Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges to be Inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame
Tennis star Serena Williams and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges will be inducted into the US’s National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2024. The institution, founded in 1969 honours women for their achievements and impact on a national and global scale.
Williams and Bridges will receive their honour in an induction ceremony during Women’s History Month, next 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.
The pair are new nominees announced after eight women were already selected. Williams and Bridges became available after the date and location of the ceremony were changed, a spokesman said.
Williams, 42, is a 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion who holds the record for the longest player ranked No. 1. She retired from tennis last year and earlier this month became the first athlete to win the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Bridges, 69, was a 6-year-old first-grader when she became one of the first Black students at racially segregated schools in New Orleans in 1960. In 1963, painter Norman Rockwell recreated the scene in the painting, ‘The Problem We All Live With’. The Ruby Bridges Foundation she established 24 years ago promotes tolerance and change through education.
The other eight nominees include Peggy McIntosh, 88, an activist known for her explorations of privilege; Kimberlé Crenshaw, 63, who helped develop the academic concept of critical race theory, the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions, and Judith Plaskow, 76, regarded as the first Jewish feminist theologian for calling out an absence of female perspectives in Jewish history.
Loretta Ross, 69, founder of the National Center for Human Rights Education in Atlanta, and Allucquére Rosanne “Sandy” Stone, a transgender woman born in 1936 and considered a founder of the academic discipline of transgender studies, are also to be inducted.
Three women will be inducted posthumously: Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019), an early pioneer of laser cataract surgery and the first Black woman physician to receive a medical patent; Dr. Anna Wessels Williams (1863-1954), who isolated a strain of diphtheria that helped in its treatment; and Elouise Pepion Cobell, known as ‘Yellow Bird Woman’ (1945-2011), who started the first bank established by a tribe on a reservation in Browning, Montana.