top of page

Seven Lesser-Known Women Who Broke the Sound Barrier

Meet some ground-breaking women who raised their voices in diverse ways, despite the 'sound barriers' dictating they should not be heard.

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield - The barrier-crashing Black Swan was the first African-American opera singer. More details about her life and career, including a photograph of her, can be found here.
Patricia Locke - A transformative Indigenous educator and activist for preserving Indigenous languages and cultures.
Richardene Kloppers - The first qualified black primary school teacher in Namibia, who later founded the first non-racially-segregated school in Namibia, placing her in strong opposition to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Sarojini Naidu- Known as the Nightingale of India for her beautiful poems, she was also a courageous activist, saying, "When there is oppression, the only self-respecting thing is to rise and say this shall cease today, because my right is justice."
Josephine Baker - African-American singer, dancer, World War II spy, and the first black woman to star in a motion picture, perform with an integrated cast in a concert hall, and the only female speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. Listen to her Washington speech here.
Bertha von Suttner - Among the first to write a book foretelling the disastrous results of exaggerated nationalism and armaments, she was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Enheduanna - The world's first named author, male or female.
bottom of page