Famous Black Leaders

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Leaders
 1 
Martin Luther King Jr.
(African-American Civil Rights Movement Leader Who Used Civil Disobedience to Combat Racism)
Martin Luther King Jr.
12
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: April 4, 1968

A leader in the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. A man of Christian faith who was inspired by Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality.  

 2 
Kwame Nkrumah
(First President of Ghana)
Kwame Nkrumah
21
Birthdate: September 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nkroful
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.

 3 
Ben Carson
(U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (2017 – 2021))
Ben Carson
28
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

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.

 4 
Jomo Kenyatta
(1st President of Kenya (1964–1978) and the 1st Prime Minister of Kenya (1963–1964))
Jomo Kenyatta
10
Birthdate: October 20, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gatundu, Kenya
Died: August 22, 1978
After being held as a prisoner by the British for 9 years, anti-colonial activist Jomo Kenyatta was released shortly before Kenya achieved its independence, and became the country’s first prime minister and then its first president. The Father of the Nation, Kenyatta was also named Mzee, meaning “grand old man.”
Booker T. Washington
4
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
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 
Marcus Garvey
(Political leader)
Marcus Garvey
8
Birthdate: August 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
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.
 7 
Kofi Annan
(Former UN Secretary General)
Kofi Annan
11
Birthdate: April 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kumasi, Ghana
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. 

 8 
Condoleezza Rice
(66th United States Secretary of State (2005-09))
Condoleezza Rice
64
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.

 9 
Shirley Chisholm
(Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 12th District (1969 - 1983))
Shirley Chisholm
10
Birthdate: November 30, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
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.

 10 
Kenneth Kaunda
7
Birthdate: April 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chinsali, Awemba North, Northern Rhodesia
Died: June 17, 2021

Kenneth Kaunda is a Zambian former politician. He served as the first president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. A major figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence from British rule, he became the first president of independent Zambia. As the president, he implemented many educational and economic reforms to accelerate the rate of modernization in the country.

 11 
Mobutu Sese Seko
(President of Zaire (1965 - 1997))
Mobutu Sese Seko
8
Birthdate: October 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lisala, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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 
Martin Luther King III
(Human Rights Activist)
Martin Luther King III
12
Birthdate: October 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
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.
 13 
George Weah
(25th President of Liberia)
George Weah
11
Birthdate: October 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clara Town, Liberia
George Weah, who has been the president of Liberia since 2018, was once a star footballer. The striker was named the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year, and played for clubs such as A.C. Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. Following his retirement, he established the Congress for Democratic Change.
 14 
Yoweri Museveni
(President of Uganda (Since 1986))
Yoweri Museveni
5
Birthdate: September 15, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ntungamo, Uganda

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.

 15 
Tim Scott
(Politician)
Tim Scott
12
Birthdate: September 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: North Charleston, South Carolina North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
 16 
Abiy Ahmed
(Prime Minister of Ethiopia)
Abiy Ahmed
20
Birthdate: August 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beshasha, Ethiopia

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.

 17 
John Lewis
(Former United States Representative)
John Lewis
28
Birthdate: February 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alabama, United States
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.

 18 
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.

 19 
Seretse Khama
(Politician)
Seretse Khama
5
Birthdate: July 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Serowe, Botswana
Died: July 13, 1980
 20 
Diane Abbott
(Former Shadow Home Secretary)
Diane Abbott
10
Birthdate: September 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom
 21 
Charles Taylor
(22nd President of Liberia (1997-2003))
Charles Taylor
6
Birthdate: January 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arthington, Liberia

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.

 22 
Uhuru Kenyatta
(President of Kenya)
Uhuru Kenyatta
8
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nairobi

The incumbent Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is the leader of the Jubilee Party of Kenya. Son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, he was dragged into a controversy after sweeping the 2017 re-elections by winning 98% of the total votes. However, a Supreme Court ruling dismissed all charges against him.

 23 
Omar al-Bashir
(Former President of Sudan)
Omar al-Bashir
6
Birthdate: January 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hosh Bannaga, Sudan

Omar al-Bashir is a Sudanese politician who served as the seventh president of Sudan. A former military officer, he is the founder of the National Congress Party that remained the dominant political party in the country until 2019. He was deposed in a coup d'état the same year and subsequently arrested and convicted on multiple corruption charges.

 24 
Olusegun Obasanjo
(Former President of Nigeria)
Olusegun Obasanjo
14
Birthdate: March 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Abeokuta, British Nigeria
Initially a teacher, Olusegun Obasanjo had joined the army as he could not afford college. The People’s Democratic Party leader became the military ruler of Nigeria in 1976 but later handed over his powers to a democratic government. He also became the president 2 decades later. 
 25 
Cyril Ramaphosa
(President of South Africa)
Cyril Ramaphosa
22
Birthdate: November 17, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Soweto

Cyril Ramaphosa is a politician and the current president of South Africa. Also the president of South Africa's popular political party African National Congress (ANC), Ramaphosa played a key role during the nation's transition to democracy during which he served as ANC's chief negotiator. He also played a crucial role in ending apartheid and was considered Nelson Mandela's political heir.

