Botwc Firsts

Juliana Stratton Gets Sworn in as Illinois' First Black Lieutenant Governor

Posted by BOTWC STAFF on

Juliana Stratton Gets Sworn in as Illinois' First Black Lieutenant Governor

Photo via: Julianna Stratton  On Monday, Juliana Stratton was officially sworn in as the first Black Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Stratton also became Illinois' third consecutive woman lieutenant governor and the nation's fourth African American woman to hold a lieutenant governorship. Inserted inside the Bible she used to take the oath of office was Stratton's family history that her grandmother had written for her grandchildren. A part of that history includes Stratton's great-great-grandfather, William Stephens, who was born into slavery.  "On December 3rd, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state. 200 years later, with the DNA of my formerly enslaved great, great grandfather William...

Read more →


Barbara Gardner Proctor Was The First Black Woman To Own An Ad Agency

Posted by BOTWC STAFF on

Barbara Gardner Proctor Was The First Black Woman To Own An Ad Agency

Photo: WTTW News  Barbara Gardner Proctor blazed her own trail in 1970 when she launched her own business and became the first Black woman to own an advertising agency. Despite being born to a 16-year-old single mother in North Carolina and raised by her grandparents in a dirt-floor shack that had neither running water nor electricity, Proctor was never the one to allow her circumstances to define her. She went on to earn a scholarship to Talladega College in Alabama, where she obtained a degree in English, psychology and social sciences.  While she made plans to return home to work as a teacher, her plans changed after she...

Read more →


Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III Will Be The First Black Couple to Dance Lead Roles For The American Ballet Theatre

Posted by BOTWC STAFF on

Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III Will Be The First Black Couple to Dance Lead Roles For The American Ballet Theatre

 Photo: Rebecca Miller/Disney Enterprises   In 2015, Misty Copeland made history twice when she became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and along with Brooklyn Mack, the first Black couple to play the lead roles in a full-length production of "Swan Lake" at the Washington Ballet.  "Beyond my personal goals as a ballerina, I want to celebrate, elevate and give opportunities to talented Black and brown dancers to share the stage with me while I have the power and presence that I do," Copeland told the Los Angeles Times in an email. "And to build a structure...

Read more →


Michigan State’s First Black Rodeo Queen Could Become The First Black Miss Rodeo USA

Posted by BOTWC STAFF on

Michigan State’s First Black Rodeo Queen Could Become The First Black Miss Rodeo USA

  Photo: Lauren Jeziorski  In February of 2018, then Michigan State University sophomore, Khalilah Smith, became the first Black woman to be named MSU’s Rodeo Queen. As a result of earning that title, Smith, who is currently a junior in college, is gearing up to compete in the National Miss Rodeo USA competition that will take place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma between January 15-19. The Detroit, Michigan native began riding horses at the age of 10. Once she began to ride competitively, she was often the only African American woman. However, that didn't keep her from exuding Black Girl Magic...

Read more →


Missy Elliott Will Be ‘Supa Dupa Fly’ As The First Woman Rapper To Be Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame

Posted by BOTWC STAFF on

Missy Elliott Will Be ‘Supa Dupa Fly’ As The First Woman Rapper To Be Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame

 Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images  It's official! Missy Elliott will be the first woman rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. "CBS This Morning" announced the historic news on Saturday with the Hall of Fame deeming Elliott as "a groundbreaking solo superstar, pioneering songwriter-producer and across-the-board cultural icon." Elliott has earned five Grammy awards and blazed a trail as the only woman rapper to have all six studio albums be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Carving out her own lane in the music industry for 20-plus years, Elliott has also written hits for other women artists such as Whitney Houston, Aaliyah,...

Read more →


Back to Top