The list continues with blacks who were movers and shakers. These incredible blacks sparked revolutions, kicked down doors, and changed legislation.
#22- Paul Robeson– He was the ultimate Renaissance Man. He dominated the world of sports due to his physical strength, size, and grace. He earned a full scholarship in football to Rutgers University. He also made his name in other fields such as music, theater, politics, and human rights. He defined the odds of what a black man could accomplish in the early 1930s and 1940s.
#21- Phillis Wheatley– Before Maya told why the caged bird sang, Phillis Wheatly taught us about slavery and tyranny. She was the first African American women to have her work published.
#20- George Washington Carver– He was an agricultural scientist and inventor who went on to develop hundreds of products using peanuts. He also taught former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency.
#19- Paul Dunbar– He is one of the founder fathers of black American poetry. Despite dealing with deteriorating health, he produced some of his best and most famous work such as Lyrics of Love and Laughter, Howdy, Howdy, Howdy, and Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadowset.
#18- Medgar Evers– He was the first state field secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi, and he organized on the platform of voter registration, economic boycotts, and crimes against blacks.
#17- Rosa Parks– She refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus in 1955. That simple action sparked a movement that changed the entire landscape of the Civil Rights Movement.
#16- Mary McLeod Bethune– She was the daughter of former slaves. She saw the value in education for young girls and decided to start a school. She was one of the most important black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders and government officials of the twentieth century. Her school went on to become Bethune Cookman University in Florida. She also was a close friend and advisor to US Presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt.
#15- Julia Carson– She is one of ours. When I say one of ours, I mean a Hoosier. Julia Carson is arguably is one of the most popular and recognizable names in politics in the history of our state. She was one of the first African American women to represent Indiana in Congress.
#13- Thurgood Marshall– He could have retired simply after Brown vs Board of Education. The landmark 1954 case that forced public schools to desegregate. He is arguably one of the leaders of the dismantling of Jim Crow in this country. He served as the lead attorney for the NAACP fighting in the legal system of the rights of blacks in America. He was the first and one of only two black men to ever serve on the Supreme Court.
#12- Zora Neale Hurston– This confident writer and voice of the south was a pioneer for black writers especially women and women from the south. She is the author of four novels, one of which includes the celebrated and beloved Their Eyes Were Watching God. In that book, she told the story of Janie Crawford who went from a girl without a voice to a woman who knew exactly what she wanted from her life.
#11- Harriet Tubman– She was the Underground Railroad. In 2020, she will be the first African American women to appear on U.S. currency. Tubman was born a slave and got her freedom in 1849 when she escaped to Philadelphia. She could have started a life of her own, but she had a more significant purpose. Sparked by wanting to get other family members out of slavery, she began helping other blacks get to freedom. Despite having a bounty on her head, she continued to make trip after trip helping blacks get free.
Be on the lookout for my list of 10-1.