Celebrating Black History Month and Black Women of Science

It’s always been hard for women to break into the scientific fields of their choice because of discrimination but, it was even harder for women of color. Despite this, Black women have made significant contributions in so many areas from medicine, engineering, and physics to chemistry, nutrition and home economics. 

Here we tell the stories of four African American female scientists to celebrate Black History Month.

Yvonne Y. Clark, nicknamed Y.Y., was also called “The First Lady of Engineering” because of her achievements as a Black female mechanical engineer at NASA. And she was a civil rights activist. Listen to her story here.

Flemmie Kittrell had grown up poor, two generations removed from slavery. She earned a PhD from Cornell University in nutrition. Her experimental pre-school became the model for the Head Start program. Listen to her story here. 

Born in 1850, Sarah Loguen Fraser, the daughter of abolitionists, became one of the first Black women to earn a medical license. When Jim Crow laws stopped her from practicing she moved to the Dominican Republic. Listen to her story here.

In 1864, Rebecca Crumpler graduated as the first African American female medical doctor in the U.S. She is also considered the first Black person to publish a medical book, a practical guide to better health. Listen to her story here.

The History Makers Connection 

At Lost Women of Science we tell the stories of women who have been forgotten by history. Our co-host Carol Sutton Lewis connected us with an exceptional project started in 2000 by Julieanna Richardson that is making sure that doesn’t happen to African Americans today. It’s called The History Makers. Since 2000 it has been interviewing people of color who are making significant contributions to society, and preserving their stories in a digital archive. There are lots of MedicalMakers and ScienceMakers to celebrate, many of whom are women. We encourage you to delve right in!