Second 25

Second 25


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Fifty Influential Figures

In African-American History





Jack Jackson (1878-1946)

First Black heavyweight champion won the title in 1908 and became a major symbol of Black defiance in first decades of the century.


James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

Civil Rights leader, poet, diplomat was the first Black secretary of the NAACP and the co-author of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”

and author of the popular God’s Trombones, seven sermons in verse.


Ernest E. Just (1883-1941)

Scientist and Howard University professor was a leading zoologist and made key contributions in the fields of experimental embryology.


Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Protest leader and Muslim minister championed Black nationalism and a strong alliance between Africans and African-Americans.  

Malcolm X   Malcolm X Letter   Malcolm X Is Dead!


Benjamin E. Mays (1894-1984)

College president, minister, World Council of Churches leader (right) taught and served as role model for leaders.


Jesse Owens (1913-1980) Track star (above) won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics and became an international symbol of racial harmony and the Olympic movement.


Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908-1972)

Politician and minister was the first Black congressman from the East and the first Black chairman of a major congressional committee. 


A. Philip Randolph (1889-1978)

Labor leader and activist founded the March on Washington Movement and helped organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Paul Robeson (1898-1978)

Singer, actor and activist (left) created a new stage image of commitment and projected an international vision of art for freedom’s sake.


Jackie Robinson (1919-1972)

Baseball star joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and became the first Black to play in the major leagues in modern times.


Mary Church Terrell (1883-1954)

Civil rights leader and co-founder of NAACP was first president of the National Association of Colored Women, which she helped organize.


Howard Thurman (1900-1981)

Preacher, philosopher, mystic (below) developed nonviolent “love ethic” that influenced Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders.

William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934)

Civil rights leader and editor (below) initiated the anti-Booker T. Washington campaign that led to the Niagara Movement and the NAACP.



Sojourner Truth (1797?-1883)

Abolitionist, orator and leader of women’s movement (left) lectured widely and fought for the rights of Black settlers on the Western frontier.



Harriet Tubman (1821/-1913)

Abolitionist, Union scout and spy, and symbol of Black tradition of heroic women made 19 trips into South and rescued some 300 slaves.



Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915)

College president, bishop, Union Army chaplain and politician was a leader of the post-Reconstruction Colonization Movement.



Nathaniel Turner (1800-1831)

Leader of Southampton, Va., slave revolt that triggered an impassioned national debate on the wisdom and viability of the slave system.

Christian Martyrdom in Southampton 


David Walker (1785-1830)

Abolitionist and businessman called for a slave revolt in 1829 pamphlet, Walker’s Appeal.

Madame C. J. Walker (1867-1919)

Businesswoman and one of the first self-made woman millionaires. She made a fortune with hot-iron process for straightening hair.

Sarah Breedlove Walker 


Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

College president and national leader–he de-emphasized protest and emphasized education, work, and economic development.

John S. Bassett Describes Booker T.  Booker T. Receives Harvard Degree   Atlanta Exposition Address


Phyllis Wheatley (1753?-1784) The first major Black poet, Wheatley’s 1773 work was the second book published by an American woman.


Daniel Hale Williams(1856-1931)

Surgeon and educator (right) performed the first successful operation on the human heart at Chicago’s Provident Hospital in 1893.



Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950)

“Father of Black History” organized first Negro History Week and founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. A Carter G. Woodson Bibliography   The Negro Washerwoman, a Vanishing Figure


Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Author of Native Son and other novels and books that helped redefine American race relations. He died in self-imposed exile in Paris.

A Review of Native Son   I Bite the Hand That Feeds Me  Wright Bio-Chronology


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The Panel

Margaret Walker Alexander, author of Jubilee and professor of English emeritus, Jackson State University;

Lerone Bennett Jr., author of Before The Mayflower;

Mary Frances Berry, co-author of Long Memory: The Black Experience in America;

Margaret Burroughs, founder of DuSable Museum of African-American History;

Samuel DuBois Cook, political scientist and president of Dillard University;

Clayborne Carson, director, Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project;

Adelaide Cromwell, emeritus professor of sociology/Afro-American Studies, Boston University;

Howard Dodson, chief, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture;

Helen G. Edmonds, professor of history emeritus, North Carolina Central University;

John Hope Franklin, author of From Slavery To Freedom and James B. Duke Professor Emeritus, Duke University;

Paula Giddings, author of When and Where I Enter. The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America;

Vincent Harding, author of There Is A River and professor of religion and social transformation, Iliff school of Theology;

Robert L. Harris Jr., director, Africana Studies & Research Center, Cornell University;

Darlene Clark Hine, John A. Hanna Distinguished Professor of History, Michigan State University;

Alton Hornsby Jr., editor of the Journal of Negro History and professor of history, Morehouse College;

Doris E. Saunders, professor of mass communications, Jackson State University;

James Turner, associate professor, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University;

Hanes Walton Jr., Fuller E. Callaway Professor Political Science, Savannah State College.

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Ebony magazine organized this panel of nationally known scholars (above) which listed men and women who made indispensable contributions. All, however, have been nominated for immortality by a select panel of nationally known scholars who were asked in 1989 to submit the names of 40 Black Immortals who made, in their judgment, indispensable contributions to Black America. 

The list includes nine ministers, eight writers, four athletes, three scientists, three musicians, two surgeons, one actor-singer, one politician, and one practicing lawyer. Two Whites–John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison–received votes. Some died at the height of their fame. Others died in obscurity.

The key criterion was an individual who transcended his or her field and made an essential contribution to the development of Black America by contributing an idea, invention or program or by organizing and/or leading a pivotal organization and movement.


Source: Lerone Bennett Jr., Ebony, Feb93, Vol. 48 Issue 4, p122, 11p *In 1989. Reprinted and revised from February, 1989 EBONY.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power–and the enormous risks–of the dollar’s worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 2 December 2011




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