A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Aloyisus Leon Higginbotham Jr. was a prominent African-American civil rights advocate, author, and federal appeals court judge.
Alex Haley Alexander Murray Palmer "Alex" Haley was an American writer and the author of the 1976 book. ABC adapted the book as a television miniseries of the same name and aired it in 1977 to a record-breaking audience of 130 million viewers.
Alvin Ailey Alvin Ailey was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. He is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance.
Andrew Young Andrew Jackson Young Jr. is an American politician, diplomat, and activist.
Anthony Overton Anthony Overton, a banker and manufacturer, was the first African American to lead a major business conglomerate.
A. Philip Randolph Asa Philip Randolph was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties.
Archibald Grimké Archibald Henry Grimké was an American lawyer, intellectual, journalist, diplomat and community leader in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Barbara Jordan Barbara Charline Jordan was an American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
Ben Carson Benjamin Solomon Carson Sr. is an American neurosurgeon, author, and politician who is the 17th and current United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, under the Trump Administration.
Benjamin Hooks Benjamin Lawson Hooks was an American civil rights leader.
Benjamin Mays Benjamin Elijah Mays was an American civil rights icon and minister who helped lead the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil and political rights of African Americans in America.
Bill Cosby William Henry Cosby Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author. His start in stand-up comedy began at the hungry i in San Francisco; he then landed a starring role in the 1960s television show I Spy.
Carl J. Murphy Carl Murphy was an African-American journalist, publisher, civil rights leader, and educator.
Carlotta Walls LaNier Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was the first black female to graduate from Central High School.
Carl Rowan Carl Thomas Rowan was an American government official, journalist and author.
Carter G. Woodson Carter Godwin Woodson was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to study African-American history.
Channing Heggie Tobias Channing Heggie Tobias was a civil rights activist and 1948 Spingarn Medalist. In 1946 he was appointed to the President's Committee on Civil Rights. He has been called "the Booker T. Washington of his day".
Charles Hamilton Houston Charles Hamilton Houston was a prominent African-American lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School, and NAACP first special counsel, or Litigation Director.
Charles R. Drew Charles Richard Drew was an American physician, surgeon, and medical researcher.
Charles Sidney Gilpin Charles Sidney Gilpin was one of the most highly regarded stage actors of the 1920s.
Charles W. Chesnutt Charles Waddell Chesnutt was an African-American author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South.
Charles Young (United States Army) Charles Young was the third African-American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, first black military attaché, first black man to achieve the rank of colonel, and highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death in 1922.
Clarence Mitchell Jr. Clarence Maurice Mitchell Jr. was a civil rights activist and was the chief lobbyist for the NAACP for nearly 30 years. He also served as a regional director for the organization.
Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. was a civil rights activist and was the chief lobbyist for the NAACP for nearly 30 years. He also served as a regional director for the organization.
Coleman Young Coleman Alexander Young was an American politician who served as mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1974 to 1994. Young was the first African-American mayor of Detroit.
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. Powell was born in Harlem as the son of Jamaican immigrants.
Constance Baker Motley Constance Baker Motley was an African-American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City. She was the first African-American woman appointed to the federal judiciary by Lyndon B. Johnson.
Daisy Bates (activist) Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.
Daisy Bates (civil rights activist) Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.
Damon Keith Damon Jerome Keith is a Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Dorothy Height Dorothy Irene Height, an American administrator and educator, was a civil rights and women's rights activist specifically focused on the issues of African-American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness.
Douglas Wilder Lawrence Douglas Wilder is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 66th Governor of Virginia, from 1990 to 1994. He was the first African American to serve as governor of a U.S. state since Reconstruction, and the first elected African-American governor.
Duke Ellington Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death in a career spanning over fifty years.
Earl G. Graves Sr. Earl Gilbert Graves Sr. is an American entrepreneur, publisher, businessman, philanthropist, and advocate of African-American businesses.
Earl G. Graves, Sr. Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr. is an American entrepreneur, publisher, businessman, philanthropist, and advocate of African-American businesses.
Edward Brooke Edward William Brooke III was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first African American popularly elected to the United States Senate. He represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 1967 to 1979.
Elizabeth Eckford Elizabeth Eckford is one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The integration came as a result of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
Ernest Everett Just Ernest Everett Just was a pioneering African-American biologist, academic and science writer. Just's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms.
Frankie Muse Freeman Frankie Muse Freeman is an American civil rights attorney, and the first woman to be appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a federal fact-finding body that investigates complaints alleging discrimination.
