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7 Badass Trailblazers in Education

Get to know these badass trailblazers!

1858: Sarah Jane Woodson Early became America's first Black female college professor. She joined the Wilberforce College faculty in 1858.

1862: Mary Jane Patterson made history when she graduated in 1862 from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, becoming the first Black American woman to earn a degree from that school.

1869: Fanny Jackson Coppin became the first Black American female school principal at the Institute for Colored Youth.

1883: Hortense Parker is the first known Black American woman to graduate from one of the Seven Sisters colleges. She earned her degree at Mount Holyoke Seminary, now Mount Holyoke College.

1920s: Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was the first Black American woman to earn a PhD in Economics in 1921 and the first woman to earn a. law degree in 1927. She earned both of her degrees at the University of Pennsylvania.

1968: Elizabeth Duncan Koontz was the first Black American woman elected President of the National Education Association in 1968.

1999: Shirley Ann Jackson was the first Black American woman university president in the United States. She rose to the President's office at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.


A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.

M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls

“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book

#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers

Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.

Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.

Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.

Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.

Badass Black Girl helps you to:

  • Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations

  • Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling

  • Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self


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