 26 
Allen West
(Politician)
Allen West
5
Birthdate: February 7, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia, U.S.
 27 
Emmerson Mnangagwa
(President of Zimbabwe (Since 2017))
Emmerson Mnangagwa
5
Birthdate: September 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zvishavane, Zimbabwe
Nicknamed The Crocodile, the current Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been one of the harshest rulers his country has seen. Roughly 20,000 people lost their lives during his tenure as the security minister in the 1980s. Once Mugabe’s right hand, he later fell out with him and launched a coup.
 28 
Stella Immanuel
(Physician, writer)
Stella Immanuel
5
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon
 29 
Goodluck Jonathan
(President of Nigeria)
Goodluck Jonathan
4
Birthdate: November 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ogbia

Initially a teacher, Nigerian former president Goodluck Jonathan, boasts of a PhD in zoology and has also headed an oil-oriented government agency. He plunged into politics with the PDP, and his tenure as the president witnessed major acts of terror by the jihadist group Boko Haram.

 30 
John Conyers
(Politician)
John Conyers
5
Birthdate: May 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Highland Park, Michigan, United States
Died: October 27, 2019
Eldridge Cleaver
6
Birthdate: August 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wabbaseka, Arkansas
Died: May 1, 1998
 32 
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
(Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
28
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bizana, Eastern Cape
Died: April 2, 2018
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had first met legendary anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela at a bus stop when she was barely 22. They ended up getting married the following year. Winnie’s journey was marred by bans and harassment by the South African government, but the determined social worker revolutionized South African politics.
 33 
Kevin Johnson
(Politician)
Kevin Johnson
3
Birthdate: March 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
 34 
Michael Steele
(Politician)
Michael Steele
5
Birthdate: October 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
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.
 35 
General Butt Naked
(Evangelical preacher, writer and former warlord best known for his role during the First Liberian Civil War)
General Butt Naked
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Monrovia, Liberia
 36 
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
(Haitian General)
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
6
Birthdate: September 20, 1758
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Guinea
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.

 37 
Lynn Swann
(American football player)
Lynn Swann
6
Birthdate: March 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alcoa, Tennessee, USA
 38 
Earl Woods
(Father of Tiger Woods)
Earl Woods
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manhattan, Kansas, United States
Died: May 3, 2006

Better known as the father of renowned golfer Tiger Woods, Earl Woods had initially been a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He excelled in baseball in college and learned to play golf much later, at 42. Addicted to the sport, he taught it to his son, who later became a golf legend.

 39 
Raila Odinga
(Former Prime Minister of Kenya)
Raila Odinga
5
Birthdate: January 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Maseno

Raila Odinga is a Kenyan politician who has been the Leader of Opposition since 2013. From 2008 to 2013, Odinga served as the prime minister of Kenya. Before becoming the prime minister, Raila Odinga served as the Minister for Roads, Public Works, and Housing. At the African Union Commission in 2018, he was appointed High Representative for Infrastructure Development.

 40 
James Enos Clyburn
(House Majority Whip since 2019, United States Representative since 1993)
James Enos Clyburn
5
Birthdate: July 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sumter, South Carolina, United States
 41 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(Nigerian-American Economist Who Has Served in Several Ministerial Positions in Nigeria)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
13
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.
 42 
Barbara Jordan
8
Birthdate: February 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston
Died: January 17, 1996
 43 
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
(2nd President of Equatorial Guinea)
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Acoacán, Equatorial Guinea
 44 
Canaan Banana
(Former President of Zimbabwe)
Canaan Banana
5
Birthdate: March 5, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Esigodini
Died: November 10, 2003

Canaan Banana was a Zimbabwean politician, theologian, and Methodist minister. In 1980, Banana became the first president of Zimbabwe, a position which he held until 1987. Ten years later, he made the headlines when he was involved in a highly publicized trial after being accused of being a homosexual. He served six months in prison after being convicted of sodomy.

 45 
William Ruto
(Deputy President of Kenya)
William Ruto
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Uasin Gishu County

William Ruto is a Kenyan politician and the current Kenyan deputy president. Between 6 and 8 October 2014, Ruto served as the acting president when President Uhuru Kenyatta was in the Netherlands at the International Criminal Court. Apart from being a politician, William Ruto also owns an interest in several real estate developments, including the Weston Hotel in Kenya.  

 46 
Andrew Young Jr.
(55th Mayor of Atlanta (1982 - 1990))
Andrew Young Jr.
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Andrew Young Jr. is an American activist, politician, and diplomat. Young is best known for his role in the civil rights movement; a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young served as the executive director of a civil rights organization called Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Andrew Young is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 47 
Ibrahim Babangida
(Eighth President of Nigeria)
Ibrahim Babangida
10
Birthdate: August 17, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Minna, Nigeria
Ibrahim Babangida is a Nigerian former politician and Army general. He is best known for his service as the eighth President of Nigeria from 1985 to 1993. An influential politician, Ibrahim Babangida also served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1 January 1984 to 26 August 1985.
 48 
Bola Tinubu
(Nigerian Politician Who Served as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007)
Bola Tinubu
9
Birthdate: March 29, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lagos State
Bola Tinubu is a Nigerian politician and accountant. He is best known for his service as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007. He also served as the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 5 December 1992 to 17 November 1993. In 2022, Tinubu was chosen to represent All Progressives Congress in the 2023 presidential election.
 49 
Idriss Déby
(6th President of Chad)
Idriss Déby
4
Birthdate: June 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fada, Chad Fada, French Equatorial Africa (now Chad)
Died: April 20, 2021
 50 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(Critic of Islam and Advocate of Women Rights)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
9
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.