Announced Thursday (Nov 16), Serena Williams and Ruby Bridges will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame next year.
The tennis legend,42, and civil rights icon, 69, are the latest inductees to the list of women slated to be honored for Women’s History Month in March.
“The 2024 inductee class has broken barriers, challenged the status quo, and left an impact on history,” the Hall of Fame said in its announcement.
Both women have made indelible marks in culture.
A 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, Williams who holds the record for the longest player ranked No. 1. She retired from tennis last year and earlier this month became the first athlete to win the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Bridges unintentionally became a public figure at 6 years old. She became one of the first Black students to integrate at an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960. In 1963, painter Norman Rockwell recreated the scene in the painting, “The Problem We All Live With.” The Ruby Bridges Foundation she established 24 years ago promotes tolerance and change through education.
As PBS reports, when recalling the first trip to her school, Bridges said “I saw barricades and police officers and just people everywhere. And when I saw all of that, I immediately thought that it was Mardi Gras. I had no idea that they were here to keep me out of the school. ”
For the first time, the induction ceremony will be broadcast nationally in prime time from New York City, according to the Hall of Fame. The previous 30 ceremonies have taken place at venues around Seneca Falls, the upstate New York site of the first Women’s Rights Convention, where the National Women’s Hall of Fame is located.
“The 2024 class of inductees are scientists, activists, performers, and athletes who are the changemakers of today and inspiration for the women of tomorrow,” Jennifer Gabriel, the Hall of Fame’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Their dedication, drive, and talent got them here, and we’re thrilled to honor them on the national stage.”