SENECA FALLS — On Nov. 1, the National Women’s Hall of Fame announced its 2024 induction ceremonies would be held in New York City for the first time. And, when the Big Apple hosts the event, there will be two additional names to the next class of American women to be honored.
The Hall announced Thursday that tennis star Serena Williams and civil rights icon Ruby Bridges will join a now 10-member class that included the following women: Patricia Bath, Elouise Cobell, Kimberle Crenshaw, Peggy McIntosh, Judith Plaskow, Loretta Ross, Sandy Stone and Anna Wessels Williams. The latter eight were set to be inducted in September until the ceremony was put off.
The March ceremony will be broadcast live on primetime, although details have yet to be released.
The eight women nominated for induction last year were highlighted in the March 30, 2023, edition of the Times.
Here is a look at the ninth and 10th selections for the Class of 2024:
Ruby Bridges — The activist, author and speaker was the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. In 1963, painter Norman Rockwell recreated Bridges’ monumental first day at school in the painting, “The Problem We All Live With.”
She graduated from a desegregated high school, became a travel agent, married, and had four sons. She later wrote about her early experiences in two books and received the Carter G. Woodson Book Award.
A lifelong activist for racial equality, she established The Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Serena Williams — An internationally known and highly regarded tennis champion, she is an entrepreneur, investor, fashion designer, and executive producer. She is considered among the greatest tennis players of all time, ranking No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association for 319 weeks, including a record 186 consecutive weeks, and finished as the year-end No. 1 five times.
She won 23 Grand Slam singles title, the most by any player in the Open era and second most all time.
Off the court, Williams established her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, in 2017, focused on investing in women and founders of color. It now has a portfolio of more than 20 early-stage companies. Also in 2017, she launched her clothing label, S by Serena. She is a published author and, in 2023, introduced her multimedia production company, Nine Six Two Productions, which is aimed at elevating female and diverse voices through content that speaks to all.
A dedicated advocate, Serena and her sister, Venus, helped found the Yetunde Price Resource Center in her hometown of Compton, Calif., in 2016, designed to connect residents affected by violence with service providers.
“The 2024 class of inductees are scientists, activists, performers and athletes who are the changemakers of today and inspiration for the women of tomorrow,” National Women’s Hall of Fame Executive Director Jennifer Gabriel said. “Their dedication, drive and talent got them here and we’re thrilled to honor them on the national stage. The new class has broken barriers, challenged the status quo and left an impact on history.”
The 10 new inductees will increase the Hall membership to 312 American women of achievement since the Hall was founded in Seneca Falls in 1969.
The shrine is located at 1 Canal St. in the rehabilitated Seneca Knitting Mill building.