Sturdy Black Shoulders
Maya Angelou was a famous African American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.
Angelou received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
Lark Galloway-Gilliam was the founding Executive Director of Community Health Councils (CHC) which began in 1992 as a result of the civil unrest and in response to the growing health crisis to support planning, resource development and policy education for the South Los Angeles (SLA) area and other under-resourced and marginalized communities throughout LA County.
Until her passing in December 2014, Lark led the CHC team to engage communities and strengthen the connections among organizations in order to improve health, eliminate disparities, and achieve health equity.
Lark was: a Principal Investigator on several National and Federal grants, published and peer reviewed in a number of community, public, national and global health periodicals, an advisor to a host of Community, Educational, City, County, State, National and Global Health Agencies and Institutions and a guest lecturer at numerous educational institutions.
Bessie Coleman was an early American civil aviator, the first African-American woman and first Native-American to hold a pilot license. Coleman earned her pilot license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale on June 15, 1921, and was the first black person to earn an international pilot's license.
Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her defiance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Its success launched nationwide efforts to end racial segregation of public facilities.
Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.
Although best known for being the wife of famed civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she created her own legacy in the movement to end injustice. She also worked to continue he husband’s legacy after his death.
Hannah L. Cullen
Hannah Lou Cullen was a Pioneering midwife in Benton, Louisiana in the early 1900s. During this time, She gave birth to 8 children and served as a midwife to many other children including white children.
Because of her service as a midwife to so many white children in the area, she was able to use her influence and protect her family from the racial violence that persisted against Blacks.
Sir Lady Java
Sir Lady Java is an American transgender rights activist, exotic dancer, singer, comedian, and actress during 1970s-era Los Angeles.
She fought against discriminatory legislation in the city of Los Angeles and was continuously targeted by the Los Angeles Police Department and by city legislation such as Rule Number 9. This law was described as prohibiting "impersonation" of the "opposite sex" to criminalize and her popular performances at Black American entertainment businesses such as the Red Foxx Club.
Sir Lady Java fervently fought for her right to make a living as a waitress and exotic dancer and declared Los Angeles' regulations unconstitutional. She was the first transgender person to be represented by the ACLU.
Sir Lady Java is a pioneer of queer and human rights in Los Angeles and a huge influence in the Black queer Los Angeles community.
Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and women's rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement.
Ms. Hamer was a powerful voice in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as a full-time activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a voice for agricultural activism. She endured many trials, from her nonconsensual hysterectomy in 1961 to her being fired from her job for not rescinding her application to vote.
Fannie Lou Hamer spoke out against these atrocities, among many others, despite the threat of repercussions. She fought for the families in poverty, for Black women's bodily autonomy, and used farming as a radical means to fight injustice.
Today, Fannie Lou Hamer's name continues to be celebrated and honored in spaces such as the Fannie Lou Hamer Queen Mothers Society at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Bridget Biddy Mason
Bridget Biddy Mason (1818-1891) is an American Hero - she was a nurse, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist who became one of the first prominent landowners in Los Angeles in the 1850s and 1860s.
Born enslaved, Mason became one of the first prominent citizens and landowners in Los Angeles in the 1850s and 1860s. She also founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles in 1872. Mason was born in Mississippi in 1818.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also known as Winnie Mandela, was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and the second wife of Nelson Mandela.
A member of the African National Congress (ANC) political party, she served on the ANC's National Executive Committee and headed its Women's League. Madikizela-Mandela was known to her supporters as the "Mother of the Nation.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai