Throughout Planned Parenthood’s history, Black providers, patients, and supporters have been a vital part of the Planned Parenthood community.
Black History Month is a unique moment for us to recognize and reflect on the vital contributions Black Americans have made to our nation’s history, culture, science, arts, and innovation — especially in the fields of reproductive health, rights and justice.
Throughout centuries of organizing for full citizenship and human rights, Black leaders have fought to expand, protect, and preserve their right to bodily autonomy. From pioneering Black women clinicians like Drs. N. Louise Young and Thelma Patten Law to modern-day luminaries like Loretta Ross and Dr. Willie Parker, Black leaders have helped shaped the legacy of the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement and continue to build a future in which all people have full access to reproductive freedom.
“Only the Black woman can say when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.”—Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice From The South
Whether it’s shifting our frameworks to be more in line with the principles of reproductive justice or locking arms with our partners to call for an end to white supremacy, Planned Parenthood knows that until there is a world where sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights, we can never achieve reproductive freedom.
As part of our month-long digital campaign, #28DaysofPower, Planned Parenthood will use our social media properties to honor 28 of the countless Black leaders who have made significant contributions to their communities.
For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has worked with leaders in Black communities to expand access to birth control, family planning, and reproductive health care and has joined leaders in the fight to protect Black communities’ reproductive health and rights.
We celebrate contributions that Black Americans have made to our nation’s history and the legacy built by civil rights leaders and cultural influencers to advance justice, freedom, and equality for Black people.
↓ Meet our #28DaysofPower nominees ↓
Feb. 1 — Faye Wattleton In 1978, Wattleton became the youngest individual at the time and the first African American woman to serve as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). During Wattleton’s 14-year tenure, PPFA became one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations. Under Wattleton’s leadership, the organization secured federal funding for birth control and prenatal programs; fought against efforts to restrict legal abortions; and, along with reproductive health allies, helped to legalize the sale of abortion pill RU-486 in the United States.
Feb. 2 — Shirley Chisholm In 1990, Shirley Chisholm — along with former Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Faye Wattleton, Byllye Avery, Donna Brazile, Dorothy Height, Maxine Waters, and Julianne Malveaux (among others) — formed the group African American Women for Reproductive Freedom to show their support for Roe v. Wade, doing so with what we now call a reproductive -justice framework. The former New York representative was the first African American woman elected to Congress. During her seven terms, Rep. Chisholm pioneered the Congressional Black Caucus and was an unwavering champion for women’s reproductive rights and access to health care, including abortion. In 2015, President Obama awarded Rep. Chisholm with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.
Feb. 5 — Dr. N. Louise Young
Feb. 6 — Thelma Patten Law
Feb. 8 — Miss Major Griffin-Gracy Major is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply “Mama” to many in her community. Her personal story and activism for transgender civil rights intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. At the center of her activism is her fierce advocacy for her girls, trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons.
Feb. 12 — Rainy is an all-star Planned Parenthood volunteer from Pennsylvania.
Feb. 13 — Sarah is a student, activist, and Planned Parenthood volunteer.
Feb. 14 — Cazambe Jackson Cazambe is a fearless advocate for reproductive health, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.
Feb. 16 — Nathalia From a young age, Nathalia knew the importance of standing up for her rights and her communities.
Feb. 17 — Precious As a patient-advocate for Planned Parenthood, Precious has been fearless in fighting for women's health care.
Feb. 19 — Clara Clara is a fashion design and Planned Parenthood patient-advocate. She credits access to birth control for helping her have the freedom and resources to start her own successful business.
Feb. 21 — Gabrielle Union Actress Gabrielle Union is a best-selling author and actress, currently starring in the hit television series "Being Mary Jane." Union is a relentless advocate for women, Planned Parenthood, and reproductive health.
Feb. 22 — Gbenga Akinnagbe An actor known for his roles on "The Wire" and "24: Live Another Day," Akinnagbe has used his platform time and time again to advocate for women's health and rights. As a founder of the "Liberate Women" campaign, he is creating space for women of color and health care.
Feb. 23 — Janet Mock Mock is a best-selling writer, editor, transgender activist, and women's health advocate. Her advocacy work has helped to create a powerful and safe space for the transgender community.
Feb. 26 — Tracy Reese Reese is an award-winning fashion designer who has created garments for figures including First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In addition to her work in fashion, Reese is an outspoken advocate for women's health and for supporting women of color.
Feb. 27 — Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner Kenner was an inventor who created a sanitary napkin belt and a moisture-absorbing napkin pocket. This invention took 30 years to patent because many businesses discriminated against Kenner after discovering she was a Black woman. Kenner went on to file several other patents.
Feb. 28 — Dr. Joia Crear Perry Dr. Crear Perry is president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative and a member of the National Medical Association Board of Trustees. She has done groundbreaking work as a physician. She advocates for women's health and the intersection of reproductive health and racial justice.