As you may know, “making a way out of no way” is a popular African American phrase that points to the creativity and tenacity of people in the face of oppression. In the National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington D.C., the phrase is used as the title of an exhibit that illustrates a long history of activism and resistance. Using case studies, the exhibit explores how African Americans have found a way out of no way through education, health, religion, business, and more.

In the museum, there is also an extraordinary exhibit of African American musicians. Moving through this vast exhibit, I was humbled to consider both the many names I recognized and the many I did not. As African American History Month comes to a close and Women’s History Month begins, let’s remember three extraordinary African American women musicians: Billie Holiday, Marian Anderson, and Aretha Franklin.

See the full Patch article written by Barbara Heffner abridged from a sermon by Rev. Dr. Stephanie May HERE.