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- 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.
Feb 10, 2021 · 10 of the most influential African Americans in history Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. No single African American in history is perhaps as famous as Martin Luther King, Jr. A... 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... ...
- Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (Nov. 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972) He was the first person of African-American descent to be elected from New York to Congress. In 1961, after sixteen years in the House, Powell became chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, the most powerful position held by an African American in Congress.
- Alex Haley. (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) Alex was an American writer known as the author of the 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family.
- Angela Davis. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.
- Anna Murray-Douglass. (1813 – August 4, 1882) She was an American abolitionist and member of the Underground Railroad. Anna was the first wife of Frederick Douglas.
- 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.
Famous African-Americans. Throughout history many famous African-American men and women ...Dred Scott (1795-1858) Known F ...Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) Kn ...Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) ...Clarence Thomas (1948-present) ...Stevie Wonder (1950-present) K ...Oprah Winfrey (1954-present) K ...Condoleezza Rice (1954-present ...Ruby Bridges (1954-present) Kn ...Al Sharpton (1954-present) Kno ...Michael Jackson (1958-2009) Kn ...Barack Obama (1961-present) Kn ...Michael Jordan (1963-present) ...
A Black history primer on African Americans' fight for equality – five essential reads
President Barack Obama presents NBA champion and human rights advocate Bill Russell the Medal of Freedom on Feb. 15, 2011. Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesAs the father of Black history, Carter G. Woodson had a simple goal – to legitimize the study of African American history and culture.
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