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100 Famous African-American Men and Women of the 20th Century

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African-American men and women have made great contributions to American society throughout the 20th century. Below you will find a listing of 100 African Americans who truly achieved greatness by either advancing civil rights or making major impacts in science, government, sports, or entertainment.

Athletes

Michael Jordan
Joe Patronite/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Authors

Civil Rights Leaders and Activists

  • Ella Baker
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • W.E.B. DuBois
  • Medgar Evers
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Malcolm X
  • James Meredith
  • Elijah Muhammad
  • Rosa Parks
  • Bobby Seale
  • Fred Shuttlesworth
  • Emmett Till
  • Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
  • Walter White
  • Roy Wilkins

Entertainers

  • Josephine Baker
  • Halle Berry
  • Bill Cosby
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Gregory Hines
  • Lena Horne
  • James Earl Jones
  • Spike Lee
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Richard Pryor
  • Will Smith
  • Denzel Washington
  • Oprah Winfrey

Inventors, Scientists, and Educators

Politicians, Lawyers, and Other Government Leaders

  • Ralph Bunche
  • Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr.
  • Minnie Joycelyn Elders
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Daniel "Chappie" James
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Kwesi Mfume
  • Colin Powell
  • Clarence Thomas
  • Andrew Young
  • Coleman Young

Singers and Musicians

  • Marian Anderson
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Chuck Berry
  • Ray Charles
  • Nat King Cole
  • Miles Davis
  • Duke Ellington
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Billie Holiday
  • Michael Jackson
  • Robert Johnson
  • Diana Ross
  • Stevie Wonder
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