Famous 20th Century Political Activists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Political Activists

 1 
Harriet Tubman
(Activist and Abolitionist Known for Her Efforts in Rescuing Slaves and Abolition of Slavery)

Harriet Tubman
4
Birthdate: 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 2 
Ashley Judd
(Actress and Political Activist Known for Her Roles in ‘Ruby in Paradise’, ‘Heat’ and the TV Series ‘Missing’)

Ashley Judd
4
Birthdate: April 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ashley Judd is a popular American actress who is vocal about topics, such as sexual assault. As a three-time rape survivor—as claimed by her—Ashley serves as an inspiration to rape survivors around the world. Known for her humanitarian work, Ashley has worked on gender equality for over a decade. She is also famous for her political activities.

 3 
Danny Glover
(Known for His Lead Role as Roger Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' Film Series)

Danny Glover
4
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Danny Glover is an American actor whose career has spanned more than four decades. Apart from being an actor, Danny Glover has had a major impact as an activist; he has made his presence felt as an activist in countries like Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Israel, and many African countries.

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 4 
Angela Davis
(Political Activist)

Angela Davis
7
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 5 
Michel Foucault
(Philosopher & Historian)

Michel Foucault
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poitiers, France
Died: June 25, 1984

If others thought the body was the prison of the soul, Paul-Michel Foucault felt the other way round. The French philosopher, literary critic and Leftist who interpreted the link between power and knowledge, was a post-structuralist whose theories have left a mark on anthropology, psychology and criminology. The feminist was one of the noted personalities to have died of HIV/AIDS.

 6 
Alexei Navalny
(Russian Anti-Corruption Activist and Leader of Russia of the Future (Unregistered Opposition Party of Russia))

Alexei Navalny
4
Birthdate: June 4, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Butyn', Russia

Described by The Wall Street Journal as the man Vladimir Putin fears most, Alexei Navalny is widely regarded as Russia's opposition leader. He is famous for his accusations of corruption in Russia and Putin's government. In 2011, he created the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was dissolved in 2020. In August 2020, there was an attempt to assassinate him, when he was poisoned during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow.

 7 
Bob Geldof
(Lead Singer of The Irish Rock Band 'The Boomtown Rats')

Bob Geldof
5
Birthdate: October 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland
Irish singer Bob Geldof gained fame as part of the rock band Boomtown Rats, which delivered hits such as Rat Trap. He formed the charity supergroup Band Aid and organized concerts to eradicate poverty in Africa. He also appeared as Pink in the movie Pink Floyd – The Wall.
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 8 
Jesse Jackson
(United States Shadow Senator from the District of Columbia (1991-97))

Jesse Jackson
4
Birthdate: October 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
Civil rights activist and politician Jesse Jackson, father of former U.S. representative Jesse Jackson Jr., is also a Baptist minister. He has been a shadow U.S. senator from the District of Columbia and established organizations that merged into the non-profit Rainbow/PUSH. He also hosted CNN’s Both Sides with Jesse Jackson.

 9 
Abbie Hoffman
(Anti-War Activist, Social activist)

Abbie Hoffman
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 12, 1989

The co-founder of the Youth International Party, Abbie Hoffman was an American social and political activist. A popular exponent of the Flower Power movement, Abbie Hoffman played a major role in the events leading up to the violent confrontations with the cops during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He remains an iconic figure of the counterculture era.

 10 
Serj Tankian
(Singer-songwriter)

Serj Tankian
4
Birthdate: August 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Serj Tankian is an Armenian-American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Tankian is credited with co-founding the popular band System of a Down. Renowned for his wide vocal range and unusual delivery, Serj Tankian is widely considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time. Also a political activist, Tankian co-founded Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization.

 11 
Elie Wiesel
(Writer)

Elie Wiesel
5
Birthdate: September 30, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sighetu Marmației, Romania
Died: July 2, 2016

Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Elie Wiesel is best remembered for his book Night, which relates his traumatic experience as a Jewish prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. After surviving the Holocaust, he became a journalist and a human rights activist, and also helped in establishing the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 12 
Afeni Shakur
(Activist)

Afeni Shakur
5
Birthdate: January 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lumberton, North Carolina, United States
Died: May 2, 2016

Afeni Shakur was a political activist best known as the mother of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. Afeni Shakur was an important member of the popular political organization Black Panther Party where she mentored new members like Jamal Joseph, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, and Cleo Silvers.

