20 Black women to become the first in every discipline

Black women are one of the most underrepresented groups when it comes to television and media, sports, government and STEM fields.

Black women represent 1 in 7 women in the labor force, with 9.3 being employed in 2015. Black women are less likely to work in higher paid positions than their white counterparts. In 2014, 35% of Black women were in management or professional jobs while 47% of white women were. Representation matters in professional sports, literature and the jobs we see people working in our everyday lives. 

Many of the first Black women to do something, wasn’t too long ago and should remind us just how far we’ve come, but also how much work is left to do.  

Here's a list of 20 "firsts" for Black women history: 

Mary Jane Patterson

Image: Twitter

Image: Twitter

First to won an Emmy, Oscar and Tony for acting. 

Brienne Minor  

First to win in a NCAA division

Ava DuVernay

Image: AveDuVernay.com 

Image: AveDuVernay.com 

First to direct a $100M feature film, A Wrinkle in Time. 

 

RELATED: 20 Black women impacting the wellness industry 

 

Channing Dungey  

Image: LinkedIn 

Image: LinkedIn 

First to lead programming at a major network, ABC. 

Kamala Harris

Image: Twitter 

Image: Twitter 

California’s first Black and Indian American attorney general. 

Elaine Welteroth

Image: LinkedIn

Image: LinkedIn

First black editor in chief at Conde Nast, Teen Vogue. 

Madame CJ Walker

First to become a self-made millionaire. 

Georgiana Simpson

One of three Black women who got their PhD's in 1921; also Sadie Mossel Alexander and Eva Dykes. 

Hattie McDaniel  

Image: Forgotten Fort Collins 

Image: Forgotten Fort Collins 

First to win an Academy Award.

Shirley Chisholm  

First elected as US representative,  served as 1969 congresswoman. 

Carol Moseley Braun

Image: Twitter 

Image: Twitter 

First elected as US Senator in the state of Illinois. 

Mae Jemmison  

Image: YouTube 

Image: YouTube 

First to become an astronaut. 

Harriet Wilson

Image: Bit Note 

Image: Bit Note 

First to become novelist. 

Ella Fitzgerald  

Image: Twitter

Image: Twitter

First to win a Grammy. 

Oprah Winfrey

First TV host, The Oprah Winfrey Show. 

Althea Gibson  

First tennis champion, won Wimbledon 1957. 

Vanessa Williams

Image: Pinterest 

Image: Pinterest 

First Miss America, 1982. 

Vonetta Flowers  

Image: YouTube 

Image: YouTube 

First to win Winter Olympic games, bobsled 2002. 

Michelle Obama

Image: Twitter 

Image: Twitter 

First, First Lady of the United States of America. 

 

Who are some other iconic Black women to become ‘the first’?