Book of the Day 2/3/23

Breaking Barriers: The First Ladies of Education by DeWitt S. Williams

(Biography & Autobiography)

Author DeWitt S. Williams shares the extraordinary story of three Black women who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and changed American education forever. The “First Ladies of Education” were the first Black women to earn PhDs – and this book shares their struggles and dreams as they cracked the glass ceiling of education.

Before Sadie Mossell (Alexander), Georgiana Simpson, and Eva Dykes, never in American history had a Black woman achieved a doctorate. These three women had “impossible” dreams, but they did not let that stop them. With undaunted perseverance, courage, and vision, their difficult first steps showed us the way. They succeeded despite enduring Jim Crow laws, harsh racism, and a system that refused to love them or respect them.

This book does an excellent job sharing the stories of all three women – highlighting each step along their arduous journeys. You’ll learn their unique backgrounds and stories. With that, you see relentless obstacles, profound hardship, and challenges that will shake you to your very core. And yet, they find a way to overcome the odds – and march down the aisle in 1921, breaking every barrier along the way.

This is an essential book to read during Black History Month, and every other month. Author DeWitt S. Williams does a remarkable job sharing their stories and reminding readers of the power of being the “first” to do anything. I recommend this book to educators, students, and anyone else who thinks they have an “impossible” dream. These three women remind us that nothing can stand in the way of true determination and courage.  


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