African-American Women Pioneers

The movie "Hidden Figures," in theaters this month, is a true story featuring a team of African-American women scientists. Here are some materials you can check out featuring African-American women pioneers. 

Read the Book Before the Movie

More African-American Women Pioneers

Carretta (English/Univ. of Maryland; Equiano, the African, 2005) returns with an examination of the life of a woman of whom little is known but whom the author and literary history have crowned as the mother of African-American literature.

Also available in: e-book

Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks's politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought--for more than a half a century--to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.

Here is the brief but intense life of Bessie Coleman, America's first African American woman aviator. Born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, she became known as "Queen Bess", a barnstormer and flying-circus performer who defied the strictures of race, sex, and society in pursuit of a dream. 30 duotone photographs. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Image from Creative Commons.

From Harriet Tubman to Oprah Winfrey, Fifty Black Women pays strong tribute to proud, heroic Americans with vivid detailed portraits telling the story of each woman's personal journey and contribution to society.

Author Diann Jordan took a journey to find out what inspired and daunted black women in their desire to become scientists in America. Letting 18 prominent black women scientists talk for themselves, Sisters in Science becomes an oral history stretching across decades and disciplines and desires. 

Children's Books on African-American Women Pioneers

Meet African American women of science and invention from the early years to modern times.

Presents an overview of the life, career, and accomplishments of the first African American woman astronaut.

Meet Bessie Coleman. She was the first African-American woman to earn her international pilot's license. And she did so against great odds. No one in America was willing to teach a black woman to fly. Still, Bessie never gave up on her dream of becoming a world-famous aviator.

Aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson by Laura Hamilton Waxman

In middle school, Aprille Ericsson won second place in a science fair. She knew she wanted to keep creating science projects. Now she helps build spacecraft at NASA. Learn how Ericsson paved the way for future engineers.

Collects true stories of notable African-American women from colonial times through the twentieth century that demonstrate their courage, faith, and resolve.