Blacks are a common word referring to people with dark skin color whose descendants are mostly African. Today in America, black people refer to African-American culture. The term black was formerly used as the means to racially discriminate people on the basis of their skin color.

Black people were regarded as underdogs who don’t deserve to be equally treated with whites in terms of human rights, opportunities and privileges. But there have been several successful Black people who have greatly changed the world’s notion of Blacks. Let’s take a look:

Harriet Tubman

Born as a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland , Harriet Tubman’s childhood were filled with misery and torture. She was beaten and forced to work by her masters. Despite her misfortunes, she managed to escape captivity and helped others escape slavery. She led an armed expedition during the World War II. Later on, she joined in the women’s suffrage movement. She died in 1913 but her memory as an iconic figure of bravery will always remain in the American history.

Rosa Parks

Known as the “Mother of Freedom Movement”, Rosa Parks is a civil rights activist who strongly fights for the rights of the Blacks. She once rode in a bus and she was asked to vacate her seat to give way to a White. She refused. This triggers the onset of a radical movement which ends the racial discrimination in America. Through her, several leaders united and took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Her final years were spent in Detroit until she died in 2005.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is an American clergyman who is well known for his active participation in the Civil Rights Movement.  Apart from being a great humanitarian, he was recognized as an excellent orator who played a vital role in establishing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Unlike other activists, Martin Luther King Jr. desires to abolish racial discrimination in non-violent ways. He was the youngest man to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968 and after his death, he was given the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Guion Bluford

Guion Bluford is an MS and PhD aerospace engineering graduate who joined the Air Force. He has been a part of the four flights of space shuttles launched from 1983-1992.  He took the flight in Challenger which belonged to the STS-8 Mission. Through this flight, he became the first African-American to explore the space and cross the boundaries of the earth.

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was a black inventor and scientist who struggled in studying in public schools because of racial discrimination. He started learning piano and art, and later on, teacher Etta Budd, encouraged him to take botany.  He enrolled at the Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames where he became the first black student and later on, Black tutor. He helped farmers in having a secured source of food and income by introducing the concept of raising and growing alternative crops. Later on, he has developed several products from sweet potatoes and peanuts including plastics, cosmetics, gasoline and dye.

Toni Morrison

A certified Pulitzer Prize-winning author and nobel prize awardee, Toni Morrison served as an English instructor at the Texas Southern University. He created the novel Beloved which earned her several recognitions from prestigious award winning bodies. She is part of the editorial board of the magazine “The nation”. She is the first Black woman who won a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of National African Congress whose principles were in-lined with Mahatma Gandhi. He was imprisoned for over 27 years. In his entire lifetime, he has received over a hundred of recognitions including the Nobel Peace Prize. He played an important role in the abolition of apartheid and he was the first ever Black President of South Africa.

Barack Obama

Barrack Obama is probably one of the most popular and inspiring country leaders today after having been elected as the United States President. He graduated with Juris Doctor in Harvard Law School. He is one of the most influential African-American leaders and brilliant black lawyers in the world today. He initiated the enforcement of no-fly zone over Libya, commanding of military operation which caused Osama Bin Laden’s death, signing of new START arms treaty with Russia and the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.

Michael Jordan

Hailed as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan is absolutely one of the most popular basketball players who popularized the NBA. Aside from basketball, Michael Jordan was also interested in baseball and football in his early years. He was rejected from the varsity basketball team because he was considered “too short”. His rejection motivated him to become one of the world’s greatest basketball players. He is an African-American icon in sports who received several awards and recognitions because of his skills and prowess in basketball. Today, Michael Jordan is an entrepreneur and one of the major owners of a professional basketball team in North Carolina, Charlotte Bobcats.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey goes beyond just a host of the famous The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also an actress, proprietor and a great philanthropist. In fact, she is the first Black who made it to the list of America’s Top 50 Most Generous Philanthropists according to Business Week. Despite her struggles during her childhood, Oprah emerged to be one of the most popular Black hosts today. Her career started as a co-anchor in a local radio show and then she moved to talk show hosting. Today, Winfrey is the only African-American who made it on the Forbes' list of 400 Richest People of America.

Will Smith

Will Smith is a producer, rapper and only actor who made 8 consecutive films that earn over $100 million in the domestic box office. Smith is known for his films like Bad Boys, The Pursuit of Happyness, Independence Day and Robot. He received two academy awards, four nominations for Golden Globe Awards, and several Grammy Awards. Newsweek considered him as the most powerful actor of Hollywood. He also made it to the top 40 of the wealthiest Americans who are under 40.

Michael Jackson

Also known as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson is hailed by Guinness World Records as the most successful entertainer of all time. Starting as a member of the Jackson 5, he began his solo career in 1971 and from then on, he made remarkable contributions in the world of entertainment especially in dance and music. He has made several record-breaking albums such as the Thriller, HIStory and Bad. Despite his traumatic childhood years with hi dad who abused him physically and emotionally, Michael Jackson has emerged to be one of the most popular artists and performers of all time.

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