Important people in history


Siandhara Bonnet

In honor of all of the African American men and women who have made an impact in United States history

by Siandhara Bonnet, Editor-in-Chief

As February draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the most important African American figures in American history in honor of Black History Month.

  • Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784
    • One of the first African American women poets whose works were published
      • “Celestial maid of rosy hue/O let me feel thy reign!/I languish till thy face I view/Thy vanish’d joys regain” –A Farewell To America to Mrs. S. W.
  • Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883
    • Also known as Isabella Baumfree; noted speeker for the abolitionist movement and women’s rights movement
  • Martin Delany, 1812-1885
    • First African-American field officer in the United States Army
  •  Harriet Wilson, 1825-1900
    • First African American of either gender to publish a novel on the North American continent
  • Sergeant William Carney, 1842-1908
    • The first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Booker T. Washington, 1856-1915
    • Helped to improve the relationship between the races; classified as political leader, educator, and author
  • W.E.B. DuBois, 1868-1963
    • “Father of Pan-Africanism;” civil rights activist
  • W.C. Handy, 1873-1958
    • Known as “The Father of the Blues”
  • Bessie Coleman, 1892-1926
    • First African American to gain a pilot’s license in the world
  • Ralph Bunche, 1904-1971
    • First non-European to be honored in the history of the Nobel laureate prize (1950)
  • Thurgood Marshall, 1908-1993
    • First African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
    • “Mother of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement”
  • Jackie Robinson, 1919-1972
    • First African American to play Major League Baseball
  • Shirley Chisholm, 1924-2005
    • First African-American woman elected to Congress
  • Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968
    • Won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, civil rights activist
  • President Barack Obama (2008-2016), 1961
    • The first African American President of the United States of America

Selma, released in January 2015, has brought forth the events of the civil rights movement in Selma, Alabama, following the movements of Dr. King. The release of this movie has brought civil rights and equality to the minds of citizens, especially in light of the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. It helps demonstrate the importance of past events and learning from them so they may not be repeated.