Tag Archives: black women from history

Memphis Minnie – “Queen of the Country Blues”

Memphis Minnie became known as ‘the queen of country blues’ for her amazing talent as a blues guitarist, singer & songwriter, who made waves amongst the mainly male-dominated blues scene of the 1930s.

Her real name was Lizzie Douglas, and she was born in 1897 in Mississippi, just south of Memphis. The oldest of 13 children, everyone in her large family called her ‘Kid’. She developed a love for music at a young age, taking up the banjo and receiving her first guitar at the age of 8 as a Christmas present.

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Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti – ‘Vagina’s Head Seeking Vengeance’

One of the most important women in African politics in the first half of the twentieth century was Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, who was from the Yoruba people who had traditional structures which allowed women to be involved in decision-making and administration.

Funmilayo was born in 1900 to parents who were Christian, English-speaking trading agents for British merchants.  Her parents believed, unusually for the time, that girls should be educated as well as boys so Funmilayo went to school where she showed academic promise.  With the help of family and friends, at the age of nineteen she was sent to England to continue her education.  She boarded with a British family and stayed for three years, returning to Nigeria in 1923 when she became a teacher in her home region of Abeokuta.

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Althea Gibson – Grand Slam Shero

Althea Gibson Sheroes of History
Althea Gibson overcame racial barriers to become one of the world’s greatest tennis players ever!

Althea Gibson was born in August 1927 in South Carolina where her parents worked on a cotton farm. When the Great Depression struck, Althea’s family, like many others across the country, were hit hard. In 1930 they packed up and moved north to Harlem. Once there her family weren’t wealthy and relied on benefits to get by.

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