Occupations

Academics & Education

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Florida and co-founding UNCF on April 25, 1944 with William Trent and Frederick D. Patterson.

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Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Julian Bond was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer.

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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, was an American agricultural scientist and inventor. He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion (while a professor at Tuskegee Institute).

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Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, and she represented New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.

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Janet Collins

Janet Collins

Janet Collins was a ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She performed on Broadway, in films, and appeared frequently on television. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation.

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David Dinkins

David Dinkins

David Norman Dinkins is an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 106th Mayor of New York City, from 1990 to 1993. He was the first and, to date, the only African American to hold that office.

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W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986).

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Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage was an African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She was also a teacher whose studio was important to the careers of a generation of artists who would become nationally known. She worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts.

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Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an African-American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

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Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Carter Godwin Woodson was an American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In February 1926, he launched the celebration of “Negro History Week”, the precursor of Black History Month.

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Arts & Entertainment

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton Jr. is an American actor, presenter, director and author. He is best known for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosting the long-running PBS children's series Reading Rainbow and in the 1977 award-winning ABC television miniseries Roots.

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Pat Cleveland

Pat Cleveland

Patricia Cleveland is an American fashion model who initially attained success in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of the first African-American models within the fashion industry to achieve prominence as a runway model and print model.

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Janet Collins

Janet Collins

Janet Collins was a ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She performed on Broadway, in films, and appeared frequently on television. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation.

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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, author, and convicted sex offender. He held an active career for over six decades before being convicted and imprisoned for sex offenses in 2018.

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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Samuel Davis Jr. was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame for being one of the Greatest Entertainers in the World.

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Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx

John Sanford, better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Foxx gained success with his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s. Known as the “King of the Party Records”, he performed on more than 50 records in his lifetime.

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall is an American comedian, talk show host, actor, writer and producer. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show, a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014.

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Bishop T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Thomas Dexter Jakes Sr., known as T. D. Jakes, is a pastor, author and filmmaker. He is the pastor of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch. Jakes's church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter's Touch.

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Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox sitcom Martin and films like House Party, Boomerang, and Bad Boys.

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Moms Mabley

Moms Mabley

Loretta Aiken, known by her stage name Jackie “Moms” Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville, she later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

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Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac

Bernard McCullough, better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American comedian, actor, and voice actor. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian.

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Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney

Paul Gladney, better known by the stage name Paul Mooney, is an American comedian, writer, social critic, and television and film actor. He is best known for his appearances on Chappelle's Show and as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor.

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Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Edward Murphy is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked No. 10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

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Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O'Neal was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and radio host. He grew up in Boston and developed an interest in stand-up comedy at a young age, first performing in 1992 when his act mainly focused on conversations with his audience.

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time.

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Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist, best known for her narrative quilts.

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Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Christopher Rock is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. After working as a stand-up comedian and appearing in supporting film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s.

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Nipsey Russell

Nipsey Russell

Julius “Nipsey” Russell was an American comedian, poet, and dancer best known for his appearances as a panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, including Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth, and Pyramid.

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Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage was an African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She was also a teacher whose studio was important to the careers of a generation of artists who would become nationally known. She worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts.

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Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

Christopher Tucker is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing the role of Smokey in F. Gary Gray's Friday and as Detective James Carter in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour film series. He became a frequent stand up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s.

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George Wallace

George Wallace

George Wallace is a standup comedian and writer who is recognized for having been a regular at the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles, CA. In 1995, he was named the Best Standup Comedian at the American Comedy Awards.

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Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenen Ivory Wayans Sr. is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and a member of the Wayans family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and the creator of the 1990–1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color.

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John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon is an American comedian and actor who has performed in many television shows and films. Best known for his role in the Friday series, Witherspoon has also starred in films such as Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Boomerang (1992) and Vampire In Brooklyn (1995).

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Business

Wally Amos

Wally Amos

Wallace “Wally” Amos, Jr. is an American TV personality, entrepreneur, and author. He is the founder of the Famous Amos chocolate-chip cookie, the Cookie Kahuna, and Aunt Della’s Cookies gourmet cookie brands, and was the host of the adult reading program, Learn to Read.

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Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Samuel Cook, known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist and entrepreneur. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music.

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons.

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesseswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919.

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Civil Rights

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

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Ella Baker

Ella Baker

Ella Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer whose career spanned more than five decades. In New York City and the South, she worked alongside some of the most noted civil rights leaders of the 20th century.

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Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an American-born French entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent. Her career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France.

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James Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America.

