Yes She Can! Afro-Haired Women Who Have Made History

March is Women's History Month. During this month the world celebrate women who have made or is making their mark in history.

Womens' History Month began with former President Carter's. During his time in office, Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as Women's History Week. Later, the National Women's History Project petitioned for Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. In celebration, Embrace The Crown honors ten influential, afro-haired women who made or is making history. Please note, this not a rank. We did not list the featured women in any particular order.

In honor of...

1. Yaa Asantewaa: Queen of the Ashanti Empire —Africa

Nana Yaa Asantewaa was Queen to the Ejisu people of the Ashanti Empire. Asantewaa led the first Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool, against British colonialism.

2. Mary Mahoney: The First Black Nurse —America

Mary Mahoney was the first Black nurse in America who studied at the New England Hospital for Women and Children School of Nursing. She was also one of the first Colored members of the American Nurses Association and National Association of Colored Nurses. One of her greatest achievements as a nurse was being inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame in 1920.

3. Mary Prince: First Black, Woman Autobiographer —Europe

Mary Prince became the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography that confronted her life as a slave. The book was a key part of the anti slavery campaign, and raised awareness about the horrors of slavery in Britain. One of her legacies include becoming the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to the British Parliament.

4. Lucille Mathurin-Mair: Activist and Historian — Caribbean

Lucille Mathurin-Mair was a historian, author, teacher, activist and diplomat who committed to women’s rights and gender equality. During her life she co-founded the Centre for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) at the University of the West Indies. This center aims to produce and disseminate knowledge on gender-related issues in the Caribbean.

5. Mariam Makeba: Singer and Activist —Africa

Miriam Makeba, also known as "Mama Africa," was a popular South-African singer who introduced Xhosa and Zulu songs to the West. She is best known for the songs, Pata Pata and Malaika as well as her appearance in the documentary film Come Back Africa which attracted the interest of Harry Belafonte. In 1965, she and Belafonte won a Grammy Award for best folk recording artist.

6. Tiera Guinn: First young Black female to Work for NASA —America

Tiera Guinn is a 22 year-old who work as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer for NASA's Space Launch System, which is headed by Boeing. According to Guinn, she designs and analyzes parts of a rocket that is predicted to be one of the most powerful rocket in space history.

7. Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie: Novelist, Women's Rights Activist

Chimamanda Adichie is a world renowned, award-winning novelist who is known for her best-selling novels that address various social issues related to gender equality, racism, and life in Africa. Her Accolades include winning the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction. In addition, one of her books was named Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times. Today, Adichie continues to address social issues especially women's right outside of her novels.

8. Ava DuVernay: Writer, Producer, Director and Distributor of independent film —America

Ava DuVernay is an American film producer who has produced award-worthy films. Her current directorial work includes Queen Sugar, dramatic television series for The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and 13th, a controversial documentary on criminality and race relations in the United States. Other works of DuVernay include Apple Music, Scandal, Middle of Nowhere, The Door, Say Yes, My Mic Sounds Nice, A Wrinkle In Time, I Will Follow, Venus Vs, and This is The Life. Accolades include being nominated for two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, and winning the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's Best Director prize for her previous feature, Middle of Nowhere.

DuVernay is the founder of Array, an organization that amplifies films produced or written by women and people of color.

9. Melba Tolliver: News Reporter to Wear Wear Her Natural Hair on TV —America

Tolliver made national news when she made the decision to go natural in 1971. The management at her job, WABC refused to allow Tolliver on air because of her natural hair. Tolliver became first to take a stand against afro hair discrimination at the workplace, by wearing her natural hair freely on national television.

10. Angela Davis: Civil Rights Activist

Angela Davis is a writer, civil rights activist, and educator who fought for the rights of African Americans. During her early days in activism, Davis addressed issues such as women’s rights, racism, and poverty, and pushed for health care and prison reform. Her activism in prison reform led to the slander of her image in where she was accused and arrested for kidnapping, conspiracy, and murder. Today Davis is a lecturer inside and outside of academia, and support current civil right movements such as neo pro-Black and Women's Right movements.

Davis was the first Black woman to make a statement with her natural hair, which gave rise to the natural hair movement.


To all of the beautiful, Black and natural hair women who have made or continue to make their mark in history, thank you. Continue to be phenomenal woman and role models. Special love to the women who fight for womens' equality through their work. Without you all we would not have the opportunities we have today.

P.S. This post is not intended to praise naturals above all. It was made to hi-lite the accomplishments of natural haired women in a world that is prejudice and discriminate against Black women with natural hair.

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