Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in March of next year. The American organization in Seneca Falls, New York made the announcement Thursday.
The tennis great and the civil rights leader were added to a list to be honored during Women's History Month in March.
“The 2024 inductee class has broken barriers, challenged the status quo, and left an impact on history,” the Hall of Fame said in its announcement.
Eight other honorees were announced in the spring. Williams and Bridges became available after the ceremony plans changed, a spokesman said.
The 42-year-old Williams has won major events in tennis, called Grand Slam events, 23 times. She holds the record for the longest ranking as the top competitor. She retired from tennis last year. Earlier this month, Williams became the first athlete to win the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
The 69-year-old Bridges was six years old when she became the first Black student at a Louisiana public school where non-whites had been barred. The event took place in 1960. In 1963, painter Norman Rockwell recreated the scene in his painting, The Problem We All Live With. Bridges established the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999. It offers educational programs and resources to guide and support younger generations toward a peaceful future.
Others to be inducted include Peggy McIntosh, an activist known for her explorations of privilege; Kimberlé Crenshaw who helped develop the academic idea called critical race theory; and Judith Plaskow, considered by some people as the first Jewish feminist theologian for criticizing the lack of female ideas in Jewish history.
The founder of the National Center for Human Rights Education in Atlanta, Loretta Ross, will also be inducted. So will Allucquére Rosanne “Sandy” Stone, a transgender woman born in 1936 and considered a founder of transgender studies in colleges.
Three women will be inducted posthumously. Dr. Patricia Bath was an early leader of laser eye operations and the first Black woman doctor to receive a medical patent. Dr. Anna Wessels Williams made a disease discovery that led to a treatment for diphtheria. And Elouise Pepion Cobell, known as Yellow Bird Woman, started the first bank established by a Native American tribe on a reservation in Browning, Montana.
For the first time, the induction ceremony will be broadcast nationally in prime time from New York City, the Hall of Fame said. The past 30 ceremonies have taken place in places around Seneca Falls, New York. The town was the site of the first Women's Rights Convention and is home to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
“The 2024 class of inductees are scientists, activists, performers, and athletes who are changemakers of today and inspiration for the women of tomorrow,” said National Womens Hall of Fame chief, Jennifer Gabriel.
The American public nominates women to be considered for the Hall of Fame. A group of experts examines those nominations and makes the final decision.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Carolyn Thompson reported this story for the Associated Press. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
induct –v. to accept into something
challenge –v. to question authority
status quo –n. the way things are now
impact –n. influence
rank –v. to place things in order of where they place in a competition
privilege –n. having something that others do not or cannot have
academic –adj. related to teaching in universities but not in normal life
theologian –n. a person who is an expert in religious matters
posthumously –adv. after someone has died