James Charles Evers (born September 11, 1922) is an important civil rights advocate in the United States. The older brother of civil rights martyr Medgar Evers, Charles Evers is a leading civil rights spokesman within the Republican Party in his native Mississippi. He was the first African American elected since the Reconstruction era as mayor in a Mississippi city, in Fayette in 1969. He ran for governor in 1971 and the United States Senate in 1978, both times as an independent.
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, circa 1818 – February 20, 1895) was born into slavery and is best known for his role in bringing the harsh realities of slavery to the attention of white Americans, at the same time being a living example of the fallacy of claims that black Americans were intellectually inferior to whites. He was an American abolitionist, women's suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer.
Tracy Marrow (born February 16, 1958), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American rapper and actor. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles, California. After graduating from high school he served in the United States Army for four years. He began his career as a rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays. The next year, he founded record label Rhyme Syndicate and released another album, Power.
James Brown (born James Joseph Brown, Jr. ) (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer and entertainer. Referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", Brown is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing. He was also called "the hardest working man in show business". As a prolific singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry.
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first African American Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to openly play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball, which had relegated African-Americans to the Negro leagues for six decades.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, and he has become a human rights icon: King is recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career.
Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. His detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, antisemitism, and violence.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement. " On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan, in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys, in 1955, had won rulings before the U.S.
Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008) was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for having played heroic roles, such as Moses in The Ten Commandments, Colonel George Taylor in Planet of the Apes, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar in El Cid, and Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Angela Davis (b. January 26, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American socialist, political activist and retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was the director of the university's Feminist Studies department. Davis was a vibrant activist during the Civil Rights Movement and was associated with the Black Panthers.
Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and producer. After Jackson became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles, before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee.
Gus Hall (October 8, 1910 – October 13, 2000) was a leader of the Communist Party USA and its four-time U.S. presidential candidate. As a labor leader, Hall was closely associated with the so-called "Little Steel" Strike of 1937, an effort to unionize the nation's smaller, regional steel manufacturers.
Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American jurist and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before becoming a judge, he was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. He was nominated to the court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.
Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) was an American historian, author, activist, playwright, intellectual and Professor of Political Science at Boston University from 1964 to 1988. He wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States. Zinn also wrote extensively about the civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war movements.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, historian, author, and editor. Historian David Levering Lewis wrote, "In the course of his long, turbulent career, W. E. B.
Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, New York City – June 21, 1964) was one of three American civil rights activists who were murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Samuel "Sam" Cook (January 22, 1931 – December 11, 1964) was an American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. Cooke had twenty-nine top-40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1964. Major hits like "You Send Me", "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Chain Gang", "Wonderful World", and "Bring It on Home to Me" are some of his most popular songs.
Claudette Colvin (born September 5, 1939) is a pioneer of the African American civil rights movement. She spontaneously resisted Alabaman bus segregation preceding the better known Rosa Parks incident by nine months, but her case was not publicized for long by black leaders because of her image as a lower-class, dark-skinned, unmarried pregnant woman. "her circumstances would make her an extremely vulnerable standard-bearer"
Mary Louise Smith (later Mary Louise Smith Ware) (born 1937) is a civil rights protester. She is famous as one of the pre-Rosa Parks women who refused to give up their seat in the "whites only" section of Montgomery, Alabama city buses. She was just 18 years old when she was arrested.
Stevie Wonder(born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950; name later changed to Stevland Hardaway Morris) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Blind from birth, Wonder signed with Tamla Records at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for the label. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever won by a male solo artist. On December 1, 2009, he was named a UN Messenger of Peace.
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and instrumentalist with a three-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label's top-selling solo artist during the sixties.
Louis Farrakhan (born Louis Eugene Walcott; May 11, 1933) is the National Representative of the Nation of Islam. He is an advocate for black interests, and a critic of American society. Farrakhan has been both widely praised and criticized for his often controversial political views and rhetorical style. In 1996, he was awarded the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights founded by Libya's de facto leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. (born October 3, 1954) is an African-American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and radio talk show host. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election. He hosts his own radio talk show, Keepin’ It Real, and he makes regular guest appearances on Fox News CNN, and MSNBC.
Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and earlier, and the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He counseled Martin Luther King, Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance.