- Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander | Writer | 1898-1989. A native Philadelphian, Alexander was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in economics in the United States, the first Black woman student to graduate with a law degree from Penn Law School, and the first African-American woman to practice law in Pennsylvania.
- Richard Allen | Minister | 1760-1831. A minister, educator and writer, this Philadelphia native founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent Black denomination in the United States.
- Maya Angelou | Poet | 1928-2014. Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist with a colorful and troubling past highlighted in her most famous autobiography, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings".
- Arthur Ashe | Tennis Player | 1943-1993. Ashe's resume includes three Grand Slam titles and the title of the first Black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only Black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. No single African American in history is perhaps as famous as Martin Luther King, Jr. A federal holiday on the third Monday each January celebrates his legacy.
- Rosa Parks. Best known for refusing to move to the back of a bus after being demanded she give up her seat to a white person, Rosa Parks was labeled as the “Mother of the Freedom Movement” following her bold disobedience subsequent arrest.
- Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay in 1942, Muhammad Ali made his name in the sport of boxing as one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all-time. He changed his name in the early 1960s from “Cassius Clay,” which he associated with slavery, and adopted a new one from the Islamic tradition that symbolized a new black separatist movement in the United States.
- Frederick Douglass. In Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, he outlines his life and subsequent escape from slavery, which proved instrumental to the abolitionist movement and the ultimate goal of ending slavery.
- Claudette Colvin. Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move to the back of a bus to give up her seat to a white person.
- Robert Sengstacke Abbott. Abbott laid the foundation for what would eventually birth many Black publications including Ebony, Jet, Essence, Black Enterprise, Right On!
- Shirley Chisholm. Chisholm kicked the door in for African American women holding major roles in government. She first served as an educational consultant for New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare and ran for New York State Assembly in 1964.
- Johnson H. Johnson. Hailed as one of the most influential Black media publishers, Johnson got his start working for Supreme Life Insurance Company collecting weekly news clippings for his manager, which sparked his idea for his first publication, Negro Digest.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862–1931) Phillis Wheatley ( c. 1753 –1784) Walter F. White (1893–1955) Roy Wilkins (1901–1981) Daniel Hale Williams (1856–1931) August Wilson (1945–2005) Oprah Winfrey (born 1954) Tiger Woods (born 1975) Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950) Richard Wright (1908–1960) Malcolm X (1925–1965) See also Lists of African Americans
- Molefi Kete Asante
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Since 1976, the US has marked the contributions of Black people and celebrated the history and culture of the Black experience in America every February ...
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