A Cheated History By Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion Over this last month, I have learned more about Black History than I ever knew. I loved reading about the strong woman who did so much for so many. It was truly inspiring to see these women excel in countless different areas. Their energy, dedication, intelligence, resistance, and creativity left me awe-struck. Some of the women crammed two or three careers in one lifetime while trying to avoid the many obstacles purposely put in their way. Being heard as a woman in the early 20th Century was an unsurmountable challenge for many. Being heard and seen as a Black woman was almost impossible, yet these women weren’t only successful, they thrived, outperformed others, and changed the world. As I got the opportunity to study these women, I couldn’t help but think about how we have all been cheated. We were sold a version of American history that is incomplete at best. We were told Rosa Parks was the first, yet Lillie Mae Bradford beat her by four years. We were taught Madam C.J. Walker was the first and only Black female millionaire, yet she was preceded by her mentor and teacher, Annie Turnbo Malone . Mary Ellen Pleasant ear hustled her way to millions long before Madam C.J. Walker as well. I marveled at the young Amanda Gorman whose pen was kissed by God. Her ability to write, draw us in, and heal us all in one sentence is unmatched, and I am comfortable knowing Ms. Gorman will help lead the next generation. We should have been taught in grade school about wonderful women of color and how strong they were, how smart they were, and how ferocious they were. I am proud to be a part of their lineage and upset that most of us were deprived of the history of Black women and their contributions to this country. As we escort Black History Month out and usher in Women’s History Month in March, I am excited to be given the honor of continuing to recognize women. The theme for this Women’s History Month is "Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories." As a result, I will be publishing a weekly blog in March celebrating Women who have made a living telling us stories. I am excited about this opportunity to learn and share the stories of more amazing women.