Recently it was announced that actress Taraji P. Henson will portray NASA scientist Katherine Johnson in the film Hidden Figures. Johnson’s story is told in Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, slated for release in early September. The names of the women in Hidden Figures are not well known—perhaps not even in the STEM field—but certainly not during Black History Month (BHM). A constant complaint about BHM is that it focuses on the same few icons, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and a few others. However, it’s questionable whether people actually know those champions or just their names and a one sentence description memorized from elementary school. But the point is duly noted.
Our BHM series (here, here, and here) featured some books that portrayed the achievements of lesser known figures. While BCBA posts books, and there are many excellent ones, written by non-black authors on our social media platforms; all of the books featured on this website are written by Black authors, see about us. Because of the small percentage of children’s books published by and about Black people, it was difficult to find books that didn’t repeat the same stories. There are countless unsung sheroes and heroes in Black history whose stories remain mostly unknown. Sadly, some are tragic, like Sweet Georgia Brown’s. But whether tragic or triumphant, our stories matter. The fifteen sheroes featured in part one of this series are from various fields, such as literature, the military, medicine, etc. Some may have had a book or two penned about their lives, but for the most part, they still don’t get the recognition they deserve. Happy Black History Month!