Learning About Black Women’s History Through Social Media

One woman is making Black history come alive.

Rosa Parks made history.

(Harlin Design / Shutterstock.com)

Black history is rich in people who have done great achievements in science, medicine, literature, art, music, dance and in all walks of life. Most of those who are well known are the men who led the civil rights movement or the men in leadership roles like Thurgood Marshall, the first Black US supreme court judge and Barack Obama, the first Black US president.

Women have typically been left out of history books, and that’s why Maya Millet, an author and founder of Race Women, an archive project that is dedicated to African-American feminists so they will never be forgotten according to the BBC. Millet hopes to preserve the voices and legends of these brave women. Using social media, Millet is making history come alive.

Millet created an Instagram page called Race Women in January 2020 to highlight these stories and fill the void and educate people about Black American history seen through women’s eyes who lived it. Her page creates a space for black women’s personal histories to be discovered and preserved in a safe space according to Black Women Radicals (BWR).

 
 
 
 
 
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In an interview with BWR, Millet explained how she began her journey saying,  “The impetus was very personal in that I was working on a project researching Black history at the turn of the twentieth century and the pinitol years after emancipation.” In doing research, she found that women were being left out of the story.

“I was very angry and shocked to see that I did not know most of the women’s names, their histories, and their stories; outside of Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman. There was a whole generation of Black women that I did not know and I felt robbed of not knowing this history,” she said.

 
 
 
 
 
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Millet chose to use Instagram because that is where people are going looking for content and it is very accessible she told Yes! Magazine. Using an article or a book would limit how many women she could highlight. Miller wants to share as many women’s stories as she can. 

Some of the women who have highlighted are Rosetta Douglass Sprague, the daughter of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and a founding member of the national Association of colored Women, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, a pioneering novelist, playwright, and journalist. There are far too many to mention by name.

“The women on my list are women who I’ve come across in my research, But I Know there are more,” Miller told Yes! Magazine. She wants Race women to be a facilitator for people to learn about their heritage and it doesn’t have to only occur during Black History Month. Race Women is open all year long.

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