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Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa is an American disc jockey, rapper, songwriter and producer from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture.

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Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka, previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism. He was the author of numerous books of poetry and taught at several universities.

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Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor. One of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.

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Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Florida and co-founding UNCF on April 25, 1944 with William Trent and Frederick D. Patterson.

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The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a revolutionary political organization in Oakland, California. The party was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982, with chapters in numerous major cities and international chapters.

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Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Julian Bond was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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James Brown

James Brown

James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music and dance, he is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul”.

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Jim Brown

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965.

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Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Samuel Cook, known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist, and entrepreneur. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music.

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Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of “Ruth Younger” in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961).

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as “The Queen of Soul”.

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and women's rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement. She was the co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

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Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height was a revolutionary leader for the civil rights movement, known for her contributions and ideological breakthroughs. She's often referred to as being an extremely prominent figure, as she was of great significance in both women's rights and civil rights movements.

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Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Lena Horne was an American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of 16 and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood.

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Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was an American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. An active advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

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Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba

Zenzile Miriam Makeba, nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa.

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.

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Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney is an American politician and activist who is an Assistant Professor at North South University, Bangladesh. As a member of the Democratic Party, she served six terms in the United States House of Representatives.

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A. Phillip Randolph

A. Phillip Randolph

Asa Philip Randolph was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties. In 1925, he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African-American labor union.

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Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist, best known for her narrative quilts.

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Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in 1941 to press for an end to racial discrimination in employment.

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Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage was an African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She was also a teacher whose studio was important to the careers of a generation of artists who would become nationally known. She worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts.

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Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz, also known as Betty X, was an American educator and civil rights advocate. She was the wife of Malcolm X. Along with her husband, Shabazz left the Nation of Islam in 1964.

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Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.

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Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, she escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

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Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996.

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Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington

Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community.

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Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an African-American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

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Malcolm X

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks.

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Whitney Young, Jr.

Whitney Young, Jr.

Whitney Young, Jr. was an American civil rights leader who spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the United States, along with elevating the National Urban League.

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Clergy & Religion

George Foreman

George Foreman

George Foreman is an American former professional boxer. Nicknamed “Big George”, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside the sport he is an ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.

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Bishop T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Thomas Dexter Jakes Sr., known as T. D. Jakes, is a pastor, author and filmmaker. He is the pastor of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch. Jakes's church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter's Touch.

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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

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Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996.

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Film & TV

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Obba Babatunde

Obba Babatundé

Obba Babatundé is an American stage and movie actor, voice actor, producer, director and singer. A native of Queens, New York, Babatundé has appeared in more than seventeen stage productions, thirty theatrical films, sixty made-for-television movies, and two prime-time series.

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Jim Brown

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965.

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LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton Jr. is an American actor, presenter, director and author. He is best known for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosting the long-running PBS children's series Reading Rainbow and in the 1977 award-winning ABC television miniseries Roots.

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Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey

Bernard Casey was an American actor, poet, and professional football player. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

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Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilton Chamberlain was an American basketball player who played as a center and is considered one of the greatest players in history. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, author, and convicted sex offender. He held an active career for over six decades before being convicted and imprisoned for sex offenses in 2018.

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Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer. She is perhaps one of the most famous black actresses to have a successful Hollywood career and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the 1954 film Carmen Jones.

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Sammy Davis, Jr. Music

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Samuel Davis Jr. was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities.

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Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of “Ruth Younger” in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961).

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Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan was an American actor best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile (1999), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and various similar honors.

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Antonio Fargas

Antonio Fargas

Antonio Fargas is an American actor known for his roles in 1970s blaxploitation movies, as well as his portrayal of Huggy Bear in the 1970s TV series Starsky & Hutch.

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Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx

John Sanford, better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Foxx gained success with his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film director, and film narrator. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby, and he has received Oscar nominations for Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, and Invictus.

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Ron Glass

Ron Glass

Ronald Glass was an American actor. He was best known for his roles as literary Det. Ron Harris in the television sitcom Barney Miller, and as the spiritual Shepherd Derrial Book in the science-fiction series Firefly and its sequel film Serenity.

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Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg is an American actor, comedian, author, and television personality. She has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and is one of the few entertainers to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award (EGOT).

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Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy III is an American record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer and television producer. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries, which was the highest-earning African-American business for decades.

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Pam Grier

Pam Grier

Pamela Grier is an American actress. Grier became known in the early 1970s for starring in a string of 1970s women in prison and blaxploitation films such as The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown, and Sheba, Baby.

