Political figures like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and most recently Barack Obama are the first people that come to mind when people speak of influential black leaders.
Yes, these figures have played a major role in black history and the civil rights of African Americans in the U.S. over the decades. However, people often forget the influential black Americans in other fields too.
Black History Month
February marks Black History Month and this is when the significant contributions of African Americans are paid tribute too. Carter G. Woodson is considered the father of Black History Month. He was an influential author of historical works and was only the second African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard.
Impactful African Americans
Many prominent civil rights activists of the U.S. were more than inspiring leaders but were also very articulate. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X delivered powerful speeches, but Maya Angelou also left a legacy of numerous essays, poetry collections and books. The award-winning author was also an actress, dancer, and screenwriter.
Muhammed Ali was not only an Olympic medalist but also a heavyweight boxing champion with an impressive record of 56 wins. He also took a brave stance against the Vietnam War and refused to do his military service.
The billionaire philanthropist Oprah Winfrey may be best known for her 25 years as a talk show host, but is also a successful media executive. She is considered one of the most powerful celebrities of our time.
The inventor Garret Morgan and Daniel Hale Williams, one of the first physicians to perform open-heart surgery, were both African Americans. They inspired countless young people to follow in their groundbreaking footsteps.
One of the first African American women to become a self-made millionaire was Madame C.J. Walker. The first African American astronaut who went into space aboard the Endeavour in 1992 was Mae C. Jemison.
These and many more influential black leaders lead the way with their historic and celebrated achievements and they inspired and spur on younger generations to follow their dreams.