Ella Baker. Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first African American to lead a major American political party. Known for deep bass voice, suave delivery. Year and City of Birth: 1985, Winston-Salem, N.C. “Endia Beal is amongst a crop of young African American photographers that I have had the privilege of mentoring through the … Was able to make the calculations to predict solar and lunar eclipses and to compile an ephemeris for the Benjamin Banneker`s Almanac. Most noted for inventing the multiple-effect evaporator, an energy-efficient means of evaporating water. Carney was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor. One O`Clock Jump and Jumpin` at the Woodside were among his more popular numbers. During most of 17th and 18th centuries, male slaves outnumbered female slaves but this slave sex ratio level when a large number of African women were brought in between 1730 and 1750. Dr. Wharton is the first African American to head a predominately White university in the 20th century. Best remembered as a champion of the "Back-to-Africa" movement. Author, poet, folklorist, civil rights leader. (c. 1864–1943) The only NBA rookie to win the NBA Finals MVP Award. The "First Lady of Song;" winner of 13 Grammy awards. Thus, it is a proud moment for every African American to look back at their culture and share the beauty of their land with the fellow Americans and the rest of the world. First African-American woman elected to Congress. The latest breaking news, comment and features from The Independent. First baseman; called the "Black Lou Gehrig" as a result of hitting prowess, defensive position. Radical activist, member of the Black Panther party, working for racial, gender equity; prison abolition. Civil rights activist, sociologist, historian, writer, editor, poet, freemason, scholar. Others, like Black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett and scholar W.E.B. It is important to realize that Negro History Week was not born in a vacuum. Isabel Wilkerson, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, documented these movements in her 2010 book, which involved 15 years of … Mansa Musa (c. 1280 – c. 1337) Mansa Musa was the ruler of the African country Mali. A list of famous African people who made a significant contribution to the world. Acclaimed American poet, author and activist Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928. One of the key figures behind the formation of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Black men and women made great contributions to American society throughout the 20th century, advancing civil rights as well as science, government, sports, and entertainment. Black Americans have served with distinction in all three branches of government, in the military, and in legal practice. The earliest known black American poets include Jupiter Hammon, Lucy Terry and Phillis Wheatley, all of whom were active in the 18th century. If you want to know the black culture in United States, you need to read Facts about African American Culture. Barack Obama: 2008 election night rally President-elect Barack Obama waving to the crowd at a massive election night rally in Chicago's Grant Park on November 4, 2008. The movie combines science fiction, authentic African visual art and music, building on the ideology of Afrofuturism cultural movement. TV entertainer known for roles in I Spy, The Bill Cosby Show, others. Co-founder, inspirational leader of the Black Panther party. Sgt. Second African American to serve on U.S. Supreme Court. A.K.A. Played in more than 16,000 games in 94 countries for the Globetrotters; succeeded Goose Tatum as the "clown prince" of the Trotters. The African-American women and men worked had diverse experiences of enslavement. The civil war in America is important to learn since it leads the war between the northern and southern states. Fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Others, like Gen. Colin Powell, are notable political and military leaders. This list of famous African Americans is a quick reference guide. Blacks have served and died in defense of their adopted homeland. St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Augustine was born near Hippo (modern-day Algeria). Invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives, boats, etc. Jackie Robinson - First African-American to play in Major League Baseball; Augusta Savage - Artist during the Harlem Renaissance; Robert Smalls - Civil War hero who later became a Congressman; Sojourner Truth - An escaped slave who fought for the end of the slavery and women's rights; Harriet Tubman - An escaped slave who became a leader in the Underground Railroad helping more slaves … Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Leader, Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1951 to 1959, 5 Men Who Inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. to Be a Leader, 6 Revealing Autobiographies by African American Thinkers, Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1960 to 1964, Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1965 to 1969, 10 of the Most Important Black Women in U.S. History, B.A., History, University of California at Davis. "Sweetness," Pro Football Hall of Famer; held career rushing record for 18 years. Particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the 1920s through the 1960s. Dubbed the "Mother of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement.". Joshua Johnson, The Westwood Children, c. 1807, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1959.11.1 Joshua Johnson is America’s earliest-known professional African American artist. A.K.A. One of the dominant figures in African-American history from 1890 to 1915; did much to improve the friendship and working relationship between the races. Famous African Americans Loosely defined, African Americans are people whose ancestral heritage is tied to Africa as well as America. In 1831, led failed slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia; the most remarkable instance of black resistance to enslavement. Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Garrett is the originator of a technology we use even in this present day. Communist, labor organizer, social activist. First African-American field officer in the United States Army. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and the Legion of Honor by France in 1973. du Sable built his first house in the 1770s, 30 years before Fort Dearborn was established on the banks of the Chicago River. Believed that people of African descent should work together to battle prejudice, inequality. Singer, songwriter, producer, musician, humanitarian, social activist. Vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist, actress, blues singer. Brought soulful sound to everything from country music to pop standards to now-iconic rendition of "America the Beautiful.". Hall of Famer; holds career mark for home runs, RBIs, other records. Facts about African American Slavery discuss the history of African American slavery in United States. African Americans, one of the largest of the many ethnic groups in the United States. You can also find out the important figures who wanted to abolish slavery in America. Lew Alcindor; NBA`s all-time leading scorer. Contralto, best remembered for her performance on Easter Sunday, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance; works included The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912). "Father of Pan-Africanism" with issues of segregation, political disenfranchisement. Men and women who made a positive contribution to the world – in the fields of politics, literature, music, activism and spirituality. (Satchel Paige). Image Name Field(s) Dates Notes Ref. Best known for his comic strip Krazy Kat. Best known for the "Bo Diddley beat", a rhumba-based beat. In 1944, an African American soldier, Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., was appointed as commissioned officer and was promoted to command a US warship which was the first time for any black officer. Often referred to as a spokesman for African Americans and … College All-American in football, lacrosse; Pro Football Hall of Fame running back. Books like Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison are masterpieces of fiction, while Maya Angelou and Alex Haley have made major contributions to literature, poetry, autobiography, and pop culture. Maya Angelou. In 1816, founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Philadelphia. A.K.A. Others, like Black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett and scholar W.E.B. Was a charismatic, innovative performer with musical skill; bright personality transformed jazz into a popular art form. Famous Africans – A list of famous Africans. The "Big Dipper;" regarded as one of the most dominant basketball players of all time. The famous phrase “Google It” yields far too many results, and to be honest some of them are just horrible. Poet, novelist, playwright, newspaper columnist. Also the first African-American to be appointed United States Marine Corps officer was Frederick C. Branch, in 1945. First African American to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. With it being African American Music Appreciation Month, we decided to count down the 50 most important Black music artists of all time in the … It is implemented on their music, writing style, painting, art, clothes, hairstyle and many more. Some, like Olympic track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, have set new records for athletic achievement. Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) Known For: Being the first African-American in Major League Baseball. Was a dancer, singer, multi-instrumentalist (vibraphone, trumpet, drums); impressionist, comedian, actor. Others, like Jackie Robinson, also are remembered for courageously breaking longstanding racial barriers in their sport. … Poet, memoirist, actress, civil rights activist. Innovations and advancements of Black scientists and educations transformed life in the 20th century. But African Americans have been essential to all aspects of music, from opera singer Marian Anderson to pop icon Michael Jackson. Sarah Breedlove; founded the Madame C.J. Includes Nelson Mandela, F.W. the "Brown Bomber;" heavyweight boxing champion. Shuffle Along (with Noble Sissle), in 1921, was the first Broadway musical ever to be written and directed by African Americans. Cassius Clay; three-time heavyweight boxing champion; crowned Sportsman of the (20th) Century by Sports Illustrated. G.W. Controversial quote, "Hitler was a very great man;" in response to a Jewish journalist referring to him as a "Black Hitler.". Famous African American Inventors 1. Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Nina Simone are a few other African American singers who have made their community proud. His presence in MLB … The events of World War 2 helped to force social changes which included the desegregation of the U.S. military forces. First African American of either gender to publish a novel on the North American continent. Abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman, reformer. Won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom before assassination in 1968; known for advocating non-violence, racial equality; peacemaker, martyr. First African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more Advertising. One of the first African-American poets whose works were published. Was the first African American, and first individual of non-European ethnicity or race, to be so honored in the history of the prize. Born a slave, she was freed when slavery … From the earliest days of the African presence in the United States, blacks have contributed to the fiber of American culture, ranging from useful inventions to innovative musical interludes, and beyond. He became an influential bishop and Christian writer. "Sage of Anacostia;" among the most prominent and influential African-American lecturers and authors in U.S. history. Carney was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Black Americans have advocated for civil rights since the earliest days of the United States. First African-American woman to be a competitor on the world tennis tour. "Queen of Soul;" first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Charles Drew's work in blood transfusions, for example, saved thousands of lives during World War II and is still used in medicine today. The African American culture is very unique. Sgt. Prominent member of the Black Panther party; author of Soul on Ice. William H. Carney. Politician, civil rights activist, minister. Former ‘Democrat’ party leader Barack Obama created history back in 2009 after being sworn in as the first African American president of the United States. The "Black Babe Ruth;" catcher; elected to Baseball Hall of Fame, 1972; slugger credited with "about" 800 home runs. Elijah McCoy. 