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.
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.
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.
MPLA leader Agostinho Neto was Angola’s first president. Born to school teacher parents, Neto grew up to become a poet and later studied medicine. However, while pursuing his academic career, he also participated in indigenous movements. Following his arrest and the subsequent unrest, he joined the Angolan liberation movement.
One of the rare literate slaves of the colonial era, Gabriel Prosser was born into slavery at a tobacco plantation in Virginia. He led one of the first great slave revolutions of the U.S., aspiring to create an all-Black state, with himself as the king. He was eventually hanged.
Dutty Boukman was a Haitian revolutionary who was active during the Haitian Revolution. It is believed that Boukman and a Vodou mambo named Cécile Fatiman presided over a religious ceremony at Bois Caïman that instigated the 1791 slave revolt which came to be known as the Haitian Revolution.
Ndabaningi Sithole was a Zimbabwean political leader best remembered for founding a militant organization called the Zimbabwe African National Union, which fought against the government of Rhodesia during the 1960s and 1970s. Ndabaningi Sithole was also one of the most prolific authors in Rhodesia; he published 12 books including a novel titled The Polygamist.
Holden Roberto was an Angolan politician and freedom fighter. He is credited with founding a militant organization and political party called the National Liberation Front of Angola, which played a major role in the Angolan War of Independence. The party, which Roberto led from 1962 to 1999, played an influential role in Angola's independence from Portugal.
African National Congress and South African Communist Party leader Harry Gwala was popular as The Lion of the Midlands among his followers. Though sentenced to life imprisonment for his revolutionary activities, he was later released after his arms were paralyzed. He once used the Bible to teach communism.
The son of lawyer Baron Giuseppe Poerio and the brother of poet Alessandro Poerio, Carlo Poerio was a renowned Italian poet and revolutionary, known for his association with the Risorgimento and the 1848 Revolution. Once arrested, he was confined under inhumane conditions but was later released.
Zimbabwean war-veteran and political-activist Thenjiwe Lesabe was one of the first members of the Southern Rhodesian African National Congress, one of the first female members of the National Democratic Party (NDP), and leader of ZAPU Women's League. She became an elected Member of Parliament for Matobo on a PF-Zapu ticket following Zimbabwe’s Independence and served as Deputy Minister of Tourism.