 13 
Ralph Nader
(Political Activist)

Ralph Nader
4
Birthdate: February 27, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Winsted, Connecticut, United States
Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed was his critique of the safety measures of U.S. automobile manufacturers. His activism has led to the passage of acts such as the Consumer Product Safety Act. One of Time’s 100 Most Influential Americans, he inspired the documentary An Unreasonable Man

 14 
Simone de Beauvoir
(French Existentialist Philosopher, Writer, Social Theorist, and Feminist Activist)

Simone de Beauvoir
4
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.

 15 
Tom Hayden
(Political Activist)

Tom Hayden
6
Birthdate: December 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Royal Oak, Michigan, United States
Died: October 23, 2016

Tom Hayden was a prominent social/political activist, and a champion for civil rights and anti-war campaigns. Also known as Jane Fonda’s ex-husband, he had contributed to the Port Huron Statement and stood trial in the Chicago Seven Case. He was part of the California State Assembly and the California Senate.

 16 
Fela Kuti
(Multi-Instrumentalist & the Creator of ‘Afro-beat’, a Genre that Fuses West African Music with American Funk & Jazz)

Fela Kuti
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died: August 2, 1997
Political activist and Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti initially performed with his band Koola Lobitos and later renamed it Nigeria '70. He was inspired by the Black Power movement, which also gradually transformed his musical style. He married 27 women in 1978, to mark the anniversary of the Kalakuta Republic attack.

 17 
Bobby Seale
(Political Activist Who Co-founded the Black Panther Party)

Bobby Seale
6
Birthdate: October 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liberty, Texas, United States

 18 
Stokely Carmichael
(Political activist)

Stokely Carmichael
4
Birthdate: January 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: November 15, 1998

Stokely Carmichael was a significant part of the American civil rights movement and the worldwide Pan-African movement. He was associated with the Black Panther Party and the All-African People's Revolutionary Party. The Black Power movement leader later adopted the name Kwame Ture and traveled extensively through Africa.

 19 
Sophie Scholl
(Anti-Nazi Activist)

Sophie Scholl
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Forchtenberg, Germany
Died: February 22, 1943

Sophie Scholl was a German anti-Nazi political activist who was involved with a non-violent resistance group called White Rose. Scholl was executed by guillotine at the age of 21 for distributing anti-war leaflets. Since her death, Sophie Scholl has been viewed as an iconic figure. Her life and work have inspired several films, including Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.

 20 
Melissa Mathison
(Screenwriter)

Melissa Mathison
4
Birthdate: June 3, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: November 4, 2015

Melissa Mathison was a screenwriter and an activist for the Tibetan independence movement. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, for a while but quit before graduating. She was acquainted with Francis Ford Coppola who encouraged her to pursue a screenwriting career. She was once married to actor, Harrison Ford, and had two children.

 21 

Omarosa Manigault
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States

 22 
Stephen Stills
(Singer-songwriter)

Stephen Stills
6
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 23 

Ralph Waite
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: White Plains, New York, United States
Died: February 13, 2014
Ralph Waite is best remembered for his Emmy-nominated roles of John Walton Sr. in The Waltons and Slater in Roots. Fans also loved him in series such as NCIS and Bones, and in movies such as Cliffhanger. He was a U.S. Marine and also ran for Congress as a Democrat.

 24 
Emma Goldman
(Political activist)

Emma Goldman
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: May 4, 1940

Emma Goldman was a writer and anarchist political activist. She played an important role in popularizing the anarchist political philosophy in Europe and North America in the early and mid-20th century. Her lectures and writing spanned a wide variety of subjects, such as atheism, militarism, freedom of speech, homosexuality, capitalism, and free love.

