Hidden Figures in History

Alexa Canady- Canady became the first black female neurosurgeon in the United States in 1981. She helped save thousands of lives, many of which were children. Canady became the chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 1987. She was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in Michigan in 1989 for her work in the medical field. Canady also received the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Award in 1993. She stands as an example for anyone who faces a formidable career path.
Jane Bolin- Bolin paved the way for women of color when she became the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. Bolin is responsible for becoming the United States’s first black female judge. During her time as a judge, Bolin ruled over family court cases, and worked with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to support a program that focuses on eliminating the crimes committed among young boys.

Jane Bolin- Jane Bolin paved the way for women of color when she became the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. Bolin is responsible for becoming the United States’s first black female judge. During her time as a judge, Bolin ruled over family court cases, and worked with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to support a program that focuses on eliminating the crimes committed among young boys.

Daisy Bates – Bates is responsible for co-founding The Arkansas State Press; one of the first black newspapers. The Arkansas State Press was dedicated to advocating for the Civil Rights Movement. Bates served as president of her local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter. Additionally, Bates was a big contributor to the desegregation of schools. Bates selected the Little Rock Nine, and was responsible for escorting them to school everyday.



Dorie Miller- Miller served as a mess attendant aboard the battleship West Virginia. At the time Miller was unable to hold a combat position due to segregation in the United States military. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Miller reported to his station and dragged a number of men from the ship, including the captain. Afterwards, the untrained mess attendant picked up an anti-aircraft machine gun, and was able to take out four Japanese planes before the order was made to abandon ship. Miller became the first African-American to be awarded the United States Navy Cross.
Granville T. Woods– Woods was one of the most influential innvators for the railroad. He held over 60 patents and was the first African American to be a mechanical and electrical engineer after the Civil War. Woods was self-taught and even created the Multiplex Telegram that allowed trains to communicate with train stations while moving.
Robert Smalls- Smalls was a slave in South Carolina. He worked primarily on ships during his time as a slave. Due to his knowledge of ships and his ability to teach himself how to read, he was able to sneak his family aboard a Confederate ship; the “USS Planter.” Smalls raised the Confederate flag, and was able to sail through unnoticed by other Confederate ships. When Smalls arrived in Union territory he quickly shared Confederate secrets. Smalls went on to serve the United States Congress in the South Carolina Senate.