American and world history echoes with the names of great men and women. Many of them, of African descent. In this article, I will be revealing some of our black heroes whose lives have been an inspiration to not only Americans, but to the world at large.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968): American Christian Minister and Civil Rights Activist
King was a focal figure in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. A well educated man with bachelors in Sociology and Divinity. He also had a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. His dream was a society free of racial discrimination and with equal rights. He was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1964. One of King’s strongest attributes was his oratory prowess. He is delivered his powerful ‘I have a dream speech’ during the march on Washington in 1963. A lot of people today consider it as one of the greatest speeches in history. Also, there are over 730 streets named after King in the United States. Martin Luther King is indeed a Black hero.
Barrack Obama (1961- ): First American President of African Origin
Obama holds a significant place in history as the first African-American President of the United States. He served two terms as the 44th President of the United States and the 5th youngest to do so. He bagged the Nobel Peace Prize in October, 2009 for his extraordinary efforts in strengthening world peace. During his tenure, Obama introduced a number of reforms. They include health care , immigration, and climate change policies.
Muhammed Ali (1942- 2016): Former Professional Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Ali earned himself the nickname “The Greatest” due to his extraordinary boxing career. He is regarded by many, as one of the most outstanding and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics. In 1961, he converted to Islam and took the name Muhammad Ali. He is often as considered as the greatest boxer of all time. In 1964, Ali won the world heavyweight title at the young age of 22. However, he did not limit himself to sports. He was also a high profile figure for African-Americans during the Civil Rights Struggle. He spent much of his time after retirement working for charities and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
Chinua Achebe (1930 – 2013): Best selling Nigerian author
Achebe was a novelist, poet, professor and critic. He is best known for his 1958 classic, ‘Things Fall Apart’. The novel was a response to the treatment of Africa as a primordial and culture-less foil for the western world. He sought to raise a worldwide awareness and to convey a better understanding of African culture. Achebe was deeply interested in religion and the influences of both Christianity and native African traditions. He is our African Hero.
Usain Bolt (1986 – ): Jamaican Athlete
This man , I believe needs no introduction. Usain Bolt made a name for himself as the world’s fastest man. He is a multiple Olympic medalist and retired sprinter. Also, he is the world record holder in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4 x 100 meters relay. He won triple gold at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and broke the world record for 100m and 200m races. Bolt may be retired now, but, we certainly remember him as one of the greatest athletes of all time. Usain Bolt is a Black hero!
Bob Marley (1945 – 1981): Jamaican Singer & Songwriter
Marley is arguably one of the pioneers of Reggae music. Many see him as a cultural icon and music legend. Marley has sold over 75 million albums including ‘Legend’, the best selling reggae album of all time. It is interesting to note that Marley was a pan-Africanist who believed strongly in the unity of the African people across the world. This is evident in many of his songs.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (1938 – ) : Africa’s first elected female Head of State.
A couple of years ago, Ellen John Sirleaf made headlines after being elected as President of Liberia. She served between the year 2006 and 2018. Sirleaf’s actively supports and upholds democracy. She also champions the rights of women. She jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ) : Renowned American media personality
An American talk show host, media executive, actress and philanthropist. Oprah Winfrey is famous for her , ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ which is one of the most watched TV shows in history. She is ranked one of the greatest and most prominent black philanthropist in American history. She is also one of the most influential women in the world.
Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013 ): Former South African president and political leader
Mandela spent most of his life as an anti-apartheid revolutionary. He actively campaigned and organized protests to put an end to apartheid in South Africa. Mandela’s anti-apartheid crusades landed him in trouble with the then white South African regime and he was jailed. After spending 27 years in jail, He emerged as the country’s first black president. Also, he is admired for his forgiving spirit and willingness to reach out to the white community in South Africa. He is one of the most prominent black heroes of our time.