We have all heard the saying “Behind every great man there is a great woman.” I believe that the saying is more than true, but I think that we should all take a moment to show appreciation for the great women who stand behind great men, and the great women who stand alone.

So often, women allow themselves to be marginalized, to have their accomplishments compared to those of their male counterparts rather than to just be taken at their own value.

Women, specifically African American women, have made a splash in a number of industries when it comes to their own inventions; breaking into fields previously dominated only by men; politics; music and to the most difficult and most important job a person can have–rearing children.

With practical inventions to help with work around the house such as Sarah Boone’s ironing board, to Gertrude Downing’s corner cleaner attachment for vacuums, to highly sophisticated inventions such as home security systems utilizing television surveillance–invented by Marie V. Brittan Brown-women have time and time again stepped up to the plate showing that they are more than capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to.

I can honestly say I might not be where I am today, if it weren’t for Mary Ann Shad Cary who was the first African American woman to become a journalist. Born free in Delaware, this indomitable woman joined escaped slaves in Canada and founded a newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, in 1854, where her editorials called on those still in bondage to run away.

After the civil war, she became the first female law student at Howard University, practiced law and campaigned for women’s rights.

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first African American regardless of sex to run president of the United States.

Ella Fitzgerald broke records as the first Black woman to win a Grammy and MC Lyte did the same by becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album.

Some of the greatest male athletes, businessmen, and politicians were raised by single Black mothers who in most cases had more than one mouth to feed and more than one job to make it possible.

Needless to say, women contribute generously to our way of life and are way to often overlooked despite the sacrifice and struggle that they endure for us everyday. Women make the world go ’round, and Black women make the most impossible of tasks look effortless.