My black history "shero" for today is my Soror, Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Born in Philadelphia, she became the first black woman in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D., earning the degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. However, sexism and racism prohibited her from finding work in her field. Later, she would remember the excitement and precedent-setting occasion of her graduation day and contrast it with the reality of being basically barred from her chosen field: "All of the glory of that occasion faded, however," she said, "when I tried to get a position."*
Undeterred, she worked for a while at an insurance company before re-enrolling at Penn, this time, in the law school. Her successful completion earned her the distinction of being the first black woman to earn a law degree from Penn.
During her successful career as an attorney, her life proved to be a litany of firsts. You can read more about them here.
*Francile Rusan Wilson, " 'All of the Glory... Faded... Quickly': Sadie T. M. Alexander and Black Professional Women, 1920-1950." in Sister Circle: Black Women and Work, ed. Sharon Harley and the Black Women and Work Collective (Rutgers University Press, 2002), 166.