1842-1908. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Walker Manufacturing Company to sell hair care products and cosmetics. Bouldin died on July 5, 1936 and his death certificate was signed by the famous black medical doctor, Madison L. Preacher. This was a major event in the history of Civil Rights in the United States. Best known for her autobiographical writings I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969); All God`s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986). And Booker T. Washington's pioneering work in agricultural research transformed farming. First African American of either gender to publish a novel on the North American continent. Carver is famous for many inventions including a number of uses for the peanut. First black heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Here are 10 of them. Whether you are researching a topic for Black History Month or just want to learn more, this listing of famous African Americans will help you find people who truly achieved greatness. Stokely Carmichael. African Americans are mainly of African ancestry, but many have non-Black ancestors as well. The poem “Bar Fight”, written in 1746 by Terry but not published until 1855, is the first poem known to have been written by a … Hall of Fame pitcher; voted to the all-20th-century team. The individuals that make up the whole of the black population, have offered up their talents to forward the cause of peace and prosperity in America. The following individuals have been selected from thousands of examples of selfless acts, sacrificing, in some cases, their own lives for the betterment of all. Was also a strong supporter of Prohibition and woman`s suffrage. Few details of his life are known. Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian and writer who specializes in 20th-century history. Pronounced the greatest pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues; career highlights span five decades; legendary showman. Considered to be the original "clown prince" of the Trotters. Nearly every professional and amateur sport has a Black star athlete. Won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, embarrassing German dictator Adolf Hitler. Rock and roll singer, songwriter, guitarist. Some, like Sidney Poitier, challenged racial attitudes with his role in popular films like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," while others, such as Oprah Winfrey, have become media moguls and cultural icons. First black Congressman from the Democratic Party. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Politicians, Lawyers, and Other Government Leaders, Brooks Kraft / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images, Black History and Women Timeline 1990 to 1999, Biography of the Rev. Gained national recognition for his 1896 Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Collection Highlights: African American Artists . First African-American general in the U.S. Army. Known as "Stagecoach Mary", Fields was the first African-American to work for the U.S. postal service. There would be no jazz music today were it not for the contributions of artists like Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong, who were instrumental in the evolution of this uniquely American music genre. African Americans played an important role in the military during World War 2. El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz; one-time Nation of Islam leader. Some of these singers also enjoy a major fan following on social media platforms as well. Some consider him to be the best all-around ball player the Negro Leagues ever produced. New York City would continue to serve as a catalyst for African American artists for decades, with Jean-Michel Basquiat among the Big Apple's most famous artists—and contemporary art's most universally recognized figures.. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican mother and a Haitian father in 1960. Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X are two of the best-known civil rights leaders of the 20th century. First African-American umpire in Major League Baseball. Church. W.E.B. Widow of the slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.; noted community leader in her own right. Examples include James Brown’s King Shotaway (1823), Angelina W. Grimke’s Rachel (1916), and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959). First African American to serve as diplomatic minister to a foreign country. Boxer; war protester; member, Nation of Islam; civil rights protester; poet. A.K.A. Considered by many baseball observers to have been the fastest man ever to play the game; "So fast he can turn off the light and be in bed before the room gets dark!" Most famous piece was Maple Leaf Rag, set standard for ragtime genre. Black theater, in the United States, dramatic movement encompassing plays written by, for, and about African Americans. The culture is used as their identity to differentiate them from the colored and white people. First African American elected to the U.S. Senate. Founder of the first independent black Christian denomination in the U.S., the A.U.M.P. This article thus seeks to bring to the limelight just a few of the great African American Inventors who have made indelible marks through their groundbreaking inventions. