Famous Black Social Activists

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 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman
Famous As: Abolitionist and Political activist
Birthdate: February 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 2 Karamo Brown

Karamo Brown
Famous As: Television host
Birthdate: November 2, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, U.S.

A dynamic talk and lifestyle television host, Karamo Brown is also a reality television personality, actor, author, and an award-winning activist. Beginning his career with a small role in The Princess Diaries, he later switched to television, making his mark with the MTV reality series The Real World: Philadelphia.  Also a published author, he has three titles to his credit.

 3 Chirlane McCray

Chirlane McCray
Famous As: Writer, Social Activist
Birthdate: November 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

 4 Denise Nicholas

Denise Nicholas
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 5 Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: April 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ihithe, Kenya
Died: September 25, 2011

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental, social, and political activist. She achieved popularity after becoming the first African woman to be honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. She is credited with founding a non-governmental organization called The Green Belt Movement (GBM), which focuses on women's rights and environmental conservation.

 6 Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: March 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: August 24, 1987

 7 Mary Ann Shadd

Mary Ann Shadd
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: October 9, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Died: June 5, 1893

The first North American Black woman to publish a newspaper, USA-born Mary Ann Shadd was the founder of the Canadian newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. Concurrently serving as its anonymous editor and contributor, she also became one of the first women to pursue journalism in Canada. She was also one of the first Black women to earn a degree in law.

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 8 Carter Woodson

Carter Woodson
Famous As: Historian
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.

 9 Boots Riley

Boots Riley
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

 10 Jonas Savimbi

Jonas Savimbi
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Munhango, Angola
Died: February 22, 2002

 11 Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi Johnson
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: February 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Daveytown, South Africa
Died: June 1, 2001

 12 Stella Immanuel

Stella Immanuel
Famous As: Physician, writer
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

 13 Albertina Sisulu

Albertina Sisulu
Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: October 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tsomo, South Africa
Died: June 2, 2011

 14 Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

 15 Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima Poinsette Clark
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: May 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina
Died: December 15, 1987

 16 Toni Cade Bambara

Toni Cade Bambara
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 9, 1995

 17 Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: January 13, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 18 Faith Alupo

Faith Alupo
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Uganda
Died: September 15, 2020

 19 Nimco Ali

Nimco Ali
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: Somali Democratic Republic

 20 Hodan Nalayeh

Hodan Nalayeh
Famous As: Social activist
Birthdate: 1976 AD
Birthplace: Somalia
Died: July 12, 2019

 21 Randall Robinson

Randall Robinson
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: July 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States

 22 Efua Sutherland

Efua Sutherland
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cape Coast, Ghana
Died: January 2, 1996

 23 Leon Sullivan

Leon Sullivan
Famous As: Civil rights leader
Birthdate: October 16, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charleston, West Virginia, United States
Died: April 24, 2001

Born into a poor neighborhood, Leon Sullivan later bagged an athletic scholarship but had to abandon his sports career due to an injury. He later became a Zion Baptist Church pastor and was actively involved in the civil rights movement and Operation Breadbasket, the latter meant to uplift Blacks economically.

 24 Ilwad Elman

Ilwad Elman
Famous As: Human rights activist
Birthdate: December 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

 25 Clara Luper

Clara Luper
Famous As: Schoolteacher
Birthdate: May 3, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, United States
Died: June 8, 2011

 26 Leyla Hussein

Leyla Hussein
Famous As: Psychotherapist
Birthdate: September 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Somalia

 27 Ifrah Ahmed

Ifrah Ahmed
Famous As: Social activist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia
Born in Somalia, Ifrah Ahmed fled to Ireland as a refugee at age 17. A victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) as a child, she later formed the Ifrah Foundation and the United Youth of Ireland to offer help to immigrants and succeeded in getting the anti-FGM bill passed in Ireland.

 28 Abdias do Nascimento

Abdias do Nascimento
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: March 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Franca, Brazil
Died: May 23, 2011

 29 Adé Bantu

Adé Bantu
Famous As: Musician, Singer, Social Activist
Birthdate: July 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

 30 Zainab Bangura

Zainab Bangura
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yonibana, Sierra Leone

 31 Fartuun Adan

Fartuun Adan
Famous As: Social Activist
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Somalia

 32 Asadata Dafora

Asadata Dafora
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 4, 1890
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Freetown, British Sierra Leone
Died: March 4, 1965

 33 Willie Barrow

Willie Barrow
Famous As: Clergywoman
Birthdate: December 7, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burton, Texas, United States
Died: March 12, 2015

 34 Semhar Araia

Semhar Araia
Famous As: Lawyer, professor and activist
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: New York City, United States

 35 Mabel Keaton Staupers

Mabel Keaton Staupers
Famous As: Nurse
Birthdate: February 27, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Barbados Island, Barbados
Died: November 29, 1989

 36 John Joseph Egan

John Joseph Egan
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: October 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: United States
Died: May 19, 2001