Famous Black Educators

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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Booker T. Washington
5
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
Died: November 14, 1915
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery but rose to be an advisor to many U.S. presidents and also became the director of the Tuskegee Institute. His Atlanta Compromise, initially accepted and later rejected by black leaders, urged the blacks to work for their freedom through education and not revolt.

 2 
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.

 3 
Ennis Cosby
(Teacher)

Ennis Cosby
4
Birthdate: April 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 16, 1997

The only son of comedian Bill Cosby, Ennis Cosby made headlines when he was shot dead at 27, in an attempted robbery on a deserted Southern California road. He was dyslexic and discussed his disability with the children he taught as a student-teacher at the Alfred E. Smith Elementary School.

 4 
Wynton Marsalis
(Trumpeter)

Wynton Marsalis
5
Birthdate: October 18, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
7
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 6 
Graça Machel
(First Lady of Mozambique (1975-1986), First Lady of South Africa (1998-1999))

Graça Machel
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gaza Province, Mozambique

Graça Machel is known for her association with Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and has been the country’s first education minister. She has also been married to both former Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through The Elders, she is devoted to working for women’s and children’s rights.

 7 
John McWhorter
(Linguist)

John McWhorter
6
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia
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 8 
Myles Munroe
(Writer)

Myles Munroe
4
Birthdate: April 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
Died: November 9, 2014

 9 
Carter Woodson
(Historian)

Carter Woodson
4
Birthdate: December 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Canton, Virginia, United States
Died: April 3, 1950

Historian Carter Woodson was is remembered for pioneering Black studies in schools and colleges. He began the Negro History Week, which is now celebrated as the Black History Month. Poverty had pushed him to work in the coal mines initially, and he couldn’t join high school before 20.

Stephen McKinley Henderson
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, USA

Best known for his work in the plays of August Wilson, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson has also impressed audiences with his roles in movies such as Lincoln and Dune. The Juilliard-educated actor has also been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the play Fences.

 11 
Max Roach
(Musician)

Max Roach
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pasquotank County, North Carolina, U.S.
Died: August 16, 2007

 12 

T'Keyah Crystal Keymah
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

 13 
Ron Carter
(Musician)

Ron Carter
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ferndale, Michigan, U.S.

 14 
W. C. Handy
(Composer)

W. C. Handy
6
Birthdate: November 16, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Florence, Alabama, United States
Died: March 28, 1958

 15 

Yusef Abdul Lateef
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
Died: December 23, 2013

 16 
Anita Hill
(American Lawyer Who in 1991 Accused U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas of Sexual Harassment)

Anita Hill
24
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lone Tree, Oklahoma, United States

 17 

Melvin Tolson
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moberly, Missouri, United States
Died: August 29, 1966

 18 
Ron Dellums
(Politician)

Ron Dellums
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oakland, California, U.S.
Died: July 30, 2018

 19 
Babatunde Olatunji
(Musician, Percussionist)

Babatunde Olatunji
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ajido
Died: April 6, 2003

 20 

Ellis Marsalis Jr.
3
Birthdate: November 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: April 1, 2020

 21 

Maggie Lena Draper Walker
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Died: December 15, 1934

 22 

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1864, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bondo, Kenya
Died: January 20, 1994

 23 
Robert Parris Moses
(Former Civil rights activist known for Freedom Summer, Algebra Project)

Robert Parris Moses
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, United States
Died: July 25, 2021

 24 
Barry Harris
(Pianist)

Barry Harris
3
Birthdate: December 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 25 

Septima Poinsette Clark
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina
Died: December 15, 1987

 26 
Archie Shepp
(Jazz Saxophonist)

Archie Shepp
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

 27 

Natasha Trethewey
3
Birthdate: April 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gulfport, Mississippi, United States

 28 
Anthony Braxton
(Composer)

Anthony Braxton
3
Birthdate: June 4, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 29 

Theaster Gates
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

 30 

Edna Lewis
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1916
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Freetown, Virginia, United States
Died: February 13, 2006

 31 

E. R. Braithwaite
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Georgetown, Guyana
Died: December 12, 2016

 32 
Woody Shaw
(Trumpeter, Composer)

Woody Shaw
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Laurinburg, North Carolina, United States
Died: May 10, 1989

 33 
Walter Rodney
(Historian, political activist)

Walter Rodney
0
Birthdate: March 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Georgetown, British Guiana
Died: June 13, 1980

 34 
Derrick Bell
(Lawyer)

Derrick Bell
4
Birthdate: November 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 5, 2011

 35 
Mary Ann Shadd
(Activist)

Mary Ann Shadd
17
Birthdate: October 9, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Died: June 5, 1893

The first North American Black woman to publish a newspaper, USA-born Mary Ann Shadd was the founder of the Canadian newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. Concurrently serving as its anonymous editor and contributor, she also became one of the first women to pursue journalism in Canada. She was also one of the first Black women to earn a degree in law.

 36 

Toni Cade Bambara
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 9, 1995

 37 
Autherine Lucy
(Civil Rights Activist, Educator)

Autherine Lucy
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shiloh, Alabama, United States

 38 
Jackie McLean
(Musician)

Jackie McLean
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: March 31, 2006

 39 
Mokgweetsi Masisi
(5th President of Botswana)

Mokgweetsi Masisi
0
Birthdate: July 21, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mosopa, Botswana

 40 

Richard Theodore Greener
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 2, 1922

 41 

John Edgar Wideman
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 42 
Ivan Semwanga
(Socialite)

Ivan Semwanga
0
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tabora, Tanzania
Died: May 25, 2017

Born in Uganda, Ivan Semwanga turned into a wealthy socialite after moving to South Africa, where he helped the affluent as a ritualist. He established several branches of the Brooklyn College in South Africa and was also a prominent philanthropist. He was also known as the God-father of the rich gang.

 43 
Carole Simpson
(Broadcaster)

Carole Simpson
3
Birthdate: December 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 44 
Geoffrey Canada
(Educator)

Geoffrey Canada
0
Birthdate: January 13, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 45 
Marjorie Lee Browne
(Mathematics Educator)

Marjorie Lee Browne
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Memphis
Died: October 19, 1979

 46 

June Jordan
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: June 14, 2002

 47 
Janet Collins
(Ballet Dancer)

Janet Collins
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: May 28, 2003

 48 
Ola Rotimi
(Playwright)

Ola Rotimi
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ilesa, Nigeria
Died: August 18, 2000

 49 

Edward Wilmot Blyden
0
Birthdate: August 3, 1832
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Died: February 7, 1912

 50 
Janeth Magufuli
(First lady, Educator)

Janeth Magufuli
0
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Tanzania