Celebrating Black Women Communicators for Social Change

Through the years, we’ve recognized several Communicators of the Month from the black community whose voices have advanced social change and equity in our country. From behind the camera to the operating room and the tennis court, these remarkable women have spoken up and fought for our freedom and equality.

In honor of Black History Month and our 2019 Vanguard calendar, which highlights courageous women whose dedication to social justice reform has made our world more equal and inclusive, here are some of the remarkable black women we have featured in our calendar over the years (in alphabetical order).


Born in 1942, Kathleen Collins was the first African-American woman to write, direct and produce a full-length feature film. Her work is described as postmodern and experimental, and she is credited with helping to change black womanist film, a form of feminism focused especially on the conditions and concerns of black women. Learn more about how Kathleen Collins used film to address issues related to the impact of racism and sexism.


Marie Daly
Marie M. Daly’s groundbreaking work identified the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. She also was the first Black woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Outside of the laboratory, Daly was a staunch supporter of the enrollment of minority students in science and medical programs. Learn more about Marie Daly’s impact on modern medicine.


Born in 1927 in South Carolina, Althea Gibson broke-through racial barriers in professional tennis left and right. Gibson’s road to tennis stardom was made more difficult by the discrimination she faced as an African-American woman. She experienced deep-seated racism in the venues in which she played, her sport and American society. Learn more about Althea Gibson’s impact on tennis.


When Ann Gregory was born in Mississippi in 1912, the idea that an African-American woman would compete in a U.S. Golf Association (USGA)-sanctioned event was unheard of. Gregory shattered that notion in 1956 when she became the first African-American woman to play in a USGA women’s amateur national championship. Learn more about Ann Gregory’s impact on golf.


Flora “Flo” Jean Hyman was a U.S. Olympic volleyball player who led the U.S. to a silver medal in the 1984 summer Olympic games. Although her impact on U.S. volleyball cannot be overstated, Hyman’s impact on women’s sports overall may have been even greater. As early as her time in college, it was clear that Hyman cared deeply about promoting and sustaining women’s sports. Learn more about Flo Hyman’s impact on women’s sports.


Audre Lorde was a poet who took on social issues related to racism, sexism and homophobia. She was born in 1934 in New York City to immigrant parents and published her first poem in Seventeen magazine while she was still in high school. She continued publishing her work for the rest of her life and was named Poet Laureate of New York in 1991. Learn more about the impact of Audre Lorde’s poetry and prose on American society.