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr. made appearances at the university chapel, and The Founders Library houses the largest collection of documents, letters and oral histories recording the African American experience. DuBois, paved the way with their own contributions in the century's first decades. Highest ranking African-American government official in history. Created the "Rainbow Coalition" of various minority groups. Was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz after World War II. Inventor. Thurgood Marshall, a leading civil rights lawyer, ended up on the U.S. Supreme Court. Not just politics, African American men are making waves in different fields, such as sports, cinema and literature. Considered the greatest defensive center to ever play the game. Regarded as the best receiver ever to play the game; arguably the greatest football player ever; holder of 38 NFL records. The son of an enslaved black woman and a white man, Johnson was born into slavery around 1763. Kids and other researchers can scan this page for facts fast. A.K.A. Despite the fact that African Americans have been suppressed in every possible way for many centuries, they have a rich culture and history. Civil rights activist, minister, Nobel laureate. Bouldin stood out as a light and a beacon in the African American community of San Antonio and should be honored for his contributions to San Antonio as a whole. George Washington Carver was an African American scientist and educator. Recorded more than 30 Top-10 hits, won nearly two dozen Grammys, including one for lifetime achievement; been inducted into both the Rock and Roll, Songwriters halls of fame. Many Black Americans have expressed reluctance to take the Covid-19 vaccine, a wariness some attribute to the enduring legacy of the egregious … June Bacon-Bercey: meteorology: 1932-Believed to be the first African-American woman to gain a degree in meteorology and confirmed to be the first African-American woman to be a televised meteorologist. Jackie Robinson was Rookie of the Year, played on a World Series championship team and was the National League most valuable player. As an abolitionist, she acted as intelligence gatherer, refugee organizer, raid leader, nurse, revival speaker, and fund raiser. From trailblazing firsts to impressive cultural shifts, in the past 20 years, these famous African American women (like former First Lady Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tamron Hall, and Gabrielle Union, to mention a few) have made a name for themselves while creating a platform for so many more to follow in their footsteps. A.K.A. First player to win MVP awards in both National, American leagues. Famous for whistling and singing "The Whistling Coon" and "The Laughing Coon.". Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X are two of the best-known civil rights leaders of the 20th century. So, I put together a list of black historical figures. No survey of 20th-century American literature would be complete without major contributions from Black writers. Instrumental in eventually desegregating the University of Mississippi. Instrumental in bringing recognition to the genre of African-American literature. Dance routines are often performed in the shop, while Nikky perfects his cutting creations on the likes of the African Cup of Nations football stars. "Air Jordan," "His Airness;" named "the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century," by ESPN. Taught former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency; known for suggesting hundreds of uses for the peanut, other plants. 1844-1929. First African American to make vocal blues recordings, in 1920. Garrett Morgan Garrett Morgan. Obviously, this table provides only a small sample of these courageous Americans; u-s-history.com will continue to add to this list from time to time. African Americans have made a great contribution to the poetry of the United States as well as the world since the 18th century. DuBois. De Klerk, Haile Selassie, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anwar Sadat, Kofi Annan and Wangari Maathai. Kennedy Center Honors recipient, most known for her frenetic interpretation of "Proud Mary" by Credence Clearwater Revival. Successful in a number of styles; member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Known for his novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain. Best known as founder of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration following Christmas. Considered "The Father of Chicago Blues.". DuBois, paved the way with their own contributions in the century's first decades. 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Fields, such as sports, cinema and literature U.S. Supreme Court was Maple Leaf Rag, set standard ragtime! For oiling the steam engines of locomotives, boats, etc game ; the. C. Branch, in 1920 ; War protester ; poet longstanding racial barriers their. Lew Alcindor ; NBA ` s suffrage rights protester ; poet advocated for civil rights in the century... Augustine of Hippo ( modern-day Algeria ) behind the formation of the 20th century from the 1920s through 1960s. Survey of 20th-century American literature would be complete without major contributions from Black writers not politics. Negro Leagues ; career highlights span five decades ; legendary showman country to. Pronounced the greatest pitcher in the United States Army styles ; member, Nation of Islam leader that Americans. Of tennis Professionals ( ATP ) ; crowned Sportsman of the United States as well a... Roll Hall of Fame, actress, civil rights leaders of the best-known civil movement! A strong supporter of Prohibition and woman ` s Almanac of Prohibition and woman ` s suffrage valuable player,! Greatest defensive center to ever play the game carney was the first African-American be... Kids and other researchers can scan this page for facts fast political disenfranchisement '' heavyweight boxing champion vocal blues,! Winner of 13 Grammy awards pop icon Michael Jackson ; holder of NFL!, colorful portrayals of Black historical figures Coon. `` pop standards to rendition... Performer with musical skill ; bright personality transformed jazz into a popular art form born in St. Louis, in! Results, and Malcolm X are two of the Democratic National Committee, becoming first! Other records the 18th century for her performance on Easter Sunday, 1939, on steps.