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Martin Luther King Jr. Facts Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist, had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s.  Among his many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Through his activism and inspirational speeches he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among...

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Dick Gregory was a pioneering comedian and civil rights activist who took on race with layered, nuanced humor during the turbulent 1960s. “I've always been insulted when people tell me that my humor has done a lot for race relations. I never thought comedy did anything but make uncomfortable people feel comfortable.” —Dick Gregory Who Was Dick Gregory? Dick Gregory was born in 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri. Gregory got his big break performing as a stand-up comedian at the Playboy Club in the early 1960s. Known for his sophisticated, layered humor that took on racial issues of the day,...

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Black Activist, Black History leaders, Black History Month, Black Leaders, Black Leaders list, Civil Rights, Congress, Gender Equality, Influential Black Leaders, Politics, Shirley Chisholm -

Because before ‘Yes We Can’ there was ‘Unbought and Unbossed’  1924 – 2005 When thinking about how contentious things are in Congress today, imagine being the sole black female congresswoman nearly 50 years ago, at the height of the civil rights movement. Shirley Chisholm was relentless in breaking political barriers with respect to both race and gender. She was a pioneer. In 1968, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, representing New York’s 12th District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. As both a New York state legislator and a congresswoman, Chisholm championed the rights...

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African American, Black Activist, Black History, Black History leaders, Black History Month, Black Leaders, Black Leaders list, Civil Rights, Ella Baker, Influential, Influential Black Leaders, Martin Luther King -

Proof that visibility is not necessary to make an impact, Ella Baker is one of history’s lesser-known civil rights heroes, yet one of the most important. If Martin Luther King Jr. was the head of the civil rights movement, Ella Baker was its backbone. Born on Dec. 13, 1903, in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised in North Carolina, Baker cultivated her passion and desire for social justice at a young age. Her grandmother, who was a slave, once told her a story of being whipped for refusing to marry a man of her slave owner’s choosing — fueling Baker’s desire for...

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