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Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges will be inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame

by Madison Thomas
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Women's Hall of Fame Induction

Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges have been selected for induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in the upcoming year, as announced by the hall on Thursday. This prestigious honor adds these two remarkable women to the previously disclosed list of individuals to be celebrated during Women’s History Month in March.

In its announcement, the Hall of Fame acknowledged that the 2024 inductee class comprises women who have shattered barriers, challenged the established norms, and made indelible marks on history. Serena Williams, aged 42, is celebrated as a 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, holding the record for the longest reign as the world’s No. 1-ranked player. Her retirement from tennis last year was followed by her recent achievement of the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, making her the first athlete to receive this prestigious recognition.

Ruby Bridges, now 69, became a historical figure at the tender age of six when she bravely became one of the first Black students to attend racially segregated schools in New Orleans in 1960. This iconic moment was later immortalized by painter Norman Rockwell in his famous painting, “The Problem We All Live With.” The Ruby Bridges Foundation, established by Bridges 24 years ago, remains dedicated to promoting tolerance and instigating positive change through education.

It’s important to note that the inclusion of Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges in this year’s inductee class came about due to changes in the date and location of the induction ceremony. As such, they join eight other distinguished honorees previously announced in the spring.

The roster of inductees for 2024 also includes Peggy McIntosh, 88, a renowned activist known for her work in exploring the concept of privilege; Kimberlé Crenshaw, 63, a key figure in the development of critical race theory, which underscores the systemic nature of racism within the nation’s institutions; and Judith Plaskow, 76, recognized as the first Jewish feminist theologian for her pivotal role in highlighting the absence of female perspectives in Jewish history.

Additionally, the class features Loretta Ross, 69, the founder of the National Center for Human Rights Education in Atlanta, and Allucquére Rosanne “Sandy” Stone, a transgender woman born in 1936 who is considered a pioneer in the academic field of transgender studies.

Posthumous inductions will honor three exceptional women: Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019), a pioneer in laser cataract surgery and the first Black woman physician to hold a medical patent; Dr. Anna Wessels Williams (1863-1954), who played a crucial role in isolating a strain of diphtheria for its treatment; and Elouise Pepion Cobell, known as “Yellow Bird Woman” (1945-2011), who established the first bank operated by a tribe on a reservation in Browning, Montana.

For the first time in history, the induction ceremony will be nationally broadcast in prime time from New York City, marking a departure from the previous 30 ceremonies held at various venues around Seneca Falls. This change reflects the significance of this year’s inductees as “changemakers of today” and a source of inspiration for future generations of women, as expressed by Jennifer Gabriel, the Hall of Fame’s chief executive.

It’s worth noting that the public plays a vital role in nominating women for consideration in the Hall of Fame, with nominations subsequently evaluated by an expert selection committee. This process ensures that the Hall continues to recognize and celebrate the exceptional contributions of women across various fields.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Women’s Hall of Fame Induction

Q: Who are the notable individuals being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2024?

A: The 2024 inductee class includes tennis legend Serena Williams, civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, and several other distinguished women from various fields.

Q: What achievements led to Serena Williams’ induction into the Hall of Fame?

A: Serena Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, holding the record for the longest time ranked No. 1. She retired last year and recently received the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Q: Can you provide more information about Ruby Bridges and her significance?

A: Ruby Bridges became an icon at the age of six when she integrated racially segregated schools in New Orleans in 1960. Her story was famously depicted in Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Problem We All Live With,” and she established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and education.

Q: Who are some of the other notable women in this induction class?

A: The 2024 class includes Peggy McIntosh, known for her work on privilege, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a pioneer of critical race theory, and Judith Plaskow, the first Jewish feminist theologian. Other inductees cover diverse fields such as activism, transgender studies, and healthcare.

Q: Where and when will the induction ceremony take place?

A: In 2024, for the first time, the induction ceremony will be broadcast nationally in prime time from New York City, departing from the previous tradition of holding it in Seneca Falls, New York, where the National Women’s Hall of Fame is located.

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