Famous Black Leaders

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 Barack Obama

Barack Obama
217
Famous As: 44th U.S. President
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

 2 Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
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Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist, President of ANC and Former President of South Africa
Birthdate: July 18, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: December 5, 2013
Revered as the Father of the Nation by the South Africans, Nelson Mandela was a statesman who rose to become the country’s first black head of state. He reconciled a nation divided along racial lines and dismantled the legacy of apartheid.

 3 Herman Cain

Herman Cain
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: December 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: July 30, 2020

 4 Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr
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Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: August 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Jamaican
Died: June 10, 1940
Marcus Garvey is remembered as an iconic Black separatist leader who believed that all African-origin people in Europe and America should go back to Africa. He established the Universal Negro Improvement Association, but his activism was not accepted by civil rights activists, who believed in racial integration and not segregation.

 5 Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington
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Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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.

 6 Elijah Cummings

Elijah Cummings
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Famous As: Former United States Representative
Birthdate: January 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: October 17, 2019

Elijah Cummings was an important and influential American politician and advocate of civil rights. Such was his impact on American politics that after his death, he became the first black lawmaker to be honored with a state funeral at the United States Capitol. His official funeral was attended by personalities like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.

 7 Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan
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Famous As: Former UN Secretary General
Birthdate: April 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Ghanaian
Died: August 18, 2018

Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. During his stint with the UN, he launched the UN Global Compact and worked to combat HIV/AIDS. 

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 8 Tedros Adhanom

Tedros Adhanom
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Ethiopian

 9 Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed
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Famous As: Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Birthdate: August 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Ethiopian

Abiy Ahmed is an Ethiopian politician and the current prime minister of Ethiopia. Since becoming the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed has been lauded for launching a wide program of economic and political reforms in Ethiopia. He also played a major role in ending the 20-year Eritrean–Ethiopian War for which he was honored with the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

 10 Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm
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Birthdate: November 30, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: January 1, 2005

A courageous political leader, Shirley Chisholm made history when she became the first African-American woman to be elected the United States Congresswoman. Later, she yet again created history when she—though unsuccessfullyVran for Democratic Party's presidential nomination to contest for US presidency. Throughout her career, she advocated racial equality and women empowerment. As an author, she penned two books.

 11 Mobutu Sese Seko

Mobutu Sese Seko
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Famous As: Dictator
Birthdate: October 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Congolese, Moroccan
Died: September 7, 1997

Mobutu Sese Seko was a Congolese military officer and politician. From 1965 to 1997, Mobutu served as the president of Zaire. During his long reign as the president, Mobutu garnered notoriety for nepotism and corruption. His life and work inspired Belgian filmmaker, Thierry Michel, to make a three-part documentary titled Mobutu, King of Zaire.

 12 Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott
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Famous As: Former Shadow Home Secretary
Birthdate: September 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 13 Martin Luther King III

Martin Luther King III
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: October 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
The American civil rights activist has continued his legendary father Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for racial equality. Martin Luther King III headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by his father and endorsed Barack Obama’s nomination for American presidency. King fought against police brutality, but he also denounced capital punishment, saying he did not belive in retributional justice.

 14 Tim Scott

Tim Scott
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 15 Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah
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Famous As: First President of Ghana
Birthdate: September 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Ghanaian, Romanian
Died: April 27, 1972

Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian revolutionary and politician. He played an important role in the independence of the Gold Coast in 1957, after which he served as the first prime minister of Ghana from 1957 to 1960 and then as the first president of Ghana from 1960 to 1966. He also played an influential role as an advocate of Pan-Africanism.

 16 Ben Carson

Ben Carson
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Famous As: Politician, Former Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.

 17 Seretse Khama

Seretse Khama
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Botswanan
Died: July 13, 1980

 18 Yoweri Museveni

Yoweri Museveni
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Famous As: President of Uganda
Birthdate: August 15, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Ugandan

Ugandan politician, Yoweri Museveni, has been serving as the president of Uganda since 1986. He played a key role in a series of rebellions that overpowered Ugandan political leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote before capturing power in the 1980s. Under his presidency, Uganda has achieved significant success in fighting HIV/AIDS. The country has also experienced relative peace under Museveni.

