Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Esther Jones Was The Real Betty Boop
Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.
Inoculation Was Introduced to America By a Slave
Forgotten Figures in African American History
Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957) (Entrepreneur)
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Annie Turnbo Malone built a business empire and provided opportunities for thousands of people to learn new skills and earn a living through selling her hair products and cosmetics. She overcame childhood poverty, racial discrimination, and other challenges to succeed.
Cathay Williams (1844–1893) (Military Officer)
Cathay Williams was the first African American woman to enlist and serve in the U.S. Army.
Claudette Colvin (1939 - ) (Activist)
Claudette Colvin was an African American teenager who refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger—nine months before civil rights activist Rosa Parks became famous for doing the very same thing.
Dinah Washington (1924-1953) (Singer)
Dinah Washington was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s". Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, and traditional pop music, and gave herself the title of "Queen of the Blues"
Henry "Box" Brown (1815-1897)
Henry Box Brown was a 19th-century Virginia slave who escaped to freedom at the age of 33 by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate in 1849 to abolitionists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jack Johnson (1878-1946) (Boxer)
Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion of the world when he defeated Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908. With the victory, Johnson challenged the idea of the racial superiority of whites. He held the championship until 1915, beating numerous white challengers along the way.
John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) (Abolitionist and Politician)
John Mercer Langston (December 14, 1829 – November 15, 1897) was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician. An African American, he became the first dean of the law school at Howard University and helped create the department.
Lewis Latimer (1848-1928) (Inventor)
Lewis Howard Latimer was at the forefront of a technological revolution that changed the way Americans lived. During his life he worked with Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram Maxim, and Thomas Edison, He was an inventor, writer, and civil rights advocate during a period of great technological and social change in the nation.
Mary Ellen Pleasant (1814-1904) (Entrepreneur, Abolitionist & Philanthropist)
Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th-century American entrepreneur, financier, real estate magnate and abolitionist.
Robert Smalls (1835 - 1915) (Politician)
Smalls stirred the hopes of African Americans when he liberated the steamship Planter from the Confederacy in a daring escape off the South Carolina coast. He served heroically during the Civil War, and his political service at both the state and national levels solidified his role in American history as an important leader.