 25 
Betty Ford
(Former First Lady of the United States)

Betty Ford
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 8, 2011

Betty Ford served as the First Lady of the US from 1974 to 1977. One of the most popular First Ladies in history, Ford was a passionate supporter of abortion rights and worked towards raising breast cancer awareness. She commented on topics like sex, drugs, abortion, and equal pay. In 1991, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 26 
Jack Kemp
(Politician)

Jack Kemp
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: May 2, 2009

 27 
James Brady
(White House Press Secretary)

James Brady
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Centralia, Illinois, USA
Died: August 4, 2014

 28 
Laura Loomer
(Political Activist)

Laura Loomer
4
Birthdate: May 21, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: North Miami, Florida, USA

 29 
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
(Military Leader)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944

 30 
Donald Trump Jr.
(Son of Donald Trump & Political Activist)

Donald Trump Jr.
6
Birthdate: December 31, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of former US President Donald Trump joined his father’s business at Trump Organization in 2001 and later became its executive vice president. He takes keen interest in politics and was also involved in his father’s presidential campaign. Many of his controversial statements have attracted huge criticism. He is also an author and a television personality.

 31 
Elizabeth Dole
(Politician)

Elizabeth Dole
5
Birthdate: July 29, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

 32 
Stacey Abrams
(Politician)

Stacey Abrams
12
Birthdate: December 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

One of the most popular African American politicians of the U.S., Democratic Party member Stacey Abrams is also the founder of the non-profit Fair Fight Action. A voting rights activist and a minority leader, she became the first Black woman to win the gubernatorial nomination of any state in the U.S.

 33 
Steve Schmidt
(Politician)

Steve Schmidt
3
Birthdate: September 28, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: North Plainfield, New Jersey, United States

 34 
Barbara Boxer
(Politician)

Barbara Boxer
5
Birthdate: November 11, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

 35 
Katrina Pierson
(Political Activists)

Katrina Pierson
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kansas, USA

 36 
Phyllis Schlafly
(Radio personality, Lawyer, Political activist, Journalist)

Phyllis Schlafly
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis
Died: September 5, 2016

American attorney and author Phyllis Schlafly was a major figure of paleoconservativism and was against feminism, LGBT rights, and abortion. She was also behind the STOP ERA campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, and her life and times were portrayed in the series Mrs. America, which had Cate Blanchett playing her.

 37 

Robert Ryan
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 11, 1973

 38 
Doug Stanhope
(Stand-up comedian)

Doug Stanhope
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 39 
Edda Göring
(Politician)

Edda Göring
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: December 21, 2018
Edda Göring was the only child of Nazi Party member Hermann Göring and actor Emmy Sonnemann. She grew up amidst luxury and received expensive art as gifts as a child, one of which, a painting of Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dragged her into legal disputes.

 40 
Rosario Dawson
(Best Known for Portraying the 'Star Wars' Character 'Ahsoka Tano')

Rosario Dawson
0
Birthdate: May 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

A popular actress, producer, and activist, Rosario Dawson is known as much for her involvement in politics and philanthropy as for her work in films and television. A strong supporter of various charitable organizations, such as One Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Rosario came out as member of the LGBT community in 2020.

 41 

Heather Thomas
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, United States

 42 

Lori Lightfoot
6
Birthdate: August 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Massillon, Ohio, United States

 43 
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

 44 
Lauren Southern
(Political Activist)

Lauren Southern
4
Birthdate: June 16, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Political activist and YouTuber Lauren Southern is also a prominent white nationalist. Initially an employee of The Rebel Media, she later also worked for Sky News Australia. She and two of her fellow anti-Muslim activists were refused entry at the Luton airport in the UK and even detained in 2018.

 45 
Howard Dean
(Former Governor of Vermont)

Howard Dean
5
Birthdate: November 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: East Hampton, New York, USA

 46 
David H. Koch
(Co-owner of Koch Industries)

David H. Koch
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: August 23, 2019

 47 
Russell Means
(Activist)

Russell Means
5
Birthdate: November 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Porcupine, South Dakota, United States
Died: October 22, 2012

 48 
Lindsey Graham
(Politician)

Lindsey Graham
11
Birthdate: July 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Central, South Carolina, United States

 49 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
6
Birthdate: September 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York, USA

 50 
Dashiell Hammett
(Regarded as one of the Best Mystery Writers of All Time)

Dashiell Hammett
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States
Died: January 10, 1961