Did you know that a few well-known black women in American history were right-leaning or even part of the Republican Party?
Although black women overwhelmingly vote with the Democratic Party today, some of the giants on whose shoulders they stand held different political views.
On the first day of Black History Month, a time dedicated to reflecting on the accomplishments of blacks in America, we look at five powerhouse conservative black women who fought for equality and freedom for all people:
Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree, 1797-1883)
Former slave – Truth was born into slavery and bought and sold four times. She ran away with her infant to a nearby abolitionist family which bought her freedom for twenty dollars.
- Preacher – Truth became a charismatic speaker and renamed herself Sojourner Truth because she felt she was called to preach truth.
- Abolitionist – Truth gave speeches about the evils of slavery and met prominent abolitionists including William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.
- Suffragist – Truth championed women’s rights and temperance giving speeches about women’s equality, including her most famous “Ain’t I a Woman?”, and meeting suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
- Civil War recruiter – During the Civil War, Truth recruited young men to the Union army and organized supplies for black troops. Her work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. After the war, she became involved with the Freedmen’s Bureau, helping freed slaves find jobs and build new lives.
- Politics – Truth would have been politically aligned with the Republican Party platform, but she couldn’t actually vote.
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)
Liberator – Tubman was a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, a network of escape routes and safe houses. Over 19 trips she helped 300 slaves escape.
- Former slave – Born into Slavery, Tubman sustained permanent mental damage when her master hit her in the head with a weight for trying to stop him from beating a runaway slave. She eventually escaped to her freedom.
- Soldier – Tubman served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She is considered the first African American woman to serve in the military.
Suffragist – After the Civil War, Tubman joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in their efforts to gain rights for women.
- Politics – Tubman would have been politically aligned with the Republican Party platform, but she couldn’t actually vote.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
- Daughter of slaves
- Writer – Hurston portrayed racial struggles in the early-1900s American South.
Influencer – Hurston and a group of writers joined the black cultural renaissance taking place in Harlem and she became a central figure. She influenced many writers and became one of the foremost female writers of the 20th century.
- Anthropologist – Hurston’s work in anthropology examined black folklore and how it shaped black culture.
- Politics – Hurston was a Republican with Libertarian leanings, especially on foreign policy.
Condoleezza Rice (1954 – )
Diplomat – Rice became the first black woman to be appointed the National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, and the first black woman appointed as the Secretary of State.
Educator – Rice began her teaching career at Stanford in the early 1980s and ten years later became the first woman and first African American to serve as the Provost of Stanford.
Golfer – Rice became one of the first two female members admitted to Augusta National Golf Club, which had excluded women for 80 years.
- Pianist – Rice played the piano and entered college as a music major, but shifted to international relations.
- Politics – Rice became a Republican in 1982 in part because of foreign policy differences with the president at the time and because of her father’s influence. She said, “My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.”
Mia Love (Ludmya Bourdeau, 1975 – )
- First-Generation Immigrant – Love is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who fled political repression.
Congresswoman – Love was the first black person elected to Congress from Utah and the first black woman elected as a Republican.
- Politics – Love is Republican and has held multiple public offices prior to her congressional election.