Black Women Lead: Remembering Ruby Bridges, Sonia Sanchez and Maggie Lena Walker

Women throughout history have been inventing, leading, organizing, creating and making the world a better place despite gender injustice. If women knew about these inspiring stories that have been kept from them, would they be bolder and have more willingness to persevere?

Since incorporating as a nonprofit in 2015, Look What SHE Did! has produced 150+ three- to four-minute films of women telling the stories of the trailblazing women who inspire them.

Throughout Women’s History Month, discover untold stories of incredible women—starting this week with Ruby Bridges, Sonia Sanchez and Maggie Lena Walker.

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges stood up to terrible racial injustice at only 6 years old. Actor-writer Renée Threatte recounts the emotional story of this brave little girl integrating a New Orleans elementary school during the time of Jim Crow. She tells us what it meant to her growing up and what we can all learn from Ruby’s courage.

The world needs us right now to be brave, to speak out against injustice and against bigotry.

Renée Threatte

The Problem We All Live With, a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell, depicts Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to attend formerly whites-only William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana.

Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez laid down the cadence that evolved into poetry slams and Hamilton, influencing multiple generations. Reading her poetry like jazz, she inhabited the work and set a style that still resonates. She also pioneered teaching Black studies at white universities and was the first woman in America to teach Black women studies at the university level. This is Baddddd Sonia Sanchez—and you will want to hear actor Joyce Guy tell you her story.

She read her work like jazz.

Joyce Guy

Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker was a powerhouse, a brilliant visionary bringing dignity to her community despite the soul-crushing circumstances of the Jim Crow South.

An African American in Richmond, Va., at the beginning of the 20th century, she was the first woman, of any race, to found and become the president of a bank in the United States. Under her leadership the St. Luke Pennybank and its Benevolent Society helped hundreds of African-American families buy homes, start businesses and weather the financial crisis of the Depression.

Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony tells the emotional story of this foremother of hers who lifted the fortunes of multitudes of African Americans in the Old South, including Jiggetts-Tivony’s parents and grandparents. Maggie Lena Walker’s legacy lives on still.

A solution’s not a solution unless it lasts.

Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony

These videos were created by Look What SHE Did!

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Look What SHE Did! is a nonprofit organization with the mission to inspire women to greatness by bringing to light stories of remarkable women who changed the world. They create short films featuring female storytellers celebrating women who inspire them.