Black "Firsts" We're Celebrating this Black History Month [Updated]

Black "Firsts" We're Celebrating this Black History Month [Updated]

These shining stars have become pioneers in their respective careers.

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Image for article titled Black "Firsts" We're Celebrating this Black History Month [Updated]
Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Staff (Getty Images), Kevin Dietsch / Staff (Getty Images), Mary DeCicco / Stringer (Getty Images)

Black History Month calls for a history lesson! Black people have been shattering glass ceilings and raising the bar for us all over the last few years. Here we shout out some new Black “firsts” worth remembering.

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Wes Moore

Wes Moore

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Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff (Getty Images)
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Keechant Sewell

Keechant Sewell

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Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld / Contributor (Getty Images)

Keechant Sewell was appointed by Major Eric Adams of New York City to be the 45th Police Commissioner of the city in 2021. Sewell is the first Black woman to lead the police department.

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Mike Grier

Mike Grier

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Photo: Bruce Bennett / Staff (Getty Images)

Mike Grier became the first Black general manager for a Nation Hockey League team in 2022, leading the San Jose Sharks. Grier is a former NHL player and was the first Black player to be born and train exclusively in the United States.

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Erin Jackson

Erin Jackson

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Photo: Jean Catuffe / Contributor (Getty Images)

Erin Jackson is the first Black woman to win a gold medal for solo speed skating, winning at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. She won the race with a time of 37.04 for the 500-meter event.

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Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

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Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor (Getty Images)

Kamala Harris became the first female and first Black and Asian American Vice President of the United States in January 2021. Prior to the position, Harris was a U.S. Senator and Attorney General for California.

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Beyoncé

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Photo: Frazer Harrison / Staff (Getty Images)

Beyoncé’s 2023 Grammy win for Renaissance made her the first Black woman to win the Best Dance/Electronic Album. The same night she beat the record for the most Grammy awards won in history.

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Lebron James

Lebron James

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Photo: Robert Gauthier / Contributor (Getty Images)

Lebron James beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for the most scoring points in NBA history, with 38,390 points, being three points over Abdul-Jabbar.

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Fisk Gymnastics

Fisk Gymnastics

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Photo: Stew Milne / Contributor (Getty Images)

Fisk University announced that it would be creating the first HBCU gymnastics team in February 2022. In January 2023, the team competed in its first meet, placing fourth. According to Deadline, a docuseries is being made about the team.

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Claudine Gay

Claudine Gay

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Photo: Boston Globe / Contributor (Getty Images)

Claudine Gay, who was previously a dean of arts and sciences at Harvard University, was made the 30th president of the Ivy League institution in 2023. She is the first Black woman to be president of the school.

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Autumn Lockwood

Autumn Lockwood

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Photo: Gregory Shamus / Staff (Getty Images)

The NFL announced before the 2023 Super Bowl that Autumn Lockwood, a coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, would be the fourth woman and first Black woman to be coaching in a playoff game.

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Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson

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Photo: Michael Buckner / Contributor (Getty Images)

Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson made history by getting the most Emmy comedy nominations for a Black woman in one year. She is also the youngest Black woman to be nominated in the comedy acting category.

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Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre

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Photo: Anna Moneymaker / Staff (Getty Images)

Karine Jean-Pierre made history in 2022 as she was named the first Black person and LGBTQ person as the White House press secretary.

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Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge

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Photo: Mary DeCicco / Stringer (Getty Images)

Outfielder for the New York Yankees Aaron Judge made a Major League Baseball record in 2022 by having 62 home runs in a season.

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Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

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Photo: Kevin Mazur / Contributor (Getty Images)

Angela Bassett is the first actor to win a Golden Globe for a Marvel movie, after accepting the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) nearly 30 years after winning her first Globe in 1994.

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Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott

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Photo: Paras Griffin / Contributor (Getty Images)

In 2023, Missy Elliot received the huge honor of being the first female hip-hop artist nominated to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson

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Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY / Contributor (Getty Images)

We witnessed the resilient Ketanji Brown Jackson being sworn in as the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice in early 2022. Prior to the position, Jackson was a U.S. circuit judge in the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals.

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Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts

Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts

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Photo: Carmen Mandato / Staff (Getty Images), Gregory Shamus / Staff (Getty Images)

The 2023 Super Bowl has for the first time in NFL history two Black starting quarterbacks MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts.

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Summer Lee

Summer Lee

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Photo: Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images (AP)

In November 2022, Democratic Congresswoman Summer Lee became the first Black woman elected to Congress to represent Pennsylvania.

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Karen Bass

Karen Bass

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Photo: Jerod Harris / Stringer (Getty Images)

Karen Bass was elected as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles in 2022, being the first Black woman to lead the city.

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