Frederick D. Patterson Frederick Douglass Patterson, born in Washington D.C. and orphaned at the age of two. Patterson would later become president of what is now Tuskegee University and founder of the United Negro College Fund.
George Washington Carver George Washington Carver, was an American botanist and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he was born into slavery in Missouri, either in 1861, or January 1864.
Gloria Ray Karlmark Gloria Cecelia Ray Karlmark is one of the Little Rock Nine. She was 15 when she attempted to enter Little Rock Central High School. In 1965, she graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Mathematics.
Gordon Parks Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s—particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans—and in glamour photography.
Hank Aaron Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", is a retired American Major League Baseball right fielder who is currently the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves.
Harry Belafonte Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.
Harry Burleigh Henry Thacker "Harry" Burleigh, was an African-American classical composer, arranger, and professional singer known for his baritone voice.
Harry T. Moore Harry Tyson Moore was an African-American educator, a pioneer leader of the Civil Rights Movement, and founder of the first branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Brevard County, Florida.
Henry A. Hunt Henry Alexander Hunt was an African-American educator who led efforts to reach blacks in rural areas of Georgia. He was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as the Harmon Prize.
Jackie Robinson Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball second baseman who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.
Jacob Lawrence Jacob Lawrence was an African-American painter known for his portrayal of African-American life. But not only was he a painter, storyteller, and interpreter; he also was an educator.
James Weldon Johnson James Weldon Johnson was an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Johnson is best remembered for his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where he started working in 1917.
Jesse Jackson Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997.
Jessye Norman Jessye Mae Norman is an American opera singer and recitalist. A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire, and with the roles of Sieglinde, Ariadne, Alceste, and Leonore. Norman has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is a Spingarn Medalist.
John Conyers John James Conyers Jr. is an American Democratic politician and the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13. The district includes the western half of Detroit, as well as River Rouge, Ecorse, Redford Township, Dearborn Heights, Highland Park, Westland, Garden City, Inkster, Wayne, and Romulus.
John H. Johnson John Harold Johnson was an American businessman and publisher. He was the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company. In 1982, he became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400.
John Hope (educator) John Hope, born in Augusta, Georgia, was an African American educator and political activist, the first African-descended president of both Morehouse College in 1906 and of Atlanta University in 1929, where he worked to develop graduate programs. Both are historically black colleges.
John Hope Franklin John Hope Franklin was an American historian of the United States and former president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association.
John Lewis (civil rights leader) John Robert Lewis is an American politician and is a prominent civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for GA's 5, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes three quarters of Atlanta.
John Lewis (Georgia politician) John Robert Lewis is an American politician and civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for GA's 5, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes three quarters of Atlanta.
Julian Bond Horace Julian Bond was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Kenneth and Mamie Clark Kenneth Bancroft Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark were African-American psychologists who as a married team conducted important research among children and were active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Langston Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.
Lena Horne Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was an African American jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater.
Leon Sullivan Leon Howard Sullivan was a Baptist minister, a civil rights leader and social activist focusing on the creation of job training opportunities for African Americans, a longtime General Motors Board Member, and an anti-Apartheid activist.
Leontyne Price Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.
Louis T. Wright Louis Tompkins Wright was an American surgeon and civil rights activist. In his position at Harlem Hospital he was the first African-American on the surgical staff of a non-segregated hospital in New York City.
Mabel Keaton Staupers Mabel Keaton Staupers was a pioneer in the American nursing profession. Faced with racial discrimination after graduating from nursing school, Staupers became an advocate for racial equality in the nursing profession.
Marian Anderson Marian Anderson was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. Music critic Alan Blyth said: "Her voice was a rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty."
Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement.
Mary Burnett Talbert Mary Burnett Talbert was an American orator, activist, suffragist and reformer. Called "the best known Colored Woman in the United States," Talbert was among the most prominent African Americans of her time.
Mary McLeod Bethune Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Max Yergan Max Yergan was an African-American activist notable for being a Baptist missionary for the YMCA, then a Communist working with Paul Robeson, and finally a staunch anti-Communist who complimented the government of apartheid-era South Africa for that part of their program.
Medgar Evers Medgar Wiley Evers was an American civil rights activist from Mississippi who worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi and enact social justice and voting rights. He was murdered by a white supremacist and Klansman.
