Famous Black Civil Rights Activists

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

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 1 James Baldwin

James Baldwin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 2 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Ghanaian
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 Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: February 4, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks, “the first lady of civil rights,” was a pioneer in the American revolution against color segregation and racism. Her refusal to leave her bus seat to a white passenger gave rise to the iconic Montgomery Bus Boycott, which also led her to work with Martin Luther King Jr.

 4 Malcolm X

Malcolm X
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: May 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

 5 Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
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Birthdate: January 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: June 3, 2016

Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was a major figure of the 20th century. He was an inspirational figure for African-Americans during the civil rights movement. Because of his opposition to Vietnam War and his refusal to be drafted into military, Muhammad Ali became an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

 6 Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: August 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: July 6, 1992

 7 Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Author
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

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 8 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 9 Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: October 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.

 10 Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael
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Birthdate: June 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Guinean, Trinidadian, American
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.

 11 Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: August 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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.

 12 Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers
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Birthdate: July 2, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: June 12, 1963
American civil rights activist Medgar Evers was the NAACP field secretary of Mississippi state. He has also served the U.S. Army during World War II. He worked toward securing voting rights for all and to end racial segregation. He was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith in 1963. 

 13 Lena Horne

Lena Horne
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.

 14 Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 16, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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.

 15 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
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Famous As: Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: April 2, 2018

 16 Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: September 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 17 Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson
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Famous As: Singer, Actor & Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: April 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: January 23, 1976

Singer and actor, Paul Robeson, was as much known for his music and films as he was for his political activism. As a black man who had to endure great difficulties to establish himself, he was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. As a performer, he was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

 18 Yolanda King

Yolanda King
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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. 

 19 Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
Died: November 10, 2008

 20 Claudette Colvin

Claudette Colvin
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 21 Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: November 17, 1992

 22 Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: March 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: August 24, 1987

 23 Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker
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Famous As: Compiler of Almanacs
Birthdate: November 9, 1731
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: October 9, 1806

 24 Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 14, 1977

 25 James Meredith

James Meredith
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 25, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 26 Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 17, 1996

 27 Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 18, 1955

 28 C. L. Franklin

C. L. Franklin
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Famous As: Baptist minister
Birthdate: January 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: July 27, 1984

 29 Alveda King

Alveda King
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 22, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 30 A. Philip Randolph

A. Phillip Randolph
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Famous As: Leader of the African-American civil-rights movement,
Birthdate: April 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 16, 1979

 31 James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 17, 1871
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: June 26, 1938

 32 Hosea Williams

Hosea Williams
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Famous As: Civil Rights Leader
Birthdate: January 5, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: November 16, 2000

 33 Max Roach

Max Roach
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: August 16, 2007

 34 Ella Baker

Ella Baker
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Famous As: American activist
Birthdate: December 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 13, 1986

 35 Vernon Jordan

Vernon Jordan
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: August 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 36 Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: April 4, 1968

A leader in the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. A man of Christian faith who was inspired by Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality.  

 37 Amelia Boynton Robinson

Amelia Boynton
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: August 18, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: August 26, 2015

 38 Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Kenneth Bancroft Clark
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 1, 2005

 39 Raymond St. Jacques

Raymond St. Jacques
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: August 27, 1990

 40 Whitney Young

Whitney Young Jr.
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Famous As: Civil rights activist
Birthdate: July 31, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: March 11, 1971

 41 Gabriel Prosser

Gabriel Prosser
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Famous As: Blacksmith
Birthdate: 1776 AD
Nationality: American
Died: October 10, 1800

 42 Roy Innis

Roy Innis
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: June 6, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: January 8, 2017

 43 C. Delores Tucker

C. Delores Tucker
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: October 12, 2005

 44 Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: September 23, 1863
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: July 24, 1954

 45 Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper
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Famous As: Author, Educator
Birthdate: August 10, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: February 27, 1964

 46 Derrick Bell

Derrick Bell
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: November 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: October 5, 2011

 47 Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima Poinsette Clark
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: May 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: December 15, 1987

 48 Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.

Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: May 29, 2005

 49 Gloria Richardson

Gloria Richardson
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Famous As: civil rights Activist
Birthdate: May 6, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 50 Autherine Lucy

Autherine Lucy
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Educator
Birthdate: October 5, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American