2 Betty Shabazz(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African American Activist Malcolm X)
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)
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)
5 Henry Louis Gates Jr.(Author)
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 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)
8 Myles Munroe(Writer)
9 Carter Woodson(Historian)
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.
10 Stephen McKinley Henderson(Actor)
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)
12 T'Keyah Crystal Keymah(Actress)
13 Ron Carter(Musician)
14 W. C. Handy(Composer)
15 Yusef Abdul Lateef(Musician)
16 Anita Hill(American Lawyer Who in 1991 Accused U.S. Supreme Court Nominee
Clarence Thomas of Sexual Harassment)
17 Melvin Tolson(Poet)
18 Ron Dellums(Politician)
19 Babatunde Olatunji(Musician, Percussionist)
20 Ellis Marsalis Jr.(Pianist)
21 Maggie Lena Draper Walker(Entrepreneur)
22 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga(Politician)
23 Robert Parris Moses(Former Civil rights activist known for Freedom Summer, Algebra Project)
24 Barry Harris(Pianist)
25 Septima Poinsette Clark(Educator)
26 Archie Shepp(Jazz Saxophonist)
27 Natasha Trethewey(Poet)
28 Anthony Braxton(Composer)
29 Theaster Gates(Artist)
30 Edna Lewis(Chef)
31 E. R. Braithwaite(Novelist)
32 Woody Shaw(Trumpeter, Composer)
33 Walter Rodney(Historian, political activist)
34 Derrick Bell(Lawyer)
35 Mary Ann Shadd(Activist)
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(Author)
37 Autherine Lucy(Civil Rights Activist, Educator)
38 Jackie McLean(Musician)
39 Mokgweetsi Masisi(5th President of Botswana)
40 Richard Theodore Greener(Educator)
41 John Edgar Wideman(Author)
42 Ivan Semwanga(Socialite)
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.