Explore African American Women's Lives

African American women have fought for civil rights and demanded recognition since the country’s founding. They resisted slavery. They spoke out against racism. They established women’s clubs to improve conditions for African Americans. They worked in politics and journalism, organized black labor, and supported education. In the 20th century, they formed the backbone of the modern Civil Rights Movement. African American women were the critical mass, the grassroots leaders challenging America to embrace justice and equality for all.

Explore our history resources for African American history.

Standing Up For Change: African American Women & the Civil Rights Movement

This exhibit spotlights the rich and vibrant voice of black women leaders in the movement and highlights their significant roles and contributions.

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Voting Rights in America

Watch the UDC Forum on Voting Rights

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Unlikely Friends – Julia Wilbur and Harriet Jacobs in Civil War Alexandria

The immense need faced by the recently enslaved, called Contrabands, aroused individuals and organizations—most affiliated with the Abolitionist Movement—to organize a humanitarian response. Julia Wilbur and Harriet Jacobs answered the call. Thus, two women from opposite ends of the country and social order found themselves brought together.

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National Association of Colored Women

Black women like Sojourner Truth, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Harriet Tubman participated in women’s rights movements throughout the nineteenth century. Despite their efforts, black women as a whole were often excluded from organizations and their activities. In the 1880s, black reformers began organizing their own groups.

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Claiming Their Citizenship

The exhibit presents African American women collectively and exceptionally throughout American history. Starting with Isabel, the first known African American woman, in 1624 and climaxing with First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008, African American women have contributed to the warp and woof of American history, culture and character.

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Biographies

Read about the women involved in the Civil Rights Movement in America.

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Three women who did things their own way who were also named Bessie

Learn about three women named Bessie who made contributions to our nation.

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Game Changers

This exhibit explores the cultural, political, and social barriers women have overcome to play competitive sports and the challenges that remain today.

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Biography Posters

View and download Biography Posters for personal or classroom use.

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Five African American Women Who Changed America

Read about Five African American Women in different fields who impacted history.

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