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Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall is an American comedian, talk show host, actor, writer and producer. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show, a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014.

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Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide.

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Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

James Milton Kelly was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist. Kelly rose to fame in the early 1970s appearing in several blaxploitation films. Kelly is perhaps best known for his role as Williams in the 1973 martial arts action film Enter the Dragon.

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Kid ’n Play

Kid ’n Play

Kid ’n Play is a hip-hop duo from New York City that was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Besides their successful musical careers, they are also notable for branching out into acting.

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Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto is an American actor known for numerous film roles, as well as starring in NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street as Lieutenant Al Giardello. Films include Alien, and the Arnold Schwarzenegger science-fiction/action film The Running Man.

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Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah

Dana Elaine Owens, known professionally as Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. She has long been considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.

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Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox sitcom Martin and films like House Party, Boomerang, and Bad Boys.

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Spike Lee

Spike Lee

“Spike” Lee is a film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983. He made his directorial debut with She's Gotta Have It, and has since directed such films as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X.

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Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo is a British-born American actor and theatre director. Lindo has been nominated for Tony and Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in three Spike Lee films, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Clockers.

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Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American comedian, actor, and voice actor. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian.

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Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney

Paul Gladney, better known by the stage name Paul Mooney, is an American comedian, writer, social critic, and television and film actor. He is best known for his appearances on Chappelle's Show and as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor.

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Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Edward Murphy is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked No. 10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

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Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols is an American actress, singer, and voice artist. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Nichols played Nyota Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures.

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Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O'Neal was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and radio host. He grew up in Boston and developed an interest in stand-up comedy at a young age, first performing in 1992 when his act mainly focused on conversations with his audience.

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Ron O’Neal

Ron O’Neal

Ron O'Neal was an American actor, director and screenwriter, who rose to fame in his role as Youngblood Priest, a New York cocaine dealer, in blaxploitation films Super Fly and Super Fly T.N.T.. O'Neal was also a director and writer for the sequel, and for the film Up Against the Wall.

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Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s ‐ particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans ‐ and in glamour photography.

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Melvin Van Peebles

Melvin Van Peebles

Melvin “Block” Van Peebles is an American actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist and composer. He is most famous for creating (and starring in) the acclaimed film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which heralded a new era of black-focused films.

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Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

Sir Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor and film director. He received two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor, winning one, by which he became the first black actor to win the Award.

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl Lee Ralph is an American actress, singer, author, and activist. She made her screen debut in the 1977 comedy film A Piece of the Action, before landing her breakthrough role as Deena Jones in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, for which she received Tony Award nomination.

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Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Christopher Rock is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. After working as a stand-up comedian and appearing in supporting film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s.

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Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Diana Ross is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the the Supremes, which became Motown's most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in U.S. history, as well as one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time.

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Richard Roundtree

Richard Roundtree

Richard Roundtree is an American actor and former model. Roundtree is noted as being “the first black action hero” for his portrayal of private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film Shaft, and its four sequels, released between 1972 and 2019.

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Nipsey Russell

Nipsey Russell

Julius “Nipsey” Russell was an American comedian, poet, and dancer best known for his appearances as a panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, including Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth, and Pyramid.

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John Singleton

John Singleton

John Singleton was a film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He was best known for directing Boyz n the Hood, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.

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Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Amaru Shakur, known professionally as 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Much of Shakur's work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.

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Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes is an American actor, director, film producer, martial artist, and author. His prominent film roles include New Jack City, White Men Can't Jump, Passenger 57, Demolition Man, and the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy.

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Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

Christopher Tucker is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing the role of Smokey in F. Gary Gray's Friday and as Detective James Carter in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour film series. He became a frequent stand up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s.

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Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Tina Turner is a retired singer, songwriter, and actress who is internationally recognized. One of the best-selling recording artists of all time, she has been referred to as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

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Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson is a actress and former fashion model. In a career spanning more than six decades, she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women. She's also a recipient of multiple awards, including Emmys, Black Reels, and more.

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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

Michael Tyson is a former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old.

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Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenen Ivory Wayans Sr. is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and a member of the Wayans family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and the creator of the 1990–1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color.

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Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams

“Billy Dee” Williams, Jr. is an American actor, artist, and singer. Williams is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars film franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson was an American singer whose career spanned over five decades, from the mid–1950s until her retirement in the early–2010s. She was notable for her single “(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am” and her version of the standard “Guess Who I Saw Today”.

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is a media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011.

