Widely regarded as one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, Jesse Owens' three world records in less than an hour in 1935 came to be known as the greatest 45 minutes ever in sports. He was credited with destroying Adolf Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Evander Holyfield is an American retired boxer who reigned as the undisputed champion in the late 1980s under cruiserweight division and in the early 1990s under heavyweight division. The only four-time world heavyweight champion, Holyfield remains the only boxer in the history of boxing to reign as an undisputed champion in two weight classes.
Baseball player Hank Aaron, also known as Hammer or Hammerin' Hank, is remembered for his stint with the MLB teams Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. He also competed as part of the Negro League team Indianapolis Clowns. He was named to The Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players.
Lionel Richie is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and composer whose work with the band Commodores and his solo career established him as a successful balladeer of the 1980s. Having sold more than 90 million records, Lionel Richie is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Also a philanthropist, Richie helped raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
American football player Julio Jones has been an important member of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL since 2011. Renowned for his leaping and catching ability, Jones is considered one of the greatest receivers ever and the best wide receiver of the current generation. He became the fastest to reach 10,000 receiving yards in the history of NFL in 2018.
Rosa Parks, “the first lady of civil rights,” was a pioneer in the American revolution against color segregation and racism. Her refusal to leave her bus seat to a white passenger gave rise to the iconic Montgomery Bus Boycott, which also led her to work with Martin Luther King Jr.
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.
12 Joe Louis
15 John Lewis
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.
The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women's Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilising African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre, a not-for-profit organization.
18 Nell Carter
Legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige was part of the MLB and the Negro League Baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee began his career playing for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts and later played for teams such as the Cleveland Indians. He was the American League’s first black pitcher.
21 Ma Rainey
22 Mae Jemison
Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.
Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.
26 Yolanda King
African American activist, Yolanda King, was the first-born child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Exposed to social justice activism at a young age, she grew up to be an outspoken supporter of civil rights and LGBTQA+ rights. She was also known for her artistic endeavors. She died of heart disease at 51.
27 Flo Milli
29 Ozzie Smith
30 YBN Nahmir
35 John Ross
37 Henry Ruggs
38 Percy Sledge
Best known for his Billboard-charting and gold-certified hit When a Man Loves a Woman, Percy Sledge began his music career with The Esquires Combo while working as a nurse. He later scored more hits such as Warm and Tender Love and received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award.
40 W. C. Handy
Former NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson is best known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which became one of the most popular toys in the world, garnering sales amounting to more than a billion dollars since its invention. He has also been part of the US Air Force.