Remarkable & Influential African Americans in History


Karisma Flowers

Many societies recognize and know civil rights leaders like Rosa Parks and the famous Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have A Dream” speech. Yet, society fails to recognize other influential and unforgettable African Americans. 

There is an immeasurable amount of African Americans that have changed and influenced politics, science, music, and even philosophy. 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Dating back to the 1930s, when the Rolling Stones and The Beatles weren’t even in the heads of many boys and girls, there was a woman, and this woman’s name was Sister Rosetta Tharpe. 

While her name is not the most mundane, neither is her thrashing creativity and musicality in the songs she created. 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a musical genius who took her love for spirituality and her infatuation with the electric guitar and blended the two to make one of the most memorable sounds. 

Many of Rosetta Tharpe’s records that were released in the 1940s blended gospel and rock music. 

No one had ever seen or heard anything like the music Rosetta Tharpe was composing. 

Many other famous composers, like Chuck Berry, all the way to Keith Richards (guitarist and co-founder of the Rolling Stones), were influenced by the unique sound of Rosetta Tharpe. 

African Americans’ influence on generations didn’t stop with her; as years passed, more and more African Americans were making their voices heard. 

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King, famously known as the wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., was a woman whose talent spread into literature as she became an American author and also a black woman in politics. 

Coretta Scott was an educated woman who dedicated her life to human rights and the overall peace and social change she believed the world needed to endure. 

Similarly, the importance of government and politics is recognized worldwide. 

One of the most influential and eye-catching experiences that could be classified as a turning point in history is the election and re-election campaign of the 44th President. 

President Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II, born in Honolulu, Hawaii, was the first-ever African American president. 

One of Barack Obama’s most memorable speeches was given after the announcement that same-sex marriage was affirmed in the constitution. 

“Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle — that we are all created equal,” Obama said. 

Robert Sengstacke Abbott

When it comes to writing, editing, and becoming the first-ever African American ran newspaper, the first name that comes to mind is Robert Sengstacke Abbott. 

Robert Abbott was an African American lawyer and newspaper publisher who helped pave the way for other African American writers. 

The Chicago Defender was the name of the newspaper which Abbott founded on May 5, 1905. The newspaper produced weekly and covered news like “The Great Migration.” 

The Great Migration started in 1910 when more than 6 million African Americans migrated from the South of the United States to Urban Northeast and Midwest, and West places. 

Wangari Maathai 

Although nature may not seem important, it was important to the first-ever African-American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Maathai was a woman born in Kenya whose efforts to restore and save Kenya’s forest are one of light and true fighting. 

Wangari Maathai included her love for the environment in the fight for Human Rights. 

Famously known as the mother of trees, her life, breath, and care for nature were still felt even in her last moments

Matthew Henson

After 18 long and hard years, Matthew Henson and his team were able to reach and step on the North Pole. He is one of the first-ever Arctic Explorers who made an imprint on the line of explorers that society has ever seen. 

Claudette Colvin

Segregation on buses was a continued issue throughout the Civil Rights movement and helped others realize that the issue was rising. 

Rosa Parks isn’t the only woman society should know about for not giving up her seat to someone white on a segregated bus. 

At 15, a young woman named Claudette Colvin was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white woman. Claudette Colvin inspired Rosa Parks to stand up from her seat when the same situation happened to her.

This serves as an example that no matter how young you are when you know something is wrong, you stand up for what’s right, even when the consequences are difficult. 

Bayard Rustin

Many African American leaders have stood up and fought for gay rights, but one of the most momentous was Bayard Rustin. 

Bayard Rustin was a Civil Rights organizer who helped Martin Luther King Jr. with his march. Rustin was also a gay man who stood up for LGBTQ+ civil rights. 

Shirley Chisolm

Women in politics aren’t foreign and should be more recognized by society. 

Women like Shirley Chisolm deserve to be seen for their cosmic contributions to politics and the world as we know it today. 

Chisolm was  the first ever African American woman elected to Congress. After being elected to Congress, she continued her legacy by joining the US House of Representatives for New York. 

With her new job title, she quickly became one to remember after expanding the food stamps program in New York. Which made it possible for more families to access and gain the money they needed for groceries. 

Later on, in 1972, Chisolm ran for presidential aid, allowing her to also become the first-ever African American to gain a major candidacy. 

Jackie Robinson

He was one of the best baseball players in the world and broke the segregation line that divided the MLB (Major League Baseball). 

His name is Jackie Robinson, and he played for the Dodgers. Not only was he an amazing second baseman, but he was also a man who was humble.

During his baseball career, Robinson also spread his arms into other areas like Civil Rights. Robinson spent time raising money to support the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

As we take the time to celebrate Black History month and Black History in America this February, let’s fight harder for equal rights and the end of racism in society. 

One person can make a change that can influence an entire generation. 

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in our hands to make a difference.” Nelson Mandela said.