Black Women Who Made History in 2021

As we enter 2022, we remember bell hooks and her ideas that were necessary for Black women. Bell hooks manifested a limitless future when she wrote, “I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance,” in Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. In honor of her work that strengthened the next generation, here are is a list of Black women who made history in 2021. 

Sha’Carri Richardson 

The 21-year-old track and field sprinter has made it clear: she’s a Black woman first and an athlete second. The athlete does not shy away from being outspoken even after receiving backlash for sharing a post comparing the acquittal of Kenosha protest shooter Kyle Rittenhouse to the murders of Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. The record-breaking sprinter has already marked herself a fan favorite as her supporters including Drake, who recently gave a shoutout in CLB, stand in her corner.

Zaila Avant-Garde

Sports Illustrated’s Kid of the Year, Zaila Avant-Garde, has a lot to add to her resume already at the young age of 14 after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee and being the first Black person to do so.  

Avant-Garde also holds titles in the Guinness Book of World Records: the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs, the most basketball bounces in 30 seconds with four basketballs, and ties of the record for most basketballs dribbled at once.

Kamala Harris

This year started off as the year of reclamation for Black women when Kamala Harris assumed office on January 20, 2021. Her position in the White House signified a new era of empowerment and furthered the rooms for Black women to enter. 

Simone Biles

Simone Biles became a household name as she used her remarkable influence as the world’s greatest gymnast ever to inspire a long-overdue global conversation on mental health. This year, Biles made self-prioritization apparent even as she dealt with the trials of former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Amanda Gorman

If you don’t remember the inauguration, you remember Amanda Gorman. The nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, read ‘The Hill We Climb’ and left viewers with a committed intention to continue rebuilding America with the purpose of unity. 

While this list includes select Black women, there are many more not to be forgotten. Tishaura Jones became the first Black woman to be elected mayor of St. Louis and Raphael Warnock as the first Black senator to represent Georgia. Black women have continuously proven to be the backbone of this country and are now making headlines as they are holding several titles in every field. 


Featured photo: Kamala Harris/Sha’Carri Richardson/Amanda Gorman/Zaila Avant-Garde

Her work has been published in Refinery29, Elite Daily, the Copenhagen Post, and more. She studies public relations and corporate relations at NYU. She loves reading, cheese plates, reality TV, and event planning. She lives in Williamsburg, but Miami is her second home. Follow her on Instagram @alyssa_s_ashley.

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