Famous Black Intellectuals & Academics

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 Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina

One of the few personalities known for his disdain of self-promotion, Thomas Sowell is an important American social theorist and economist. Over the years, he has played a prominent role working as a faculty member of many prestigious universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cornell University

 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
Birthplace: Great Barrington
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 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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

 4 Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon
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Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: July 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort-de-France, Martinique, France
Died: December 6, 1961

Frantz Fanon was a French-West Indian born in Martinique, a former French colony. A skilled psychiatrist and physician, he realized the impact of colonialism on the human mind while treating French soldiers and Algerians. The author of books such as The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon supported the Algerian independence movement.

 5 Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki
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Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Transkei

Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician who is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of South Africa. From 1999 to 2008, he served as the president of South Africa. During his tenure as the president, the South African economy grew, creating employment opportunities. Over the years, he has received several awards, including the prestigious Good Governance Award.

 6 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
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Famous As: Diplomat, Economist
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi-Uku

 7 Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston
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Famous As: Folklorist, Anthropologist
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

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 8 John McWhorter

John McWhorter
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 9 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu
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Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 10 N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.

 11 Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere
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Famous As: Linguist, Politician, Translator
Birthdate: April 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Butiama
Died: October 14, 1999

 12 Carter Woodson

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

 13 Sir Arthur Lewis

Sir Arthur Lewis
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: June 15, 1991

 14 Judy Smith

Judy Smith
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Famous As: Crisis manager
Birthdate: October 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 15 Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: February 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lusaka, Zambia

 16 Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Kenneth Bancroft Clark
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005

 17 Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Sociologist, Playwright, Editor, Children's writer
Birthdate: July 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yaba Department
Died: January 25, 2017

 18 Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Samuel Ajayi Crowther
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1809 AD
Birthplace: Nigeria
Died: December 31, 1891

 19 Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
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Birthdate: June 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Daytona Beach

 20 Molefi Kete Asante

Molefi Kete Asante
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Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: August 14, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Valdosta

 21 Francis Arinze

Francis Arinze
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Famous As: Theologian, University teacher, Catholic priest
Birthdate: November 1, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Onitsha

 22 Christiane Taubira

Christiane Taubira
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Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: February 2, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cayenne

 23 Sol Plaatje

Sol Plaatje
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 9, 1876
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boshof, South Africa
Died: June 19, 1932
South African writer and journalist Sol Plaatje, known for his novel Mhudi, was well-versed in a number of languages, apart from his native Tswana. He founded what later became the African National Congress and made people across the globe aware of the plight of black Africans in his country.

 24 William Wells Brown

William Wells Brown
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Famous As: Writer, Historian, Novelist
Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lexington
Died: November 6, 1884

 25 Édouard Glissant

Édouard Glissant
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Died: February 3, 2011

 26 Pearl Primus

Pearl Primus
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: November 29, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: October 29, 1994

 27 Peter John Gomes

Peter John Gomes
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Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 28, 2011

 28 Johnnetta Cole

Johnnetta Cole
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Famous As: Anthropologist and educator
Birthdate: October 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

 29 Charles S. Johnson

Charles S. Johnson
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: July 24, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol, Virginia, United States
Died: October 27, 1956

 30 Bogolo Joy Kenewendo

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo
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Famous As: Economist, Politician
Birthdate: 1987 AD
Birthplace: Motopi Village in the Boteti Area

 31 Pauline Hopkins

Pauline Hopkins
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1859 AD
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States
Died: August 13, 1930

 32 Olivette Otele

Olivette Otele
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

 33 Alexis Kagame

Alexis Kagame
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 15, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kiyanza, Rwanda
Died: December 2, 1981

 34 Claude Ake

Claude Ake
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Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: February 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Omoku, Nigeria
Died: November 7, 1996

 35 Elizabeth Nyamayaro

Elizabeth Nyamayaro
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Famous As: Political scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 36 Djibril Tamsir Niane

Djibril Tamsir Niane
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Conakry, Guinea

 37 Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 10, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago

 38 Lovemore Madhuku

Lovemore Madhuku
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 39 Edith Nawakwi

Edith Nawakwi
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Mwenzo, Northern Province, Zambia

 40 Archibald Campbell Jordan

Archibald Campbell Jordan
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pondoland, South Africa
Died: October 20, 1968

 41 Houston A. Baker, Jr.

Houston A. Baker, Jr.
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Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: March 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

 42 Byllye Avery

Byllye Avery
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Famous As: Healthcare Leader
Birthdate: October 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waynesville, Georgia, United States

 43 Kenneth Oakley

Kenneth Oakley
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Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: April 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amersham, England
Died: November 2, 1981

 44 Georgios Hatzidakis

Georgios Hatzidakis
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1848 AD
Birthplace: Agios Vasileios, Greece
Died: June 27, 1941

 45 Mariama Hima

Mariama Hima
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: February 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Niamey, Niger

 46 Aisha Fofana Ibrahim

Aisha Fofana Ibrahim
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Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Sierra Leone