Visionary African American Leaders

African American leaders in America have helped push their community forward multiple times in history. Through social work, protests, advancing their cause through individual contribution and legislation, etc, there have been multiple black leaders that have made their mark in American history.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King is probably the most famous African American in history. He is known as the face of the Civil Rights movement in America and is world renowned for his “I Have A Dream” speech that he delivered at the March on Washington in 1963.

It outlined the vision he had for his people and his children, that they would live in a country that would judge them based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Due to his social work and organization of the black community, he was in large part responsible for the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that ended segregation and discrimination of African Americans by law. He was the youngest person in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the time and he remains the most influential black leader in American History.

Malcolm X
Right alongside Martin Luther King Jr. was Malcolm X. He was another Civil Rights leader who argued for a more radical and militant solution to the discrimination faced by black people in America. He believed that black people should be separated from white people to form their own society. He joined the Nation of Islam in the 1950s and quickly became the face of the organization. However, when he went for the Annual Pilgrimage to Makkah, he changed his views and disavowed racism against white people.

Due to his change in views and resignation from the Nation of Islam, he was berated and abused by his former followers. All this culminated in his assassination by three of the organization’s members in 1965.

W.E.B. DuBois
Born in February 1868 in Massachusetts, DuBois grew up to be a sociologist and a Pan Africanist. He was the leader and founder of the Niagara movement, a group of African Americans African Americans that wanted equal rights for blacks. He and his followers were opposed to the Atlanta Compromise that assured that black slaves in the South would work under their masters as long as economic opportunities and education were provided for them.

He died in 1963 after giving his entire life to Civil Rights. Some of the reforms that he advocated found their way into the Civil Rights Act which was passed a year after his death.

Crispus Attucks
Widely accepted as the first fatality of the American Revolution, Crispus Attucks is considered a landmark in American History for the ascension of black people to equality. He was lauded during the Abolitionist movement as an icon for African Americans.

He was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre and while it is still disputed whether he was a free man or an escaped slave, that hasn’t stopped his sacrifice as being seen as one of the first examples of African Americans’ struggle for equality.

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