Who Are the Key Figures in Black History?


Quick Answer

Some key figures in American black history are Benjamin Banneker, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Langston Hughes, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson and Ruby Bridges are also prominent African Americans throughout history.

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Full Answer

Benjamin Banneker is often called the first African American scientist and is known for his inventions, scientific theories, social activism and engineering prowess. Harriet Tubman was a high-profile abolitionist who is known for her work with the Underground Railroad. Frederick Douglass was an important author and activist. Rosa Parks became a famous civil rights figure when she refused to move to the back of a metro bus. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an influential activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.

Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were authors, educators and activists who worked to improve race relations and empower black slaves. Langston Hughes was an author, poet and playwright whose work focused on the lives of black people in America. Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic games in Nazi Germany. Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in Major League Baseball. Ruby Bridges was the first African American child to attend a formerly all-white public elementary school in the South.

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