Many African-Americans left their country to escape the confines of racism, segregation and McCarthyism in the United States. As a result, an entirely new African-American subculture sprouted up in Europe, Africa and other countries abroad. A street in Paris is named after Josephine Baker, who found acceptance and fame in France that she couldn't achieve in the still-segregated United States. Marcus Garvey was a leader of the Back-to-Africa movement. And singer Nina Simone lived in several different countries, including Liberia, Switzerland, England and Barbados before eventually settling down in the South of France. Find out more about these African-American expats, and the new lives they made for themselves abroad, on Biography.com.
African-Americans have a long history of activism in America, from fighting for the right to vote to pushing for integrated public spaces. Activists like Stokely Carmichael organized freedom rides, James Meredith fought to integrate blacks and whites at the University of Mississippi, and Rosa Parks instigated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These protests were often legal and nonviolent, and made a powerful impact on civil rights in the United States. With the help of activists like these—and many others—the country slowly worked to acknowledge the basic rights and contributions of African-Americans. Activists outisde of the U.S. include Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who have fought against apartheid in South Africa. Learn more about the many black activists who fought against the odds in order to achieve equality.
From film to television to the stage, African-American actors have been credited with a wide range of acclaimed and pioneering cinematic works, including Malcolm X, The Last King of Scotland, Remember the Titans, Training Day, Man on Fire, Ali and Ray. Explore our collection of famous black actors, including Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith and Richard Pryor.
They've sprinted, served, batted, slam-dunked and TKO'd their way into sports history. Sprinter Jesse Owens's Olympic triumphs put Hitler to shame. Basketball star Michael Jordan taught kids that they could fly. Gymnast Gabby Douglas showed that champions can come in pint-size packages, and Tiger Woods brought the game of golf to another level. Explore biographies of famous black athletes who broke records and barriers and, ultimately, captured our imaginations.
Learn more about black history's most esteemed legal professionals, from African-American pioneers such as George Washington Williams and Constance Baker Motley, to legendary Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Thurgood Marshall, to high-profile Harvard grads Barack and Michelle Obama, and many more. Explore our list of famous black lawyers, including full biographies, photo galleries and videos, only on Biography.com.
Spanning jazz to soul to funk, to more contemporary genres like R&B, rap and pop, African-American musicians are responsible for chart-topping hits like "I Feel Good," "Respect," "Georgia on My Mind," "Let The Good Times Roll," "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Thriller." Explore our collection of famous black musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, James Brown, Little Richard, Beyoncé Knowles, and more.
From Whitney Houston's unbelievable vocal range to Michael Jackson's spot-on pitch and unforgettable choreography, these are the famous black singers who, together, have unequivocally defined pop culture for the masses for more than a century. Explore this group to learn more about some of the world's most renowned African-American vocalists, including Josephine Baker, Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis Jr., Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé Knowles, Chuck Berry, Nina Simone, Mary J. Blige, André 3000, Janet Jackson and Gladys Knight.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the United States was in the grips of a "red scare." Many prominent individuals suspected of sympathizing with liberal or humanitarian causes were branded a communist threat, and even accused of espionage. Hollywood was a major focus of the accusations, and after 10 actors refused to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the blacklist was created. Hundreds of actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters and other entertainment professionals were barred from working. Here are some of the famous people who were on the Hollywood blacklist.
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Stated by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., these words represent a basic human philosophy to which black history's greatest leaders have passionately subscribed. Learn more about the world's most revered civil rights activists, known for their fight against social injustices and lasting impact on the lives of black citizens, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Since the game of American football was first played at the collegiate level in the late 1860s, the sport has captivated fans by using both strength and strategy to get the win. With the introduction of the American Professional Football Association, later renamed to the National Football League, audiences saw athletes play more ferociously than ever before. And with the star athletes who have emerged over the years, including Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and John Elway, it's clear that the excitement and ferocity around the brutal sport hasn't died down at all. Browse through the notable football players who have tackled their way to the top.
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.