She Did It First: Celebrating African-American Female Trailblazers

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  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Carol Moseley Braun
  • Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Jocelyn Elders
  • Gabby Douglas
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Althea Gibson
  • Patricia Roberts Harris
  • Wilma Rudolph
  • Norma Merrick Sklarek
  • Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
  • Dr. Maya Angelou
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Tyra Banks
  • Halle Berry
  • Jane Bolin

Vanessa Williams 

Before actress Vanessa Williams appeared on screens both big and small, she was the first African-American crowned Miss America in 1983. She was forced to give up her crown after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine. 

(Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)