African-American men and women made great contributions to American society throughout the 20th century, advancing civil rights as well as science, government, sports, and entertainment. Whether you are researching a topic for Black History Month or just want to learn more, this listing of famous African-Americans will help you find people who truly achieved greatness.
African-Americans have advocated for civil rights since the earliest days of the United States. Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X are two of the best-known civil rights leaders of the 20th century. Others, like black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett and scholar W.E.B. DuBois, paved the way with their own contributions in the centurys first decades.
There would be no jazz music today were it not for the contributions of artists like Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong, who were instrumental in the evolution of this uniquely American music genre. But African-Americans have been essential to all aspects of music, from opera singer Marian Anderson to pop icon Michael Jackson.