Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges have been added to the National Women’s Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024. Williams, a tennis champion, entrepreneur, investor, fashion designer, and executive producer is considered among the greatest tennis players of all time. She won 23 Grand Slam championships during her career and holds the record for most time spent ranked #1 in the world.
Off the court, she established her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures in 2017, which focuses on investing in women and founders of color. Also in 2017, Serena launched her clothing label, S By Serena, which premiered at New York Fashion Week in 2019. In addition to her fashion and investment ventures, she is also a published author and executive producer. In 2023, she introduced her multimedia production company, Nine Two Six Productions. The endeavor aims to elevate female and diverse voices.
Bridges, a civil rights icon, activist, author and speaker made headlines at just six years old, as one of the first Black school children to attend desegregated schools in New Orleans in 1960. She has been the subject of books, movies. She later wrote about her early experiences in two books and received the Carter G. Woodson Book Award. A lifelong activist for racial equality, in 1999, she established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, DC.
Other inductees include Patricia Era Bath, an American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian, and academic. She was an early pioneer of laser cataract surgery and was the first Black woman physician to receive a medical patent, which she received in 1986, for the Laserphaco Probe and technique, which performed all steps of cataract removal. Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black academic, feminist, and activist for reproductive justice Loretta J. Ross and American pathologist Anna Wessels Williams.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince