Famous Black Civil Rights Activists

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 1 
Sam Cooke
(Singer-songwriter)
Sam Cooke
10
Birthdate: January 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 11, 1964
The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World. He began singing gospel as a child and later joined The Soul Stirrers. He was shot and killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles. 
 2 
W. E. B. Du Bois
(Civil Rights Activists)
W. E. B. Du Bois
20
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 3 
Johnnie Cochran
(American Lawyer and Civil Activist Best Known for Defending and Acquitting 'O. J. Simpson')
Johnnie Cochran
8
Birthdate: October 2, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Died: March 29, 2005
Johnnie Cochran was an American civil activist and lawyer. Cochran played an important role in the acquittal of former football player O. J. Simpson in connection with the murder of the latter's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. Cochran had also represented other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Sean Combs, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Riddick Bowe, and Jim Brown to name a few.
 4 
Ruby Bridges
(Philanthropist)
Ruby Bridges
8
Birthdate: September 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tylertown
American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend an all-white educational institute when she joined the Louisiana-based William Frantz Elementary School in November 1960. She was the subject of Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With and the TV movie Ruby Bridges.
 5 
Coretta Scott King
(Civil-Rights Activist and the Wife of Martin Luther King Jr)
Coretta Scott King
11
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heiberger, Alabama, United States
Died: January 30, 2006

The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women's Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilising African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre, a not-for-profit organization.

 6 
Ida B. Wells
(Women's Rights Activist and Civil Rights Leader)
Ida B. Wells
5
Birthdate: July 16, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 25, 1931
Civil rights and women's rights activist Ida B. Wells is remembered for speaking up against the lynching of Blacks in the U.S. She was born a slave and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. She later co-founded the NAACP. She also co-owned and wrote for Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.
 7 
Marsha P. Johnson
(Civil Rights Activist)
Marsha P. Johnson
11
Birthdate: August 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
Died: July 6, 1992
 8 
Stokely Carmichael
(Key Leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States)
Stokely Carmichael
3
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.

 9 
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
(Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
7
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bizana, Eastern Cape
Died: April 2, 2018
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had first met legendary anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela at a bus stop when she was barely 22. They ended up getting married the following year. Winnie’s journey was marred by bans and harassment by the South African government, but the determined social worker revolutionized South African politics.
 10 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(Critic of Islam and Advocate of Women Rights)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.

 11 
Betty Shabazz
(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African-American Activist Malcolm X)
Betty Shabazz
9
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pinehurst, Georgia, United States
Died: June 23, 1997

Civil rights activist and educator Betty Shabazz, or Betty X, was the wife of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Raised by her adoptive parents in Detroit, she met Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam event in Harlem. She died when her apartment was set on fire set by her grandson.

 12 
Audre Lorde
(Writer)
Audre Lorde
7
Birthdate: February 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: November 17, 1992

Author and poet Audre Lorde is remembered as a firebrand feminist and a champion for the LGBT community. Openly lesbian, she penned iconic volumes such as Cables to Rage and The Black Unicorn. She also recorded her 14-year struggle with cancer in The Cancer Journals and A Burst of Light.

 13 
Ruby Dee
(Actress and Civil Rights Activist Known for Her Pioneering Work in African American Theatre and Films)
Ruby Dee
5
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: June 11, 2014

Ruby Dee was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, poet, civil rights activist, and journalist. She is best remembered for playing Mahalee Lucas in the 2007 film American Gangster, which earned her the Screen Actors Guild Award for Supporting Role. Dee also won a Grammy and Emmy during her career. She was also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

 14 
Miriam Makeba
5
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer, actress, songwriter, civil rights activist, and United Nations goodwill ambassador. One of the first African musicians to make an impact on the international stage, Makeba is credited with popularizing Afropop genres. She also advocated against apartheid through music and played a major role in the civil rights movement.

 15 
Al Sharpton
(Civil Rights Activist & The Founder of the National Action Network)
Al Sharpton
8
Birthdate: October 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 16 
Van Jones
(CNN News and Political Commentator Best Known for His New York Times Bestselling Book 'The Green Collar Economy')
Van Jones
6
Birthdate: September 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee, United States

Especially known for his honest and poignant commentaries, Van Jones is an award-winning political contributor, commentator, and the host of popular CNN programs like Van Jones Show and The Redemption Project. Also a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than twenty-five years, he has founded number of non-profit organizations and authored several best-selling books.

 17 
Benjamin Banneker
(Compiler of Almanacs)
Benjamin Banneker
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1731
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore County
Died: October 9, 1806

Benjamin Banneker was born to a free African-American mother and a former slave father, and was largely self-educated. While he showed immense talent in both mathematics and astronomy, having predicted a solar eclipse with precision, he also wrote essays on civil rights and rallied against slavery.

 18 
James Meredith
(Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Student Admitted to the 'University of Mississippi')
James Meredith
3
Birthdate: June 25, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States

James Meredith created history by becoming the first Black student at the University of Mississippi. A civil rights activist and an author, he had also been part of the U.S. Air Force. He was shot at while on his March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, but survived.

 19 
Tarana Burke
(Activist)
Tarana Burke
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.
 20 
Fannie Lou Hamer
(American Community Organizer and Women's Rights Activist)
Fannie Lou Hamer
5
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 14, 1977

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American community organizer and women's rights activist. She also played an important role in the civil rights movement. Hamer is credited with co-founding the Freedom Democratic Party as well as the National Women's Political Caucus. In 1993, Fannie Lou Hamer was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 21 
Bayard Rustin
(Activist)
Bayard Rustin
3
Birthdate: March 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: August 24, 1987
 22 
C. L. Franklin
(Baptist minister)
C. L. Franklin
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sunflower County, Mississippi, United States
Died: July 27, 1984

C. L. Franklin was an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. Dubbed the man with the million-dollar voice, Franklin was renowned for preaching his sermons throughout the country. During the 1950s and 1960s, Franklin worked towards ending prejudicial practices against the black people in Detroit. He is also credited with encouraging his daughter Aretha Franklin to pursue music.

 23 
Barbara Jordan
7
Birthdate: February 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston
Died: January 17, 1996
 24 
A. Philip Randolph
(Leader of the African-American civil-rights movement,)
A. Philip Randolph
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Crescent City
Died: May 16, 1979
 25 
Vernon Jordan
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 26 
Max Roach
(Musician)
Max Roach
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pasquotank County, North Carolina, U.S.
Died: August 16, 2007
 27 
Alveda King
(Politician)
Alveda King
7
Birthdate: January 22, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia, U.S.
 28 
Hosea Williams
(Civil Rights Leader)
Hosea Williams
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Attapulgus
Died: November 16, 2000
 29 
Ralph Abernathy
(American Civil Rights Activist and 2nd President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1968 - 1977))
Ralph Abernathy
7
Birthdate: March 11, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Linden, Alabama, United States
Died: April 17, 1990
American civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr to create the Montgomery Improvement Association.  Abernathy, who also served as an advisory committee member of the Congress on Racial Equality, addressed the United Nations about world peace in 1971. During the Wounded Knee incident of 1973, he helped broker a deal between the FBI and Indian protestors.
 30 
Ella Baker
(American activist)
Ella Baker
2
Birthdate: December 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: December 13, 1986
 31 
Isra Hirsi
(American Environmental Activist)
Isra Hirsi
4
Birthdate: February 22, 2003
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
 32 
Michael X
(Civil rights activist, Revolutionary)
Michael X
0
Birthdate: August 17, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: May 16, 1975
 33 
Billy Eckstine
(Musician)
Billy Eckstine
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 8, 1993
 34 
Raymond St. Jacques
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: August 27, 1990
 35 
Kenneth Bancroft Clark
2
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005
 36 
Roy Wilkins
(Civil rights activist who was the leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 1964 to 1977)
Roy Wilkins
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: September 8, 1981
 37 
Derrick Bell
(Lawyer)
Derrick Bell
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 5, 2011
 38 
Joseph Lowery
(Former American minister in the United Methodist Church and leader in the civil rights movement, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr.)
Joseph Lowery
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama, United States
Died: March 27, 2020
 39 
Amelia Boynton Robinson
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: August 26, 2015
 40 
Whitney Young
(Civil rights activist)
Whitney Young
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky, United States
Died: March 11, 1971
 41 
Mary Church Terrell
(African-American Suffragist, Civil Rights Activist)
Mary Church Terrell
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1863
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: July 24, 1954

Mary Church Terrell was an African-American suffragist and civil rights activist. She was one of the first women of African-American heritage to earn a college degree. Terrell helped establish the National Association of Colored Women and served as its first president. Mary Church Terrell was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2020.

 42 
Anna Julia Cooper
(One of the Most Important African-American Scholars in US History)
Anna Julia Cooper
2
Birthdate: August 10, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: February 27, 1964

Anna Julia Cooper was an American author, sociologist, educator, Black liberation activist, and speaker. She was one of the most important African-American scholars in US history. In 1924, Anna Julia Cooper earned her PhD from the University of Paris, becoming only the fourth African-American woman to receive a doctoral degree.

 43 
C. Delores Tucker
(Politician)
C. Delores Tucker
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 12, 2005
 44 
Roy Innis
(Activist)
Roy Innis
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands
Died: January 8, 2017
 45 
Gabriel Prosser
(Blacksmith)
Gabriel Prosser
4
Birthdate: 1776 AD
Birthplace: Henrico County, Virginia, United States
Died: October 10, 1800

One of the rare literate slaves of the colonial era, Gabriel Prosser was born into slavery at a tobacco plantation in Virginia. He led one of the first great slave revolutions of the U.S., aspiring to create an all-Black state, with himself as the king. He was eventually hanged.

 46 
A. D. King
(Minister)
A. D. King
0
Birthdate: July 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: July 21, 1969
 47 
Florynce Kennedy
(Former activist for feminism and civil rights)
Florynce Kennedy
2
Birthdate: February 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: December 21, 2000
 48 
Robert Parris Moses
(Former Civil rights activist known for Freedom Summer, Algebra Project)
Robert Parris Moses
4
Birthdate: January 23, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, United States
Died: July 25, 2021
 49 
Septima Poinsette Clark
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina
Died: December 15, 1987
 50 
Autherine Lucy
(Civil Rights Activist, Educator)
Autherine Lucy
2
Birthdate: October 5, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shiloh, Alabama, United States