Famous Black Political 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
77
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 Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
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.  

 3 Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe
4
Famous As: Former PM & President of Zimbabwe
Birthdate: February 21, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Zimbabwean
Died: September 6, 2019

Robert Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary. He played a major role in the Rhodesian Bush War, which eventually led to the Lancaster House Agreement, resulting in the creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Subsequently, Mugabe served as the first prime minister of Zimbabwe and later as its president. A controversial figure, Mugabe is also often criticized for his tyrannical ways.

 4 Herman Cain

Herman Cain
9
Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: December 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: July 30, 2020

 5 Elijah Cummings

Elijah Cummings
0
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.

 6 George Weah

George Weah
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Famous As: 25th President of Liberia
Birthdate: 1966 AD
Nationality: Liberian
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.

 7 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.
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 8 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.

 9 Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa
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Famous As: President of South Africa
Birthdate: November 17, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African

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.

 10 Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma
2
Famous As: Fourth President of South Africa
Birthdate: April 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: South African

Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.

 11 Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters
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Famous As: U.S. Representative
Birthdate: August 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Maxine Waters chairs the House Financial Services Committee and is a U.S. Representative from California. Named to Time 100, she has also chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 1997 to 1999. She has opposed the Iraq War and has been vocally critical of George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

 12 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
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Famous As: Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
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.

 13 Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Nigerian

Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician and the current president of Nigeria. Since becoming the president, Buhari has introduced many social welfare programs that address unemployment and poverty. The programs were mainly introduced to help increase economic development in the country.

 14 Tedros Adhanom

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

 15 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.

 16 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.

 17 Tim Scott

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

 18 Diane Abbott

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

 19 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.

 20 Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch
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Famous As: Former Attorney General of the United States
Birthdate: May 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 21 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.

 22 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.

 23 Seretse Khama

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

 24 Thabo Mbeki

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

 25 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.

 26 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.

 27 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.

 28 Uhuru Kenyatta

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

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.

 29 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

Liberian politician, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was the first elected female head of state in Africa. An alumnus of the Harvard University, she began her political career in the 1970s and rose through the ranks with time. She is the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

 30 John Conyers

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

 31 Emmerson Mnangagwa

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

 32 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
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.”

 33 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.

 34 Julius Malema

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

 35 Allen West

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

 36 Eldridge Cleaver

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

 37 Marion Barry

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

 38 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.

 39 Olusegun Obasanjo

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

 40 Goodluck Jonathan

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

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.

 41 Nana Akufo-Addo

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

 42 Lynn Swann

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

 43 Mia Love

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

 44 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

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 Andrew Young Jr.

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

 46 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

Samuel Doe led a violent coup against Liberian president William Tolbert, executing him. Doe then led as the country’s military leader and later became its president. He was eventually brutally tortured and killed by INPFL Prince Y. Johnson’s men, and the killing was taped and showcased in news reports.

 47 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

 48 Graça Machel

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

Graça Machel is known for her association with Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and has been the country’s first education minister. She has also been married to both former Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through The Elders, she is devoted to working for women’s and children’s rights.

 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