40 Unsung Heroes of Black History We Should All Learn About This Month

A photograph of Mary Ellen Pleasant. Wikimedia.

40. Mary Ellen Pleasant, Abolitionist

While her early life is shrouded in mystery, Mary Ellen Pleasant left an indelible legacy in California. Born poor, as either a free Philadelphian or an enslaved Georgian, Mary Ellen worked as an indentured servant in a general store as a young woman. Through her time there, she learned a great deal about business and property ownership and eventually became a wealthy woman. She financially supported John Brown and other abolitionist causes and became known as the Mother of Human Rights in California.