Brilliant Black Women Who Married Powerful Black Men

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Powerful Black men who probably wouldnt have made it without their wife. www.naturallymoi.comReported by April Taylor

Women are often the emotional backbone of a family, and many do not receive the recognition they deserve for the integral roles they play in keeping a family healthy and vibrant. The Atlanta BlackStar recently published a blog post highlighting eight black leaders whose wives were just as much leaders in their own right. These women deserve to be acknowledged both for what they accomplished for their family and as Black leaders.

You can view some of the names below:


Betty Shabazz was Malcom X’s wife, and while Malcom was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, it was Betty who continued his work after his assassination, which unfolded before she and her children’s eyes.  Not only did Betty raise six daughters as a single parent after Malcom’s death, she also earned her Ph.D. in education administration.  In continuing Malcom’s social justice work, she gave lectures and also served as the director of the Communications and Public Relations department at Medgar Evers College.  She also collaborated with others to establish the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center in the same New York City neighborhood where her husband was assassinated.

Coretta Scott King is another Black woman who deserves just as much credit as her husband Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Coretta endured many of the same hardships as her husband, including being the recipient of death threats up until her death in 2006.  Coretta helped establish the King Center whose goal was to continue to help the poor and work against discrimination through the same nonviolent tactics used by her husband.  She also participated in the 20th anniversary March on Washington and also helped establish the national holiday that celebrates her husband’s life and legacy.

While many may not recognize her, Amy Jacques Garvey, the second wife of Marcus Garvey, worked alongside her husband and became the leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, her husband’s conviction on mail fraud charges.  She was also the editor of multiple publications of Garvey’s writings and speeches.  In helping make sure her husband’s work was published, she helped ensure that his legacy would be passed down to generations after them. She also became a published author herself after Garvey’s death.

Although Winnie Mandela has faced her own share of criticism over the years, her role in helping Nelson Mandela end apartheid in South Africa cannot be overlooked.  She became the leader of the anti-apartheid movement during Nelson’s 27 year imprisonment. She endured multiple arrests, torture, intimidation, and even solitary confinement.  She served as president of the African National Congress Women’s League and will forever be known as, “Mother of the Nation” to the South African people.

Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, may have never been introduced to Islam had it not been for his wife Clara Muhammad.  As the first lady of the Nation of Islam, Clara helped lead the organization when her husband was evading death threats and during his incarceration for sedition.  Clara was a pioneer in religious homeschooling, which led to the creation of the University of Islam and Muslim Girls Training Schools.  After her death, the schools were renamed the Sister Clara Muhammad Schools.

Myrlie Evers-Williams worked for more than three decades to get justice for the assassination of her husband Medgar Evers.  She wrote several books about civil rights issues, she served as the chairwoman of the NAACP, and also served as the director for the center for Educational Opportunity for the Claremont Colleges.

Miriam Makeba and Stokely Carmichael endured backlash and criticism after their marriage, which led to Makeba’s record deals and tours being cancelled. Carmichael was a Black Panther and leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  The two moved to Guinea where Makeba eventually became the country’s official delegate to the United Nations, winning the Dag Hammarskjold Peace Prize in 1986 for her work against apartheid and other oppressive policies.  As a globally successful music star, she never wore makeup or curled her hair helping women around the world recognize beauty in their blackness.

The world would not be the same without the influence of each of these women.



  1. Toni

    May 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Michelle Obama married to President Barrack Obama

  2. Read and think !

    May 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

    This is just a short list. I would include my mom, grandmom, teachers and sister too. Our community has always produce strong, intelligent Black women in our community. We have NO choice but to keep it up.

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