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I choose to write about famous African Americans during Black History Month because I want to honor and celebrate the achievements of these individuals and their contributions to society. By raising awareness of the ongoing struggle for racial equality and justice. Despite significant progress in recent years, there is still much work to be done to address the persistent inequalities faced by African Americans in many areas of life.  This Black History Month we should spread awareness of their stories to help inspire others to learn more about black history and how we can serve our community.

A little bit of history it is believed that the appointment of African Americans as notaries public served to challenge the widespread belief in the late 19th century that African Americans were not intelligent or capable enough to hold positions of responsibility.  Some of the earliest known African American notaries public include Robert Purvis and Robert Harlan.  Robert Purvis was a prominent abolitionist and civil rights activist, who lived in the mid-19th century and was active in the Underground Railroad movement. Robert Harlan was a former slave who became a successful businessman and community leader in Kentucky in the late 1800s.

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. – One of the most well-known figures of the Civil Rights movement. Leader and advocate for non-violent resistance.  He was a Baptist minister and a nonviolent activist who advocated for equal rights for African Americans. His speeches and demonstrations inspired a generation to fight for their rights, and he remains an iconic figure in American history. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 is still widely quoted and remains a symbol of hope for many.
  2. Rosa Parks – Civil Rights activist, known for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks was a seamstress and civil rights activist, best known for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. This act of resistance sparked a boycott of the city’s public transportation system and became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Parks became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.
  3. Nelson Mandela – Anti-apartheid revolutionary and former President of South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison for his activism and became a symbol of resistance against the country’s racist policies. After his release, he worked tirelessly to promote peace and reconciliation in South Africa, leading the country through a difficult transition to democracy. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and remains an inspiration to millions around the world.
  4. Malcolm X – Civil Rights activist, advocate for Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism. He was a charismatic speaker and a passionate advocate for the rights of African Americans, and he was a strong supporter of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism. Malcolm X believed that African Americans should strive for self-determination and that they should be proud of their cultural heritage. He was a controversial figure during his lifetime.
  5. Harriet Tubman – Abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad. Tubman made numerous trips back to the South to help other enslaved people escape, and she also served as a spy and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. Her bravery and commitment to freedom have made her an iconic figure in American history.
  6. Frederick Douglass – Abolitionist, writer, and statesman. He was a brilliant orator and writer, using his powerful speeches and writings to raise awareness about the horrors of slavery and advocate for its abolition. Douglass also worked as a recruiter for the Union Army during the Civil War and served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. He remains a prominent figure in American history and is celebrated for his lifelong dedication to social justice and equality.
  7. Maya Angelou – Poet, writer, and Civil Rights activist. She was a charismatic performer, using her writing and speeches to explore themes of race, gender, and social justice. Angelou’s most famous work, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is a powerful memoir that details her experiences growing up as an African American woman in the South. She remains an inspiration to millions around the world and is celebrated for her courage, wisdom, and commitment to justice.
  8. Toni Morrison – a Nobel Prize-winning author, was a pioneering writer, used her writing to explore the experiences of African Americans and to challenge dominant cultural narratives. Morrison’s most famous works include “Beloved” and “The Bluest Eye,” and her writing has earned her numerous awards and accolades. She remains an inspiration to writers and activists everywhere and is celebrated for her contributions to American literature and culture.
  9. Jackie Robinson – First African American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. He was an outstanding player, earning six consecutive All-Star selections and leading the Brooklyn Dodgers to six World Series appearances. Robinson’s bravery and talent have made him an icon of American sports, and he remains a beloved figure in American history.
  10. Ida B. Wells – Journalist, suffragist, and Civil Rights leader. She was a fearless journalist, using her writing to challenge the dominant cultural narratives of her time and to fight for justice and equality. Wells was also a leading suffragist, working to secure women’s right to vote. Her tireless activism and dedication to justice have made her an iconic figure in American history.
  11. Jesse Owens – Olympic track and field athlete, known for winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Games. Owens was an Olympic track and field athlete who achieved incredible success during his career. He won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Games, setting world records in the process and striking a blow against the Nazi regime’s notion of Aryan supremacy.
  12. Marcus Garvey – Jamaican-born black nationalist, organizer of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a movement aimed at promoting black pride and self-sufficiency. Garvey believed that African Americans should strive for their own economic, political, and cultural independence, and he sought to build a black-led global network to support these goals. He inspired many people with his vision of a united and self-sufficient black community.
  13. Thurgood Marshall – First African American Supreme Court Justice, known for arguing and winning Brown v. Board of Education. He was the first African American to serve as a Supreme Court Justice and made numerous contributions to the civil rights movement throughout his career. Marshall was a brilliant legal mind and a passionate advocate for equality and justice. He argued and won the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. This case was a pivotal moment in the fight for civil rights, and it helped to bring about significant changes in American society.
  14. E.B. Du Bois – Sociologist, historian, and Civil Rights leader, co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which became one of the most important organizations in the struggle for civil rights. He served as the director of research and publicity for the NAACP for many years and was a key figure in the organization’s efforts to end segregation and secure voting rights for African Americans.
  15. Dizzy Gillespie – Jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, known for his contributions to bebop and modern jazz. He was born on October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, South Carolina, and began playing the trumpet at the age of 12. Gillespie’s early influences were the swing and big band styles of the 1930s and 1940s, but he went on to become one of the most important figures in the development of bebop, a new style of jazz that emerged in the 1940s.

Black History Month is the best time to preserve their legacy and to ensure that their stories are not forgotten. These individuals represent the best of what is possible, and they serve as inspiring examples of what can be achieved through determination, hard work, and courage.