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John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon is an American comedian and actor who has performed in many television shows and films. Best known for his role in the Friday series, Witherspoon has also starred in films such as Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang and Vampire In Brooklyn.

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Literature

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. Adichie, who was born in the city of Enugu in Nigeria, grew up as the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in Enugu State.

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

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James Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America.

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Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka, previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism. He was the author of numerous books of poetry and taught at several universities.

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Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer.

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Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, and she represented New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986).

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright and writer. Hansberry was the first black female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago.

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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

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Zora Hurston

Zora Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an influential author of African-American literature, anthropologist, and filmmaker, who portrayed racial struggles in the early-20th-century American South, and published research on Haitian Vodou.

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Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill

Gwendolyn L. Ifill was an American journalist, television newscaster, and author. In 1999, she became the first woman of African descent to host a nationally televised U.S. public affairs program with Washington Week in Review.

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Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. An active advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

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Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist, best known for her narrative quilts.

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Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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Military

Guion Bluford

Guion Bluford

Guion Bluford Jr., Ph.D., is an American aerospace engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot, and former NASA astronaut, who is the first African American and the second person of African descent to go to space.

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Henry Ossian Flipper Military

Henry Ossian Flipper

Henry Ossian Flipper was an American soldier, former slave and, in 1877, the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, earning a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army.

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu

Shaka kaSenzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu, was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom.

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Music

Aaliyah

Aaliyah

Aaliyah was an American singer, actress, and model. Billboard lists her as the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years, and the 27th most successful in history.

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Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz.

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Babyface

Babyface

Kenneth Brian Edmonds, known professionally as Babyface, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 number-one R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards.

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Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an American-born French entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent. Her career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France.

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Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa is an American disc jockey, rapper, songwriter and producer from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture.

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Count Basie

Count Basie

“Count” Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording.

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Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor. One of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.

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Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Charles Berry was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as “Maybellene” and “Johnny B. Goode”, Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive.

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James Brown

James Brown

James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music and dance, he is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul”.

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Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll is an American actress, singer and model. She rose to stardom in performances in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess.

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Grandmaster Caz

Grandmaster Caz

Curtis Brown, better known by his stage name Casanova Fly a.k.a Grandmaster Caz, is an American rapper, songwriter and DJ. He currently works as a celebrity tour guide for Hush Hip Hop Tours, a hip-hop cultural sightseeing tour company in New York City.

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Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called “Brother Ray”. He was often referred to as “The Genius”. Charles started losing his vision at the age of 5, and by 7 he was blind.

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George Clinton

George Clinton

George Clinton is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. His Parliament-Funkadelic collective developed an influential and eclectic form of funk music during the 1970s that drew on science fiction, outlandish fashion, psychedelic culture, and surreal humor.

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Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole

Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American jazz pianist and vocalist. He recorded over one hundred songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for small jazz ensembles that followed.

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John Coltrane

John Coltrane

John Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was at the forefront of free jazz.

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Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Samuel Cook, known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, civil-rights activist, and entrepreneur. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music.

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Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer. She is perhaps one of the most famous black actresses to have a successful Hollywood career and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in the film Carmen Jones.

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Miles Davis

Miles Davis

Miles Davis was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music.

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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Samuel Davis Jr. was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities.

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Death

Death

Death is an American rock band formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1971 by brothers Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar), and Dannis (drums) Hackney. The trio started out as a funk band but switched to rock after seeing a concert by The Who. Seeing Alice Cooper play was also an inspiration.

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Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire (abbreviated as EW&F or simply EWF) is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, Latin, and Afro pop. They have been described as one of the most innovative and commercially successful acts of all time.

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'Duke' Ellington

“Duke” Ellington

“Duke” Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades. Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma.

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Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

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DJ Grandmaster Flash

DJ Grandmaster Flash

Joseph Saddler, better known by his stage name Grandmaster Flash is an American hip hop recording artist and DJ. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, scratching and mixing.

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Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as “The Queen of Soul”.

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Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, earning him the nicknames “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”.

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Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy III is an American record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer and television producer. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries, which was the highest-earning African-American business for decades.

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Issac Hayes

Issac Hayes

Isaac Hayes was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the Southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a session musician and record producer.

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'Jimi' Hendrix

“Jimi“ Hendrix

“Jimi“ Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted only four years, but he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

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Nona Hendryx

Nona Hendryx

Nona Hendryx, is an American vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress. Hendryx is known for her work as a solo artist as well as for being one-third of the trio Labelle, who had a hit with “Lady Marmalade.”

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Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was an African American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing.

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Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Lena Horne was an American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of 16 and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood.

