Black History Month is about acknowledging and affirming the history of the African diaspora. It originated in America and is also observed in Canada and the United Kingdom. Decades (actually centuries) of resisting oppression has called for courage from successive generations, and a celebration of moments of outstanding bravery is a part of the project of Black History Month.

American film and music video director Mathew Cherry posted a series of iconic photos highlighting black women who have been undeterred in the face of police intimidation.

The recent colour image is of nurse Ieshia Evans calmly facing off riot police as they arrested her during the Black Lives Matter protests in Baton Rouge in July 2016. It was taken by Jonathan Bachman.

The post has gone viral: it has 41 000 retweets and more than 75 000 likes.

Matthew also added this image:

Black women worldwide and locally have also done their share of resistance. Here’s Swedish activist Tess Asplund confronting neo-Nazis in a powerful photo:

And a new generation of young South African women led the #feesmustfall protests in 2015 and 2016. The hashtag #MbokodoLead, originated in the struggle saying ‘Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo’, which means ‘you strike a woman, you strike a rock’. They were compared to earlier women who fought for freedom in South Africa.

Their action echoed all the way down to protests against racist hair policies in South African schools: a 13-year-old schoolgirl faced off security guards and police in what has become an iconic image:

iconic images of black women

Via Instagram

Black History Month is a chance to remember and celebrate the courage of black women in sustaining decades of resistance.