Recognizing influential African Americans

February is dedicated to honor Black History, and many African Americans, particularly those who helped shape the society we have today. They fought for civil rights, freedom, and racial equality for colored people so Africans Americans now can have the freedom they have now. Here is a list of individuals who made a significant difference to our country:

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, and soon later escaped from slavery. Douglass became an important leader during the abolitionist movement. He helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to let slaves serve in the Union army during the Civil War, and he made sure that the abolition of slavery was the main goal of the war. Douglass did not only support rights for African Americans, but he called for rights for women as well. Douglass supported women’s suffrage and even signed the Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls.

2. HARRIET TUBMAN (1820-1913)

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery but escaped to the North for freedom. Tubman is famous for being the “conductor” of the underground railroad, where she helped hundreds of slaves escape from the South to the North for freedom. She was given the nickname “Moses” for never losing a “passage”. She also helped the Union Army during the Civil War by working as a nurse, cook, and a spy. Tubman also supported the women’s suffrage and helped Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony raise funds. There have been talks to replace U.S. president Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Tubman.

3. LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1967)

Langston Hughes was a poet, social activist, and playwright. He was an active leader during the Harlem Renaissance, which was the turning point for black history.One of his most famous poems is “Harlem”, which aims attention at the dreams of African Americans during the 1950s. This poem is also referred to as “Dream Deferred.” Hughes used his play and novels to promote and advocate racism and injustice for being black.

4. ROSA PARKS (1913-2005)

Rosa Parks is famous for not giving up her seat to a white passenger on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and getting arrested for that matter. This event helped start and inspire the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks became active in many organizations that were created to end racial discrimination and inequality for African Americans. She was also part of the Montgomery National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which still exists and serves people of color today. In addition to organizations, she participated in many marches like March on Washington, which was a march for jobs and civil rights for African Americans.

5. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important and famous civil rights leaders. He was a Christian minister and activist who used nonviolent protests during the African American Civil Rights Movement. In 1955, King and many other African Americans boycotted a bus in Montgomery, Alabama that prohibited African Americans from sitting in the front seat of the bus. This event led to a change in bus laws and prevented segregation on busses. In a march for civil and economic rights in Washington D.C., King delivered a legendary speech “I Have a Dream” that became well known to everyone across the country, and called for change in America.

6. BARACK OBAMA(1961-)

Barack Obama made history when he became the first African American to become the president of the United States. He was the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 and served as an Illinois senator before he became president. He was also the first president to be born outside of the contiguous United States, as he was born and raised in Hawaii. As president, Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (2010) or simply known as Obamacare, which helped millions of Americans that were low-income, get lower costs for their health insurance.