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Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide.

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The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers are an American musical group that started as a vocal trio consisting of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr., Rudolph Isley, and Ronald Isley. The group has been cited as having enjoyed one of the “longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music”.

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'Freddie' Jackson

“Freddie” Jackson

“Freddie” Jackson is an American Grammy-nominated singer. Originally from New York, Jackson began his professional music career in the late 1970s with the California funk band Mystic Merlin.

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Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. A prominent figure in popular culture, she is known for sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, and elaborate stage shows.

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Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the “King of Pop”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers.

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Grace Jones

Grace Jones

Grace Jones is a Jamaican-American model, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.

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Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones is an American record producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, arranger, and film and television producer. His career spans over 60 years in the entertainment industry with a record 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, and a Grammy Legend Award.

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Big Daddy Kane

Big Daddy Kane

Antonio Hardy, better known by his stage name Big Daddy Kane, is a Grammy Award-winning American rapper and actor who started his career in 1986 as a member of the rap collective the Juice Crew. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential and skilled MCs in hip hop.

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Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan

Yvette Marie Stevens, better known by her stage name Chaka Khan, is an American singer, songwriter and musician. Her career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus.

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Kid ’n Play

Kid ’n Play

Kid ’n Play is an American hip-hop duo from New York City that was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The duo was composed of Christopher Reid (“Kid”) and Christopher Martin (“Play”) working alongside their DJ, Mark “DJ Wiz” Eastmond.

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Gladys Knight & The Pips

Gladys Knight & The Pips

Gladys Knight & the Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia that remained active on the music charts and performing circuit for three decades.

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Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti, or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre and human rights activist. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa's most “challenging and charismatic music performers.”

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Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah

Dana Elaine Owens, known professionally as Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. She has long been considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.

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MC Lyte

MC Lyte

Lana Michelle Moorer, known professionally as MC Lyte, is an American rapper who first gained fame in the late 1980s, becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album with 1988's critically acclaimed Lyte as a Rock. She has long been considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.

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Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba

Zenzile Miriam Makeba, nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with various musical genres, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa.

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Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Robert Nesta Marley, OM was a Jamaican singer and songwriter. Considered one of the pioneers of reggae, his musical career was marked by blending elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as forging a smooth and distinctive vocal and songwriting style.

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Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is an American virtuoso trumpeter, composer, teacher, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has promoted classical and jazz music, often to young audiences.

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Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, and one of the most influential musicians behind soul and politically conscious African-American music.

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The Miracles

The Miracles

The Miracles were an American rhythm and blues vocal group that was the first successful recording act for Berry Gordy's Motown Records, and one of the most important and influential groups in pop, rock and roll, and R&B music history.

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Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.

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N.W.A

N.W.A

N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip-hop group. They were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and are widely considered one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of hip-hop music.

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Naughty By Nature

Naughty By Nature

Naughty by Nature is an American hip hop trio from East Orange, New Jersey consisting of Treach (Anthony Criss), Vin Rock (Vincent Brown), and DJ Kay Gee (Keir Lamont Gist).

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Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols is an American actress, singer, and voice artist. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Nichols played Nyota Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures.

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The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.

Christopher Wallace, known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. Widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. He was noted for his “loose, easy flow”; dark, semi-autobiographical lyrics; and storytelling abilities.

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Prince

Prince

Prince was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was known for his eclectic work and flamboyant stage appearances. He was also a multi-instrumentalist and regarded as a guitar virtuoso.

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Public Enemy

Public Enemy

Public Enemy is an American hip hop group known for their politically charged music and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community.

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Rakim

Rakim

William Michael Griffin Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. One half of golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential and most skilled MCs of all time.

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Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Diana Ross is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the Supremes, becoming Motown's most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in U.S. history, as well as one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time.

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Run-D.M.C.

Run-D.M.C.

Run-D.M.C. was an American hip hop group, founded in 1983 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture and one of the most famous hip hop acts of the 1980s.

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Sade

Sade

Helen Folasade Adu, CBE, known professionally as Sade Adu or simply Sade, is a British Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress, known as the lead singer of her eponymous band.

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Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Amaru Shakur, known professionally as 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Much of Shakur's work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.

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Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith was an American blues singer. Nicknamed the Empress of the Blues, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on fellow blues singers, as well as jazz vocalists.

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Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh, OM was a Jamaican reggae musician. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, he was one of the core members of the band the Wailers, after which he established himself as a successful solo artist and a promoter of Rastafari.

