This was tough for me to come up with a selected number of black prominent figures in the course of history, pioneers and ground breakers, who not only had a positive influence on the black community, but as well as the rest of the world. Even as an African-American sits in powerful positions at more than any other time during the history of our nation, we have to ask ourselves, are we still in a crisis?
We also have to acknowledge that many of our Black heroes have gone unrecognized for their contributions, in which their significance to society is now being rediscovered. Don’t view this post simply as a top ten list; instead, leave a comment below explaining if there’s any Black American on or off the list of photos I included in this post, in which you would have liked an opportunity to meet them, and why? Regardless of who you choose, my overall point is that there’s never been a more critical time for us to turn our full on attention onto leadership in our community and recognizing the value we have on each other’s lives.
Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer. A multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, in 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship. wikipedia.org
Jack (Jackie) Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball second baseman who became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. wikipedia.org
Malcolm X (1925–1965) was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African-Americans in history. wikipedia.org
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” wikipedia.org
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. wikipedia.org
Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court. wikipedia.org
Nina Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Simone employed a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. wikipedia.org
James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Games. wikipedia.org
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. wikipedia.org
Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. wikipedia.org
As we begin to celebrate Black History Month, in which we should be honoring ourselves each and every day, I will leave you with this: always keep in mind that self-respect, self-worth, and self-love, all begins with self. There is no need to look outside of yourself if you know your value. Getting back to the main question at hand, if you can meet any historical Black figure today, who would it be, and why? I look forward to reading your responses and comments. Thanks again for stopping by.