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“Lifting As We Climb” has long been the mission of African-American women. The sentiment, dating back to the first clubs founded by black women who fought for women’s suffrage and equality, is evidence that there has always been a bigger picture in mind.

To celebrate Black History Month and to commemorate the centennial of the 19th amendment ratification, Madamenoire partnered with Ancestry to create As We Climb, a celebration of trailblazing African American women who helped shape history. From bringing their families through the atrocities of slavery to mobilizing communities to fight for their rights, we highlight the determination, beliefs and hopes of past generations through an exploration of the lineages of three inspiring African-American women.

In As We Climb we follow Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of the largest African-American owned media company, Urban One; Eunique Jones Gibson, founder of Because of Them We Can, a platform dedicated to promoting black excellence and Brooklin Hardiman; a passionate student and voting activist at Howard University (HBCU), as they discover the histories of remarkable women in their bloodlines who laid the groundwork for generations to come. From the not-so-simple act of making sure their children could read to bravely speaking out on the injustice of slavery, we’re introduced to their ancestors who lived by the mantra “if I can’t, they will.” As each woman explores new branches in her family tree, we find that commitment to civic action and making change for the better are the through-line that binds them.