Minnijean Brown-Trickey Minnijean Brown-Trickey was one of a group of African American teenagers known as the "Little Rock Nine." On September 25, 1957, under the gaze of 1,200 armed soldiers and a worldwide audience, Minnijean Brown-Trickey faced down an angry mob and helped to desegregate Central High.
Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Mordecai Wyatt Johnson was an American educator and pastor. He served as the first black president of Howard University, from 1926 until 1960. Johnson has been considered one of the three leading African-American preachers of the early 20th-century, along with Vernon Johns and Howard Thurman.
Myrlie Evers-Williams Myrlie Louise Evers–Williams is an American civil rights activist of the Civil Rights Movement and journalist who worked for over three decades to seek justice for the murder of her civil rights activist husband Medgar Evers in 1963.
Oliver Hill Oliver White Hill, Sr. was an American civil rights attorney from Richmond, Virginia. His work against racial discrimination helped end the doctrine of "separate but equal."
Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
Paul Robeson Paul Leroy Robeson was an American bass singer and actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At Rutgers College, he was an American football player, and then had an international career in singing, as well as acting in theater and movies.
Paul Williams (architect) Paul Revere Williams, FAIA was an American architect based in Los Angeles, California. He practiced largely in Southern California and designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lon Chaney, Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Correll.
Percy Lavon Julian Percy Lavon Julian was an African American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.
Percy Sutton Percy Ellis Sutton was a prominent black American political and business leader.
Ralph Bunche Ralph Johnson Bunche was an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel. He was the first African American to be so honored in the history of the prize.
Rayford Logan Rayford Whittingham Logan was an African-American historian and Pan-African activist. He was best known for his study of post-Reconstruction America, a period he termed "the nadir of American race relations".
Richard Berry Harrison Richard Berry Harrison was a renowned actor, teacher, dramatic reader and lecturer. He was featured on the cover of TIME magazine on March 4, 1935. The son of fugitive slaves, Harrison was born in London, Ontario, Canada, on September 28, 1864, the eldest of five siblings.
Richard Wright (author) Richard Nathaniel Wright was an American author of sometimes controversial novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction.
Robert C. Weaver Robert Clifton Weaver was an American economist, academic, and political administrator; he served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1966 to 1968, in the new agency established in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Robert L. Carter Robert Lee Carter was an American lawyer, civil rights activist and a United States District Judge.
Robert Russa Moton Robert Russa Moton was an African American educator and author. He served as an administrator at Hampton Institute. In 1915 he was named principal of Tuskegee Institute, after the death of founder Booker T. Washington, a position he held for 20 years until retirement in 1935.
Roland Hayes Roland Hayes was an American lyric tenor and composer. It is a common myth that Hayes was the first world-renowned African-American concert artist. He had a couple of predecessors who achieved fame.
Rosa Parks Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".
Roy Wilkins Roy Ottoway Wilkins was a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. Wilkins' most notable role was in his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Ruby Dee Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of "Ruth Younger" in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun.
Sammy Davis Jr. Samuel George Davis Jr. was an American singer, dancer, actor and comedian. He was noted for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. At the age of three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father and Will Mastin as the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally.
Theodore K. Lawless Theodore Kenneth Lawless was an African-American dermatologist, medical researcher, and philanthropist. He was a skin specialist, and is known for work related to leprosy and syphilis.
Thurgood Marshall Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice.
Tom Bradley (American politician) Thomas J. "Tom" Bradley was the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles, serving from 1973 to 1993. He has been the only African-American mayor of Los Angeles, and his 20 years in office mark the longest tenure by any mayor in the city's history.
Vernon Jordan Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. is an American business executive and civil rights activist in the United States. A leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement, he was chosen by President Bill Clinton as a close adviser. Jordan has become known as an influential figure in American politics.
Walter Francis White Walter Francis White was an African-American civil rights activist who led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for almost a quarter of a century, 1931–1955, after starting with the organization as an investigator in 1918.
W. E. B. Du Bois William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community.
William Braithwaite William Stanley Beaumont Braithwaite was an American writer, poet and literary critic.
William H. Hastie William Henry Hastie, Jr. was an American, lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans. He was the first African American to serve as Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a federal judge, and as a federal appellate judge.
William T. B. Williams William Taylor Burwell Williams was Dean of Tuskegee Institute, taught at Hampton Institute, and was two-time president of the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools.
Wilson Riles Wilson Camanza Riles was an American educator and politician from California. He was the first African American to be elected to statewide office in California.