From the first Black woman secretary of state to the first Black openly trans woman elected to office, Black women have successfully broken political barriers while simultaneously enduring bouts of racism, sexism and other criticisms. Whether their accomplishments happened at the local, state, or national level, there's no denying these women proved that — regardless of the circumstances or hurdles — they refuse to accept defeat.

Ahead, we've outlined 10 Black women who became the first to hold various political titles over the course of modern American history. 

Kamala Harris is the first Black and South Asian woman nominated for vice president by a major party

California Sen. Kamala Harris made history last Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden
announced he had selected her to be his running mate — becoming the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket. Harris is also the first person on a presidential ticket to have graduated from an HBCU. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Howard University.

Condoleezza Rice was the nation's first Black woman secretary of state

Condoleezza Rice became the first Black woman appointed secretary of state in 2005 when President George W. Bush picked her to succeed Colin Powell, who also made history by becoming the first Black man appointed to that position four years earlier.

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress

Celebrated politician Shirley Chisholm cemented her name in history books when she became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968, representing New York's 12th District. The Columbia alumna served seven terms from 1969 to 1983.

In 1948 Alice Dunnigan made history as the first Black woman to be designated a White House correspondent

In 2018, a statue of Alice Dunnigan was unveiled at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum commemorating the late journalist's achievements. The Kentucky-born journalist became the first Black woman White House correspondent in 1948. According to Black Enterprise, Dunnigan also earned credentials to cover Congress, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Department of State. 

Andrea Jenkins made history in 2017 as a transgender politician

Chicago-born writer and activist Andrea Jenkins won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council in November 2017, making her the first Black openly transgender woman to hold an elected position in the United States.

"As an out African American trans-identified woman, I know first-hand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table — we want to set the table," Jenkins said following her historic victory.

Carol Moseley Braun was the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate

Illinois Democrat Carol Moseley Braun became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992. Her tenure came to an end in 1999 when she lost her reelection bid to Republican opponent Peter Fitzgerald. 

Patricia Roberts Harris was the first Black woman to serve in a presidential cabinet

Appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Patricia Roberts Harris served as secretary of housing and urban development from 1977 to 1979. She served as secretary of health and human services from 1979 to 1981 — making her the first woman to hold two different cabinet roles. Prior to that, she made history as the first Black woman to head a law school, Howard Law, in 1969.

Sharon Pratt Kelly was elected Washington, D.C. mayor in 1990

Becoming the first Black woman elected as mayor of a major urban city, Sharon Pratt Kelly served as the mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1991 until 1995.

Mia Love became Congress' first Black Republican woman in 2014

The former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, was elected to Congress in 2014, defeating Democratic competitor Doug Owens. Her time representing Utah's Fourth Congressional District came to an end in 2019 after she was defeated by Democratic opponent Ben McAdams.

Crystal Bird Fauset was the nation's first Black woman to serve in a state legislature

Crystal Bird Fauset broke barriers when she became the first Black woman elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 1938. In the years following that role, Fauset focused on international affairs and helped launch the United Nations Council of Philadelphia, known today as the World Affairs Council.

Black women have been shattering stereotypes and proving doubters wrong for decades. Though their stories aren't always given their deserved attention, they are nonetheless a force to be reckoned with.