African-American Heroine Names
As Black History Month segues into Women’s History Month this weekend, let's take a look at the names of some inspirational African-American heroines!
Compiling a wide-ranging list is not as easy as you might think – nor as it should be. Google and book searches tend to turn up a select list of already well-known names.
But then, late as usual, I finally bought my new year's calendar: A Journey Into 365 Days of Black History – Notable Women.
An array of admirable women are listed there, all of whom would provide wonderful role models (and lovely names) for any child.
Here are some of the most inspirational Black heroine names for baby girls today, together with a short summary of their historical achievements.
African-American Heroine Names
Alice Dunbar-Nelson — Journalist, poet and author
Barbara Jordan — Texas Congresswoman who won fame during Nixon impeachment hearings
Bessie Coleman — Became the world’s only licensed Black pilot in 1922. She staged flying exhibitions to fund a school to train Black aviators.
Charlotte Ray — In 1872, became the first Black female lawyer.
Clara Stanton Jones — The American Library Association’s first African-American president
Clementine Hunter — Self-taught painter, born in 1887
Constance Baker Motley — First Black female federal judge
Coretta Scott King — Activist and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Dorothy West — Harlem Renaissance author
Ella Fitzgerald — Iconic jazz singer
Faye Wattleton — Women’s rights activist
Gwendolyn Brooks — Poet and first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize
Hallie Quinn Brown — 19th century women’s rights activist
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross) — Escaped enslavement to become an abolitionist and Union spy. Most famous for her work with the Underground Railroad.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett — Journalist and founding member of the NAACP
Jane Bolin — Judge and community activist. First Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School.
Josephine Baker — Performer, activist, and World War 2 spy
Juanita Hall — First Black actress to win a Tony Award
Kara Walker — Artist best known for her silhouettes
Lena Horne — Actress, singer, and civil rights activist
Lorraine Hansberry — Author of the 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun”
Mabel Mercer — English singer
Mahalia Jackson — Gospel singer known as the "Queen of Gospel"
Marian Wright Edelman — Children’s Defense Fund founder
Natalie Hinderas — Composer and classical musician
Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert — Author and teacher
Pearl Bailey — Actress and singer
Phillis Wheatley — First published African-American female poet
Prudence Crandall — White woman arrested for teaching Black girls at her school in 1833
Rosa Parks — Heroine of the famous bus boycott that launched the civil rights movement
Rosetta Tharpe — Jazz and blues singer and songwriter
Ruby Dee — Actress, writer and activist
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander — The first African-American Ph.D. in economics
Sarah Vaughan — Jazz musician
Shirley Chisholm — First Black woman elected to Congress
Sojourner Truth — Abolitionist and women’s rights activist
Susie King Taylor — Previously enslaved woman who became a Civil War nurse
Toni Morrison — Novelist who won the Nobel Prize in literature
Violette Neatley Anderson — In the 1920s, became the first Black female attorney to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wilma Rudolph — Multiple Olympic champion and world-record-breaking runner
Zensi Miriam Makeba — South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist