Breaking Barriers

Biography

Elizabeth Keckley

Born into slavery, Elizabeth Keckley’s story is one of perseverance and ingenuity in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
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Biography

Janet Yellen

Dr. Janet Yellen, confirmed in January 2021 as the first female Treasury Secretary of the United States, is no stranger to breaking glass ceilings.
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Biography

Elsie Robinson

Elsie Robinson was a journalist, fiction writer and poet. She was best known for her nationally syndicated column, Listen, World! which was read by more than 20 million Americans between 1921-1956.
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Biography

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins made history in 2017 when she became the first African American, openly transgender woman elected to public office in the United States.
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Biography

Laverne Cox

A prominent actress and the first openly transgender person nominated for an Emmy, Laverne Cox has promoted visibility and awareness on behalf of the transgender community.
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Biography

Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine became the highest-ranking openly transgender government official in U.S. history when she was confirmed by the Senate as the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health in March 2021.
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Biography

Dr. Reiko Homma True

A leading advocate for culturally sensitive mental health care, Dr. Reiko Homma True is dedicated to improving mental health treatment for the Asian-American community and other minority populations.
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Biography

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is one of the world’s greatest tennis players, having won numerous tournaments and awards and reaching the rank of World No. 1. Her openness about her struggles with mental health inspired others to share their own stories.
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Biography

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly became a star journalist by going undercover as a patient at a New York City mental health asylum in 1887 and exposing its terrible conditions in the New York World.
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Biography

Mary Lou Williams

One of the greatest jazz pianists, composers, and arrangers of all time, Mary Lou Williams was a swing and bebop icon.
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Biography

Nina Simone

“The High Priestess of Soul,” Nina Simone was a singer, pianist, songwriter, and civil rights activist.
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Biography

Toshiko Akiyoshi

Toshiko Akiyoshi changed the face of jazz music over her sixty-year career. As one of few women and Asian musicians in the jazz world, Akiyoshi infused Japanese culture, sounds, and instruments into her music.
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Biography

Brownie Wise

Brownie Wise was a self-made woman who revolutionized marketing tactics and had a knack for motivating others. She introduced the now popular household item, Tupperware, to the market.
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Biography

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, a business leader and strategic thinker, is widely considered to be one of the top CEOs in the world for her leadership of the global behemoth PepsiCo for 12 years.
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Biography

Victoria Woodhull

The first woman to run for president and the first female stock broker on Wall Street, Victoria Woodhull achieved remarkable success in finance, journalism, and politics.
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Biography

Ibtihaj Muhammad

A world-class fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad made history as the first American to wear a hijab in Olympic competition at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
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Biography

Lisa Leslie

An early star of the WNBA and a four-time Olympic gold medalist, Lisa Leslie is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
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Biography

Serena Williams

Considered the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, and perhaps the greatest athlete of all time, Serena Williams has revolutionized women’s tennis since the 1990s.
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