Famous Black Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 
W. E. B. Du Bois
(Civil Rights Activists)
W. E. B. Du Bois
10
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
(Economist)
Thomas Sowell
23
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
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
9
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
(First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
Desmond Tutu
8
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
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 
Condoleezza Rice
(66th United States Secretary of State (2005-09))
Condoleezza Rice
13
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

 6 
Maya Harris
(American Lawyer, Public Policy Advocate & Sister of 49th Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris)
Maya Harris
8
Birthdate: January 30, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, United States

A lawyer, law professor, political analyst and a civil rights activist, Maya Harris’s list of achievements is huge. One of the youngest in the US to become a law school dean, Maya Harris has worked with Hillary Clinton and her own sister Kamala Harris in their respective presidential campaigns.

 7 
Thabo Mbeki
(Politician, Economist)
Thabo Mbeki
7
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.

 8 
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
(Literary Critic and Scholar Who Became Popular for His Pioneering Theories of African and African-American Literature)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
10
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia, United States

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.

 9 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(Nigerian-American Economist Who Has Served in Several Ministerial Positions in Nigeria)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and political figure. She served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006 before serving as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria from 17 August 2011 to 29 May 2015. Ngozi also served as the Minister of Finance on two separate occasions; from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2015.
 10 
John McWhorter
(Linguist)
John McWhorter
9
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia
 11 
Frantz Fanon
(French Psychiatrist and Philosopher Best Known for the Classic Analysis of Colonialism and Decolonization)
Frantz Fanon
8
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.

 12 
Carter Woodson
(Historian)
Carter Woodson
5
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 
Judy Smith
(Crisis manager)
Judy Smith
5
Birthdate: October 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 14 
Sir Arthur Lewis
(Economist)
Sir Arthur Lewis
4
Birthdate: January 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: June 15, 1991
 15 
Percy Lavon Julian
(One of the First African Americans to Receive a Doctorate in Chemistry)
Percy Lavon Julian
4
Birthdate: April 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: April 19, 1975

Percy Lavon Julian was an American chemist whose work paved the way for the production of birth control pills and corticosteroids. Julian went on to start his own company which helped reduce the price of steroid intermediates. In 1973, Percy Lavon Julian was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and became the first African-American to receive this honor.

 16 
Dambisa Moyo
(Economist)
Dambisa Moyo
3
Birthdate: February 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lusaka, Zambia
 17 
Richard Allen
(American Clergyman Who was the First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church)
Richard Allen
3
Birthdate: February 14, 1760
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 26, 1831

Born to slave parents, American clergyman Richard Allen became a Methodist convert at 22. He later founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church and served as its first bishop. Apart from establishing the first church for Blacks in the U.S., he worked on various aspects to improve the lives of Blacks.

 18 
Kenneth Bancroft Clark
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005
 19 
Samuel Ajayi Crowther
(The First Ever African-Anglican Bishop of West Africa)
Samuel Ajayi Crowther
3
Birthdate: 1809 AD
Birthplace: Nigeria
Died: December 31, 1891
 20 
Stuart Hall
(British Marxist Sociologist, Cultural Theorist, and Political Activist)
Stuart Hall
6
Birthdate: February 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: February 10, 2014

Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.

 21 
Buchi Emecheta
(Novelist)
Buchi Emecheta
5
Birthdate: July 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yaba Department
Died: January 25, 2017
Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
5
Birthdate: June 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Daytona Beach
 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 
Walter Rodney
(Historian, political activist)
Walter Rodney
0
Birthdate: March 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Georgetown, British Guiana
Died: June 13, 1980
 25 
Francis Arinze
(Nigerian Cardinal of the Catholic Church)
Francis Arinze
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Onitsha
Francis Arinze is a Nigerian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. One of the leading advisors to Pope John Paul II, Arinze remained close to the pope until his demise in 2005. Francis Arinze has also published many books including God's Invisible Hand and Religions for Peace.
 26 
Bingu wa Mutharika
(Former President of Malawi and Economist)
Bingu wa Mutharika
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Thyolo, Nyasaland
Died: April 5, 2012
 27 
Faure Gnassingbé
(4th President of Togo)
Faure Gnassingbé
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Afagnan, Togo
 28 
Molefi Kete Asante
(Writer, Philosopher, University teacher)
Molefi Kete Asante
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Valdosta
 29 
Festus Mogae
(3rd President of Botswana and economist)
Festus Mogae
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Serowe, Bechuanaland
 30 
Lazarus Chakwera
(President of Malawi)
Lazarus Chakwera
0
Birthdate: April 5, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lilongwe, Malawi
 31 
Sol Plaatje
(South African Journalist, Linguist, Founding Member and First General Secretary of the 'South African Native National Congress')
Sol Plaatje
3
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.
 32 
Harry Edwards
(Sociologist)
Harry Edwards
0
Birthdate: November 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: East St. Louis, Illinois, United States
 33 
Édouard Glissant
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Died: February 3, 2011
 34 
George Padmore
(Writer, Journalist)
George Padmore
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: September 23, 1959
 35 
Miatta Fahnbulleh
0
Birthdate: November 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liberia
 36 
Saulos Chilima
(Vice President of Malawi)
Saulos Chilima
0
Birthdate: February 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Malawi
 37 
Édouard Ngirente
(Prime Minister, Economist)
Édouard Ngirente
0
Birthdate: February 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gakenke, Rwanda
 38 
Jacob Oulanyah
(Speaker of the 11th Parliament of Uganda)
Jacob Oulanyah
0
Birthdate: March 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gulu, Uganda
 39 
Pearl Primus
(Dancer)
Pearl Primus
2
Birthdate: November 29, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: October 29, 1994
 40 
Tony Martin
(Academic, Writer)
Tony Martin
2
Birthdate: February 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: January 17, 2013
 41 
Antenor Firmin
(Anthropologist)
Antenor Firmin
2
Birthdate: October 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Died: September 19, 1911
 42 
Philip Mpango
(Politician, Economist)
Philip Mpango
0
Birthdate: July 14, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tanzania
 43 
Charles S. Johnson
(Sociologist)
Charles S. Johnson
2
Birthdate: July 24, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol, Virginia, United States
Died: October 27, 1956
 44 
Saara Kuugongelwa
(Politician, Economist)
Saara Kuugongelwa
0
Birthdate: October 12, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Otamanzi Constituency, Namibia
 45 
John Mbiti
(Christian philosopher)
John Mbiti
1
Birthdate: November 30, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kitui County Mulango, Kenya
Died: October 5, 2019
 46 
Stella Nyanzi
(Human rights activist)
Stella Nyanzi
0
Birthdate: June 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jinja, Uganda
 47 
Paul Kaba Thieba
(8th Prime Minister of Burkina Faso)
Paul Kaba Thieba
0
Birthdate: July 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
 48 
Donald Kaberuka
(Economist)
Donald Kaberuka
0
Birthdate: October 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Byumba, Rwanda
 49 
George G. M. James
(Historian and author known for his 1954 book Stolen Legacy)
George G. M. James
0
Birthdate: November 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Georgetown, Guyana
Died: June 30, 1956
 50 
Peter J. Gomes
(American Preacher and Theologian)
Peter J. Gomes
2
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.