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 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois.
9
Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
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.

 2 Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell.
9
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

 3 Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston.
9
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.

 4 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu.
4
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.

 5 Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon.
8
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.

 6 Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki
6
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.

 7 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
8
Famous As: Author
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.

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 8 N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.

N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.

 9 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
4
Famous As: Diplomat, Economist
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi-Uku

 10 Julius Nyerere

Julius Nyerere
4
Famous As: Linguist, Politician, Translator
Birthdate: April 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Butiama
Died: October 14, 1999

 11 Sir Arthur Lewis

Sir Arthur Lewis.
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: June 15, 1991

 12 Carter Woodson

Carter Woodson.
5
Famous As: Historian
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.

 13 John McWhorter

John McWhorter
9
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 14 Judy Smith

Judy Smith
5
Famous As: Crisis manager
Birthdate: October 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 15 Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: February 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lusaka, Zambia

 16 Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Kenneth Bancroft Clark
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005

 17 Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Samuel Ajayi Crowther
3
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: 1809 AD
Birthplace: Nigeria
Died: December 31, 1891

 18 Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta
5
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Sociologist, Playwright, Editor, Children's writer
Birthdate: July 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yaba Department
Died: January 25, 2017

 19 Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
5
Birthdate: June 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Daytona Beach

 20 Molefi Kete Asante

Molefi Kete Asante
3
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: August 14, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Valdosta

 21 Francis Arinze

Francis Arinze
3
Famous As: Theologian, University teacher, Catholic priest
Birthdate: November 1, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Onitsha

 22 Christiane Taubira

Christiane Taubira
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 2, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cayenne, French Guiana

French left-wing politician Christiane Taubira has been the French minister of justice. A French Guianese by birth, she co-established the Caricoop Agricultural Association. The author of Slavery Explained to My Daughter, she lent her name to a law that prohibited Atlantic slave trade. She also legalized same-sex marriages in France.

 23 Sol Plaatje

Sol Plaatje
3
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
3
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Novelist
Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lexington
Died: November 6, 1884

 25 Édouard Glissant

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

 26 George Padmore

George Padmore
2
Famous As: Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: September 23, 1959

 27 Pearl Primus

Pearl Primus
2
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: November 29, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: October 29, 1994

 28 Tony Martin

Tony Martin
2
Famous As: Academic, Writer
Birthdate: February 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: January 17, 2013

 29 Johnnetta Cole

Johnnetta Cole
2
Famous As: Anthropologist and educator
Birthdate: October 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

 30 Peter John Gomes

Peter John Gomes
2
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 28, 2011

Listed by Time Magazine as one of "Seven Stars of the Pulpit", Peter John Gomes was a much respected preacher and theologian. Also Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School and Pusey Minister at Harvard's Memorial Church, he authored two bestselling books and published ten volumes of sermons. A celibate gay, he also worked for acceptance of homosexuality.

 31 Antenor Firmin

Antenor Firmin
2
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: October 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Died: September 19, 1911

 32 Charles S. Johnson

Charles S. Johnson
2
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: July 24, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol, Virginia, United States
Died: October 27, 1956

 33 Bogolo Joy Kenewendo

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo.
2
Famous As: Economist, Politician
Birthdate: 1987 AD
Birthplace: Motopi Village in the Boteti Area

 34 Pauline Hopkins

Pauline Hopkins
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1859 AD
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States
Died: August 13, 1930

 35 Claude Ake

Claude Ake
2
Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: February 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Omoku, Nigeria
Died: November 7, 1996

 36 Alexis Kagame

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

 37 Olivette Otele

Olivette Otele
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

 38 Philip Ndegwa

Philip Ndegwa
1
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: October 18, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Died: January 7, 1996

 39 Elisabeth Delatour Préval

Elisabeth Delatour Préval
1
Famous As: Economist, Businesswoman
Birthdate: 1962 AD
Birthplace: Haiti

 40 Elizabeth Nyamayaro

Elizabeth Nyamayaro
1
Famous As: Political scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 41 Djibril Tamsir Niane

Djibril Tamsir Niane
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Conakry, Guinea

 42 Lovemore Madhuku

Lovemore Madhuku.
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 43 Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 10, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago

 44 Safi Faye

Safi Faye
1
Famous As: Film director, Anthropologist
Birthdate: November 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal

 45 Edith Nawakwi

Edith Nawakwi
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Mwenzo, Northern Province, Zambia

 46 Archibald Campbell Jordan

Archibald Campbell Jordan
1
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pondoland, South Africa
Died: October 20, 1968

 47 Houston A. Baker, Jr.

Houston A. Baker, Jr.
1
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: March 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

 48 Henry Sylvester Williams

Henry Sylvester Williams
1
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 15, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago Arouca, Trinidad
Died: March 26, 1911

 49 Awa Marie Coll-Seck

Awa Marie Coll-Seck
1
Famous As: Politician, Researcher
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal

 50 Byllye Avery

Byllye Avery
1
Famous As: Healthcare Leader
Birthdate: October 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waynesville, Georgia, United States