Famous Black Men Who Changed the World


Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In his younger years he was a choir leader and accomplished organist in many churches, accompanied by his mother. At that time I am sure he never realized that he would be “singing the praises” of the civil rights movement. He became a pivotal figure in the nonviolent civil rights movement. During the 1950s and 1960s, his ultimate mission was to improve race relations and overturn discrimination in the American society. He may be best known for his powerful speeches, in which he hoped to make his dream a reality.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Nelson Mandela is considered one of the most admired political leaders of the 20th and 21st century. He was a South African political activist who spent over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime, released in 1990 and, in 1994. He was later elected the first leader of a democratic South Africa. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with F.W. de Klerk) for his work in helping to end racial segregation in South Africa. He is widely admired for his ability to bring together a nation that was previously divided by apartheid. He has changed the world for Africans in Africa and the United States. Desmond Tutu, who is also a component of the apartheid, continued to speak strongly and unequivocally against it, often comparing it to Fascist regimes.

Frederick Douglass (1818-18950)

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. At the age of seven, after the death of his mother, he was brought up by his grandmother and then sent to the home to be a slave to another family. He was taught to read by his Master. It is believed that learning to read accelerated his desire to be free. He eventually escaped slavery and became a powerful public speaker regarding anti-slavery. He wrote three autobiographies describing his experiences as a slave and then gaining his freedom. His writings and speeches became powerful testimonies to support the abolition of slavery. Douglass was the most influential African-American leader of the 19th century.

Barack Obama (1961 – )

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He is the first U.S. President of African origin. Obama has served two terms as President and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

This is just a small example of Africans who have changed the world in a very significant way.



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