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Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Tina Turner is a retired singer, songwriter, and actress who is internationally recognized. One of the best-selling recording artists of all time, she has been referred to as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

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Barry White

Barry White

Barry Carter, known as Barry White, was an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and composer. A three-time Grammy Award–winner known for his distinctive bass-baritone voice and romantic image, his greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer.

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Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack

Robert Womack was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. Starting as the lead singer of his family musical group the Valentinos and as Sam Cooke's backing guitarist, his career spanned more than 60 years and multiple styles, including R&B and soul.

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Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. A prominent figure in popular music, he is one of the most successful musicians of the 20th century.

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Politics

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Julian Bond was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early 1960s, he helped to establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, and she represented New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.

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David Dinkins

David Dinkins

David Norman Dinkins is an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 106th Mayor of New York City, from 1990 to 1993. He was the first and, to date, the only African American to hold that office.

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Jr. ONH was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA).

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Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was an American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.

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Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney is an American politician and activist who is an Assistant Professor at North South University, Bangladesh. As a member of the Democratic Party, she served six terms in the United States House of Representatives.

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Sciences

Guion Bluford

Guion Bluford

Guion Stewart Bluford Jr., Ph.D., is an American aerospace engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot, and former NASA astronaut, who is the first African American and the second person of African descent to go to space.

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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, was an American agricultural scientist and inventor. He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion (while a professor at Tuskegee Institute).

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W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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Zora Hurston

Zora Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an influential author of African-American literature, anthropologist, and filmmaker, who portrayed racial struggles in the early-20th-century American South, and published research on Haitian Vodou.

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A. Phillip Randolph

A. Phillip Randolph

Asa Philip Randolph was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the American labor movement, and socialist political parties. In 1925, he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African-American labor union.

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Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz, also known as Betty X, was an American educator and civil rights advocate. She was the wife of Malcolm X. Along with her husband, Shabazz left the Nation of Islam in 1964.

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Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesseswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919.

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Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Carter Godwin Woodson was an American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In February 1926, he launched the celebration of “Negro History Week”, the precursor of Black History Month.

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Sports

Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron

Henry Aaron, nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank,” is a American Major League Baseball right fielder who serves as the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. He played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League.

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Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe Jr. was an American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam titles. Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.

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Bob Beamon

Bob Beamon

Robert Beamon is an American former track and field athlete, best known for his world record in the long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. He broke the existing record by a margin of 55cm and his world record stood for almost 23 years until it was broken by Mike Powell.

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Jim Brown

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965.

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Rod Carew

Rod Carew

Rodney Carew is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, second baseman and coach of Panamanian descent. He played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels and was elected to the All-Star game every season except his last.

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Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey

Bernard Casey was an American actor, poet, and professional football player. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

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Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilton Chamberlain was an American basketball player who played as a center and is considered one of the greatest players in history. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Ernie Davis

Ernie Davis

Ernest Davis was an American football player, a halfback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1961 and was its first African-American recipient. Davis played college football for Syracuse University and was the first pick in the 1962 NFL Draft.

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Julius Erving

Julius Erving

Julius Erving II, commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is an American retired basketball player who helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim in his career at the ABA and the NBA.

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George Foreman

George Foreman

George Foreman is an American former professional boxer. Nicknamed “Big George”, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside the sport he is an ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.

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Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier

Joseph Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics.

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Marvin Hagler

Marvin Hagler

Marvelous Marvin Hagler is an American former professional boxer. He reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion in the 1980's, making twelve defenses of that title, and currently holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions.

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Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield is an American former professional boxer. He reigned as the undisputed champion at cruiserweight in the late 1980s and at heavyweight in the early 1990s, and remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons.

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Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

John Johnson, nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. Among the period's most dominant champions, he remains a boxing legend.

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100m and 200m still stand.

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Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

James Milton Kelly was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist. Kelly rose to fame in the early 1970s appearing in several blaxploitation films. Kelly is perhaps best known for his role as Williams in the 1973 martial arts action film Enter the Dragon.

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games.

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Joe Louis

Joe Louis

Joseph Louis Barrow, best known as Joe Louis was an American professional boxer who competed from 1934 to 1951. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, and is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

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Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump, and was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”.

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jack Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. He challenged the traditional basis of segregation that had then marked many other aspects of American life.

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'Sugar' Ray Robinson

‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create “pound for pound” rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight.

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Bill Russell

Bill Russell

William Russell is an American former professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Russell is one of seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic gold medal.

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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

Michael Tyson is a former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old.

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