 19 Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor
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Famous As: Former President of Liberia
Birthdate: January 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Liberian

Charles Taylor is a former Liberian politician who served as the 22nd President of Liberia. As a young man, he was the head of a Libyan-backed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, and played a key role in initiating the First Liberian Civil War. He was elected the president after the war in 1997. He resigned in 2003.

 20 Omar al-Bashir

Omar al-Bashir
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Famous As: Former President of Sudan
Birthdate: January 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Sudanese

 21 Uhuru Kenyatta

Uhuru Kenyatta
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Famous As: President of Kenya
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Kenyan

 22 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
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Famous As: Africa’s First Elected Female Head of State
Birthdate: October 29, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Liberian

 23 Bernice King

Bernice King
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Famous As: Minister
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 24 Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki
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Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African

 25 John Conyers

John Conyers
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: October 27, 2019

 26 Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa
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Famous As: President of Zimbabwe
Birthdate: September 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Zimbabwean

 27 Jomo Kenyatta

Jomo Kenyatta
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Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Kenya
Birthdate: October 20, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Kenyan
Died: August 22, 1978

 28 Kwame Kilpatrick

Kwame Kilpatrick
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Famous As: Former Mayor of Detroit
Birthdate: June 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Former politician, Kwame Kilpatrick, served as the mayor of Detroit from 2002 to 2008. Previously, he had been a Democratic Michigan state representative. A controversial person, he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2008 and had to step down as mayor. In 2013, he was again convicted of many federal felony counts.

 29 General Butt Naked

General Butt Naked
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Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: September 30, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Liberian

 30 Allen West

Allen West
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 31 John Lewis

John Lewis
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Famous As: Former United States Representative
Birthdate: February 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: July 17, 2020

Popularly known as one of the Big Six—leaders of six important civil rights organizations who masterminded the Great March on Washington in 1963—John Lewis played an important role in the civil rights movement that eventually ended racial segregation in the US. Also a statesman, Lewis was honored with many awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 32 Eldridge Cleaver

Eldridge Cleaver
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Birthdate: August 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: May 1, 1998

 33 Marion Barry

Marion Barry
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Birthdate: March 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 34 Julius Malema

Julius Malema
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 35 Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo
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Famous As: Former President of Nigeria
Birthdate: March 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Nigerian

 36 Michael Steele

Michael Steele
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Michael Steele was the first African-American to chair the Republican National Committee, from 2009 to 2011. He has also worked with MSNBC, Fox News, and the online magazine The Root. He was the lieutenant governor of Maryland, from 2003 to 2007, and a partner at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.

 37 Goodluck Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan
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Famous As: President of Nigeria
Birthdate: November 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Nigerien

 38 Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 29, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Ghanaian

 39 Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh
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Famous As: Former President of the Gambia
Birthdate: May 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Gambian

 40 Lynn Swann

Lynn Swann
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Famous As: American football player
Birthdate: March 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 41 Mia Love

Mia Love
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 6, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Haitian, American

 42 Canaan Banana

Canaan Banana
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Famous As: Former President of Zimbabwe
Birthdate: March 5, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Zimbabwean
Died: November 10, 2003

 43 Andrew Young Jr.

Andrew Young Jr.
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 44 T. B. Joshua

T. B. Joshua
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Famous As: Televangelist and Faith Healer
Birthdate: June 12, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Nigerian

 45 Samuel Doe

Samuel Doe
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Famous As: Former President of Liberia
Birthdate: May 6, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Liberian
Died: September 9, 1990

 46 Julius Nyerere

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

 47 Graça Machel

Graça Machel
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Mozambican

 48 Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Jean-Jacques Dessalines
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Famous As: Haitian General
Birthdate: September 20, 1758
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Guinean, Haitian
Died: August 17, 1806

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.

 49 Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
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Famous As: President
Birthdate: June 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Equatorial Guinean

 50 Mengistu Haile Mariam

Mengistu Haile Mariam
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Famous As: Politician, Military personnel
Birthdate: May 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Ethiopian