Though Wheatley was born in West Africa. She learned to read and write at a young age, and then she became the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. It was a long road to do so in those times – the mid-eighteenth century, just before the Revolutionary War. Being black, she had to prove that she had written the poems herself.
Eventually, she was forced to travel to London to publish in 1773, but she got her time in the sun – none other than George Washington enjoyed her poetry so much that he requested to meet her in 1776.
James Forten – Abolitionist and Entrepreneur
James Forten was born a free man in 1766 in the city of Philadelphia. He worked as a sailmaker after the American Revolutionary War and was even able to become a foreman. Furthermore, when his boss retired, he bought the business. His business continued turning a profit thanks to the equipment he developed.
By the time he was in his forties, Forten was able to devote time and money toward the abolition and civil rights movement. By the time of his death in 1842 at the age of seventy-six, he was one of the most well-known and powerful voices for change in the entire city.
Sojourner Truth – Abolitionist
She's one of the most famous abolitionists and civil rights activists from the era, born at about the turn of the nineteenth century as Isabella Baumfree. She was born into slavery in New York but escaped to freedom with her infant daughter.
A few years later, in 1828, she went to court to recover a son who illegally vanished, becoming the first Black woman to win a case of the kind against a white man. Truth is a member of “Smithsonian” magazine's list of the one hundred most significant Americans of all time.
Serena Jameka Williams – Tennis Player
There are a number of famous female tennis players out there, but none of them get close to the Williams sisters. Serena just barely has the edge over her sister Venus as the best of the best – she's won twenty-three major singles titles, the most of any person in the current era.
The Women's Tennis Association ranked her as the best in the world in the singles ranking eight times from 2002 to 2017. Not only that, she has some gold medals from three different Olympics – one each from 2000 and 2008, and a pair from 2012.
Mary McLeod Bethune – Civil Rights Activist and Educator
She was an educator, a civil rights leader, and an adviser to five presidents of the United States. She gained the name “First Lady of Struggle” as she continued to push for the rights of her fellow African-Americans.
She focused her faith and her organizational skills on her passion for progress to equality. She lived until 1955 – a total of eighty years – but still made great strides in the name of justice.