Famous American Human Rights Activists

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When the armies of Cyprus the Great conquered Babylon, little did people knew what was to happen next. To their surprise, the conqueror freed the slaves, established racial equality and declared freedom of religion, thus starting the first chapter of the world’s charter of human rights. In the millenniums following, there have been numerous Cyprus’s who have risen above the oppression and fought against the tyranny to give people their rights. It is to these great souls that we dedicate this section. America maybe a super power today and at the topmost position in the global front when it comes to human rights but the scenario wasn’t the same always. The country suffered from numerous problems and its people had little freedom. Slavery, oppression, civil rights were few of the many issues that Americans dealt with. However, there were several American human rights activists who fought for, campaigned and promoted human rights freedom. Some of them worth mentioning are Abraham Lincoln who made the famous Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King Jr. who worked as a non-violence civil rights leader, Thomas Jefferson who authored the Declaration of Independence and Jimmy Carter who established the Carter Center. Know in details about the famous American human rights activists.
Vote for Your Favourite American Human Rights Activists
 1 
Malcolm X
(Major Figure of American Civil Rights Movement)
Malcolm X
6
Birthdate: May 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died: February 21, 1965

An African-American leader of the civil rights movement, Malcolm X was a vocal spokesman of the Nation of Islam and called upon the blacks to protect themselves from the white, even if it meant adopting violence. His radical views and preaching later evolved and he accepted the possibility of peaceful resolution of racial issues in America.

 2 
Fred Hampton
(American Activist and Deputy Chairman of the National Black Panther Party)
Fred Hampton
4
Birthdate: August 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 4, 1969

Fred Hampton was considered an activist and a revolutionary socialist working for social change. He was the deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. He founded the Rainbow Coalition, aiming to help the Chicago street gangs to end infighting. The FBI considered him as a major threat and he was shot and killed in December 1969 during a raid.

 3 
Solomon Northup
6
Birthdate: July 10, 1807
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minerva, New York
Died: 1863 AD
Abolitionist Solomon Northup had authored the memoir Twelve Years a Slave, which was later adapted into the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. Northup was abducted and sold as a slave to a planter in Louisiana. He was eventually freed with the help of the governor New York.
 4 
Martin Luther King III
(Human Rights Activist)
Martin Luther King III
6
Birthdate: October 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
The American civil rights activist has continued his legendary father Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for racial equality. Martin Luther King III headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by his father and endorsed Barack Obama’s nomination for American presidency. King fought against police brutality, but he also denounced capital punishment, saying he did not belive in retributional justice.
 5 
Melissa Mathison
(Screenwriter)
Melissa Mathison
6
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.

 6 
Yolanda King
(Civil Rights Activist and Daughter of Civil Rights Leader 'Martin Luther King Jr.')
Yolanda King
9
Birthdate: November 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: May 15, 2007

African American activist, Yolanda King, was the first-born child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Exposed to social justice activism at a young age, she grew up to be an outspoken supporter of civil rights and LGBTQA+ rights. She was also known for her artistic endeavors. She died of heart disease at 51. 

 7 
Clara Barton
(Nurse, Founded of the American Red Cross)
Clara Barton
4
Birthdate: December 25, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 12, 1912
 8 
Gloria Allred
(American Feminist Lawyer Known for Taking Controversial and High Profile Cases for Women's Rights)
Gloria Allred
6
Birthdate: July 3, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
 9 
Lorraine Hansberry
(Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist)
Lorraine Hansberry
4
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 12, 1965

Lorraine Hansberry was a writer and playwright best remembered for her play A Raisin in the Sun which emphasizes the plight of African-Americans living under racial segregation. At the age of 29, Lorraine Hansberry received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, becoming the youngest playwright and the first African-American dramatist to win the prestigious award.

 10 
Jello Biafra
(Singer, Actor, Human rights activist, Politician, Journalist)
Jello Biafra
6
Birthdate: June 17, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boulder
 11 
Zelda Rubinstein
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: January 27, 2010
 12 
Andrew Koenig
3
Birthdate: August 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: February 14, 2010
 13 
Ed Roberts
(American disability rights activist)
Ed Roberts
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Mateo, California, United States
Died: March 14, 1995

Ed Roberts was an American activist best remembered for his contribution to the disability rights movement. Roberts, who became the first student to attend the University of California, Berkeley in a wheelchair, played an important role in inspiring and motivating people with physical disabilities. In 2011, Ed Roberts was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

 14 
Lady Miss Kier
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, USA
 15 
Ella Baker
(American activist)
Ella Baker
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: December 13, 1986
 16 
Iris Chang
(Journalist)
Iris Chang
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Died: November 9, 2004
 17 
Kerry Kennedy
(American Lawyer, Author and Human Rights Activist)
Kerry Kennedy
8
Birthdate: September 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

The daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy serves as a human rights activist. She is the president of a non-profit organization called Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which advocates human rights. Over the years, Kerry Kennedy has worked in over 60 countries on various human rights issues like child labor, ethnic violence, indigenous land rights, and freedom of expression.

 18 
Jack Herer
(Politician)
Jack Herer
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buffalo NY, United States
Died: April 15, 2010
 19 
Michelle Alexander
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 20 
Opal Tometi
(Activist)
Opal Tometi
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1984
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Opal Tometi is an American writer, human rights activist, community organizer, and strategist. She is best known as a co-founder of the popular decentralized social and political movement Black Lives Matter (BLM). In 2017, Opal Tometi was honored with the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. In 2020, she was named in the 100 Most Influential People list by Time magazine.

 21 
Walter Reuther
(Politician)
Walter Reuther
3
Birthdate: September 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wheeling, USA
Died: May 9, 1970
 22 
Helen Prejean
(Catholic Religious Sister and a Leading American Advocate for the Abolition of the Death Penalty)
Helen Prejean
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

A leading advocate for abolition of death penalty, Roman Catholic sister, Helen Prejea,n started her campaign after she became spiritual guide for a death row convict, penning down her experience in her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking. Also the founder of SURVIVE, a group aimed at helping the families of the victims, she has since been giving talks across USA.     

 23 
Geronimo Pratt
(Former military veteran who was accused in 1972 for the 1968 murder of Caroline Olsen)
Geronimo Pratt
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morgan City, Louisiana, United States
Died: June 2, 2011
 24 
Angelina Grimke
(American Political Activist, Abolitionist, and Women's Rights Advocate)
Angelina Grimke
3
Birthdate: February 20, 1805
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Died: October 26, 1879

Angelina Grimke was an American political activist, abolitionist, women's rights advocate, and promoter of the women's suffrage movement. She is best remembered for the anti-slavery speech which she gave outside Pennsylvania Hall in May 1838. One of her letters regarding anti-slavery was published by William Lloyd Garrison in his newspaper The Liberator in 1835.

 25 
Ophelia Dahl
(Social justice and health care advocate)
Ophelia Dahl
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oxford, England
 26 
Alan Lomax
(Folklorist)
Alan Lomax
3
Birthdate: January 31, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Austin
Died: July 19, 2002
 27 
Diane Nash
(Human rights activist)
Diane Nash
0
Birthdate: May 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 28 
Noura Erakat
(Human rights activist)
Noura Erakat
3
Birthdate: January 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alameda County, California, United States
 29 
Gerda Weissmann Klein
(Writer, Human rights activist)
Gerda Weissmann Klein
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bielsko, Poland

Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Polish American writer. She survived the Holocaust in which her entire family perished. Later on, she wrote an autobiographical account of the Holocaust, All but My Life, which was adapted into a short film. She and her husband became advocates of Holocaust education. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

 30 
Jacob M. Appel
(Historian, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Medical writer, Human rights activist, Journalist)
Jacob M. Appel
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City

Author and bioethicist Jacob M. Appel gained fame with his award-winning first novel The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up. Also known for his essays and short stories, he has seven masters degrees, in subjects ranging from American history to public health. He is also a practicing psychiatrist at the Mount Sinai Health System.

 31 
Lillian Wald
(Nurse, Humanitarian)
Lillian Wald
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: September 1, 1940
 32 
Loung Ung
(Memoirist who wrote two books which related her life experiences from 1975 through 2003)
Loung Ung
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
 33 
Mia Farrow
(Actress & Human Rights Activist Known for Her Films: 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'Guns at Batasi')
Mia Farrow
0
Birthdate: February 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Mia Farrow is one of the most decorated actresses of her generation. She is the first American actress to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. Apart from being an actress, she is also known for her humanitarian activities, especially in African countries. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Mia was named in Time magazine's most influential people in the world list in 2008.

Shirley Graham Du Bois
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: March 27, 1977
 35 
Charles W. Chesnutt
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: November 17, 1932
 36 
Shields Green
(Activist, Sailor)
Shields Green
0
Birthdate: 1836 AD
Birthplace: South Carolina, United States
Died: December 16, 1859
 37 
Yuri Orlov
(Physicist)
Yuri Orlov
2
Birthdate: August 13, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 27, 2020
 38 
Levi Coffin
(Abolitionist)
Levi Coffin
3
Birthdate: October 28, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Guilford County, North Carolina
Died: September 16, 1877
Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
 40 
Manning Marable
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: April 1, 2011
 41 
Avijit Roy
(Engineer, Blogger)
Avijit Roy
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bangladesh
Died: February 26, 2015
 42 
Maggie Kuhn
(Activist)
Maggie Kuhn
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: April 22, 1995
Charlotte Forten Grimké
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: July 23, 1914
 44 
Randall Robinson
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
 45 
Leon Sullivan
(American Human Rights Activist Known for His Work to Help Create Job Opportunities for African Americans)
Leon Sullivan
2
Birthdate: October 16, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charleston, West Virginia, United States
Died: April 24, 2001

Born into a poor neighborhood, Leon Sullivan later bagged an athletic scholarship but had to abandon his sports career due to an injury. He later became a Zion Baptist Church pastor and was actively involved in the civil rights movement and Operation Breadbasket, the latter meant to uplift Blacks economically.

 46 
Alison Des Forges
2
Birthdate: August 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Schenectady, New York, United States
Died: February 12, 2009
 47 
Clemantine Wamariya
(Writer, Motivational speaker)
Clemantine Wamariya
1
Birthdate: 1988 AD
Birthplace: Kigali, Rwanda
 48 
Warren Kimbro
(Activist)
Warren Kimbro
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: February 3, 2009
 49 
Moncure D. Conway
2
Birthdate: March 17, 1832
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Falmouth, Virginia, United States
Died: November 15, 1907
 50 
Eliza Farnham
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rensselaer, New York, United States
Died: December 15, 1864