Women in Black History

Michelle_Obama_2013_official_portrait by Chuck Kennedy. Michelle Obama, U. S. First Lady/Lawyer/Activist

We could not end the series without recognizing the incomparable Michelle Obama. As the 44th First Lady of the United States she is the first African American woman to hold this title. Rising from humble beginnings, Obama has become a role model woman, wife, mother, and community activist. She grew up in a one bedroom apartment with her parents and older brother in the South Side of Chicago. Always having an emphasis on education, Obama was a gifted student graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school and moving on to ivy-league universities. It was in law school that she became involved with community activism by participating in demonstrations to demand more minority students and professors at Harvard Law School.

Obama met her future husband, Barack, while working at a law firm in Chicago. Soon after they married she began her career in public service. While working at the University of Chicago she developed the school’s first community service program. As First Lady Obama has remained passionate about helping the community. She has focused her work on supporting military families, helping working women balance family and career, and encouraging national service. At the top of her service list sits the fight against childhood obesity. Obama has launched several campaigns and programs to get kids eating healthier and exercising more.

Throughout her career, political affairs, and other obligations Michelle Obama has remained committed to her family. She has been a true supporter to her husband, and has kept their two children priority above anything else. When asked to describe herself she always begins with being Malia and Sasha’s mother. A role model in every aspect, Obama was once named one of Essence magazine’s “25 of the World’s Most Inspiring Women.”

“We should always have three friends in our lives — one who walks ahead who we look up to and we follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journeys; and then, one who we reach back for and we bring along after we’ve cleared the way.”

Women in Black History

Maya-Angelou by ©Hallmark Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection. Maya Angelou, Poet/Author/Activist

Most known for her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou has received numerous awards and nominations for her literary work, and has inspired multiple generations through her words. She made history when her memoir became the first non-fiction best seller by an African American woman. She worked closely with Dr. King and other civil rights groups striving for racial equality. The span of her career has earned her two NAACP Image Awards, a Grammy award, and nominations for a  Tony and an Emmy Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination.