Civil Rights Activists

A civil rights activist is one who is actively or non-actively involved or participates in various rights of civil movements in a nation in order to facilitate equal opportunity to all the members in the society. A civil rights activist will campaign and work towards the protection and implementation of various civil rights like personal rights, entitlements, freedoms, civil liberties that a person is entitled to receive naturally by being a citizen of a particular nation. Some of the important civil rights include, right to equality, right to physical and mental integrity, protection from any kind of discrimination, rights to privacy among many other civil rights and liberties. A civil rights activist may be involved in various cases where there have been a breach of civil rights and , he /she may be involved in various kinds of campaigns, protests or demonstrations. Civil rights movement came into existence in the 1960’s, after the world witnessed a series of political movements. In 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognized the concept of civil rights on a global level. Read on, for more information on the world’s famous civil rights activists, with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

 1 Abbie Hoffman

Abbie Hoffman
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Famous As: Anti-War Activist
Birthdate: November 30, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 12, 1989

The co-founder of the Youth International Party, Abbie Hoffman was an American social and political activist. A popular exponent of the Flower Power movement, Abbie Hoffman played a major role in the events leading up to the violent confrontations with the cops during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He remains an iconic figure of the counterculture era.

 2 Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
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Birthdate: January 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: June 3, 2016

Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was a major figure of the 20th century. He was an inspirational figure for African-Americans during the civil rights movement. Because of his opposition to Vietnam War and his refusal to be drafted into military, Muhammad Ali became an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

 3 Malcolm X

Malcolm X
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: May 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: February 21, 1965

An African-American leader of the civil rights movement, Malcolm X was a vocal spokesman of the Nation of Islam and called upon the blacks to protect themselves from the white, even if it meant adopting violence. His radical views and preaching later evolved and he accepted the possibility of peaceful resolution of racial issues in America.

 4 Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: February 4, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 24, 2005

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.

 5 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
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Famous As: American orator
Birthdate: February 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: February 20, 1895

Social reformer and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. Born into slavery, he had a difficult early life. Eventually, he managed to escape and dedicated the rest of his life to promoting the cause of abolition. He was a great orator and writer.

 6 Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: August 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: December 4, 1969

Fred Hampton was considered an activist and a revolutionary socialist working for social change. He was the deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. He founded the Rainbow Coalition, aiming to help the Chicago street gangs to end infighting. The FBI considered him as a major threat and he was shot and killed in December 1969 during a raid.

 7 James Baldwin

James Baldwin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

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 8 Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges
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Famous As: Philanthropist
Birthdate: September 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend an all-white educational institute when she joined the Louisiana-based William Frantz Elementary School in November 1960. She was the subject of Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With and the TV movie Ruby Bridges.

 9 William Kunstler

William Kunstler
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: July 7, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: September 4, 1995

 10 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 11 Angela Davis

Angela Davis
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Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 12 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Ghanaian
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 13 Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette
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Famous As: Television Actress, Activist, Singer
Birthdate: March 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Pauley Perrette is a former actress, singer, and writer. Perrette is best known for portraying Abby Sciuto from 2003 to 2018 on the popular police procedural TV series NCIS. Also an activist, Pauley Perrette supports several animal rescue organizations, LGBT rights organizations, and civil rights organizations. Over the years, she has been an ardent supporter of the American Red Cross.

 14 Zack de la Rocha

Zack de la Rocha
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Birthdate: January 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

Rapper Zack de la Rocha, the vocalist for the rock band Rage Against the Machine, also formed the duo One Day as a Lion with drummer Jon Theodore. He supports vegetarianism and the Zapatista (EZLN) movement of Mexico. He also testified against the U.S.’s treatment of Abu-Jamal, at the U.N. 

 15 Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 16 Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: January 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 17 Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: October 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Civil rights activist and politician Jesse Jackson, father of former U.S. representative Jesse Jackson Jr., is also a Baptist minister. He has been a shadow U.S. senator from the District of Columbia and established organizations that merged into the non-profit Rainbow/PUSH. He also hosted CNN’s Both Sides with Jesse Jackson.

 18 Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: March 31, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: April 23, 1993
Cesar Chavez became a Latin American civil rights icon owing to his efforts to secure rights for farmworkers. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers union. He was inspired by Gandhian non-violent protests and organized the Delano grape strike, among other protests.

 19 Walter White

Walter White
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Famous As: American civil rights activist
Birthdate: July 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: 1955 AD

 20 Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk
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Birthdate: May 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: November 27, 1978

 21 Lena Horne

Lena Horne
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.

 22 Shaun King

Shaun King
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 17, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

Writer and civil rights activist, Shaun King, is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC. He is known for making extensive use of social media to promote causes like Black Lives Matter. He has worked as a teacher and pastor and is the founder of the Courageous Church. He launched the campaign Justice Together in 2015 to fight against police brutality.

 23 Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers
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Birthdate: July 2, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: June 12, 1963

 24 Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael
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Birthdate: June 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Guinean, Trinidadian, American
Died: November 15, 1998

 25 Charlotta Spears Bass

Charlotta Spears Bass
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Famous As: Editor and activist
Birthdate: February 14, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 12, 1969

 26 Hines Ward

Hines Ward
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Famous As: American footballer
Birthdate: March 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American, South Korean

 27 Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 16, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: March 25, 1931

 28 Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson
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Famous As: Singer, Actor & Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: April 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: January 23, 1976

 29 Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist, Author
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: January 30, 2006

 30 Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: September 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 31 Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian

 32 Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: June 23, 1997

 33 Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: August 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: July 6, 1992

 34 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

 35 Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: June 11, 2014

 36 Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: November 17, 1992

 37 Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
Died: November 10, 2008

 38 Claudette Colvin

Claudette Colvin
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 39 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
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Famous As: Women’s Rights Activist
Birthdate: November 12, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: October 26, 1902

 40 Yolanda King

Yolanda King
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: May 15, 2007

 41 Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 14, 1977

 42 Mohamed Bouazizi

Mohamed Bouazizi
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Famous As: Street vendor
Birthdate: March 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Tunisian
Died: January 4, 2011

 43 Wendell Willkie

Wendell Willkie
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 18, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 8, 1944

 44 Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott
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Famous As: Schoolteacher
Birthdate: May 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 45 William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: December 12, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 24, 1879

 46 Denise Nicholas

Denise Nicholas
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 47 Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: September 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 48 Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta
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Famous As: Trade unionist
Birthdate: April 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 49 Bernice King

Bernice King
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 28, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 50 Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 17, 1996
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