as academia?

Discussion questions related to sexuality, consumerism & a new kind of role model.

  1. Trina turned the trope of the hypersexual Black woman on its head and used it to her advantage. Why are she, and other female rappers like her so important?
  2. Trina proved that women don’t have to settle for being a side kick or prop for men you work with. How can you incorporate this lesson in the work you do?
  3. Why can Trina be a role model for women of all ages?

Answer the following questions about how the work you do could & SHOULD intersect with the needs of Black Transwomen & Activists.

  1. In your work, do you recognize and fight against the oppression those that are not cisgender or heterosexual?
  2. What unique issues do Black Transwomen, face that cisgender women do not?
  3. How do you interpret the saying “ALL Black Lives Matter?”

Here are a few questions to think about as you learn more about Queen Nanny & the Maroons:

  1. Could part of Nanny’s success been because her skill as a woman was underestimated?
  2. What can we learn from Nanny and The Maroons for our freedom fighting?
  3. We hear about Harriet Tubman whenever we talk about Black History, why not Nanny?