1. Rosa ParksSource:Getty
Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus led to an organized boycott and the city’s removal of bus segregation. Rosa was far more radical than she has been portrayed historically. Parks sparked the Montgomery Movement, worked years with the NAACP, and also was an investigator for the brutal rape of Recy Taylor. She was a life-long activist for Civil Rights.
2. Ella BakerSource:Getty
Ella Baker is one of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century. Time Magazine considers Baker “perhaps the most influential woman in the Civil Right Movement.” Baker worked with the NAACP, helped organize Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
3. Angela DavisSource:Getty
Angela Davis is an American political activist, academic, and author who advocates for gender equity, prison reform, and alliances across color lines. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.
4. Dorothy HeightSource:Getty
Dorothy Irene Height was an American administrator and educator who worked as a civil rights and women’s rights activist. Height’s specifically focused on improving the circumstances and opportunities for African-American women including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness. She was the President of the National Council of Negro Women and held numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
5. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
Though best known as the wife of 1960s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) established a distinguished career in activism in her own right. Working side-by-side with her husband throughout the 1950s and 1960s, King took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and worked to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Among many roles, she also worked as a public mediator and as a liaison for peace and justice organizations.
6. Harriet TubmanSource:Getty
Harriet Tubman is one of the most prominent figures in history that became a leading abolitionist and escaped slavery. Tubman was responsible for rescuing around 300 former slaves to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad. Tubman also helped the Union Army during the war as a spy.
7. Fannie Lou HarmerSource:Getty
Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights activist who helped African Americans register to vote and who co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Her manner and strong belief in the Biblical righteousness of her cause gained her a reputation as an electrifying speaker and constant activist of civil rights.Hamer also worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which fought racial segregation and injustice in the South.
8. Betty ShabazzSource:Getty
Betty Shabazz was an American educator and civil rights activist, who is best known as the wife of African-American nationalist leader Malcolm X. After her husband’s assassination in 1965, Shabazz went on to a career in university administration and activism. She focused on topics such as civil rights and racial tolerance.
9. Ida Bell Wells-BarnettSource:Getty
9. Ida B. Wells dedicated her life to ending horrible injustices against African-Americans. Wells traveled speaking and writing about civil rights issues, unfair laws, social injustice and crimes against blacks. She was an instrumental activist in the fight against lynching. Wells was involved in the creation of several organizations encouraging the advancement of women and minorities.
10. Sojourner TruthSource:Getty
Soujourner Truth was a former slave, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate. She was bought and sold four times and spent the first twenty-nine years of her life as a slave. She never learned to read or write, but a friend helped her publish her own narrative that gained her national recognition. She joined religious revivals in the early 19th century and became a powerful and charismatic speaker. Truth lobbied against segregation laws and played a major role in desegregating streetcars. She also traveled many states in support of the Union encouraged young men to join when the Civil War started.
11. Daisy Bates Receiving An AwardSource:Getty
Daisy Bates was a journalist who fought for civil rights and social reform. She was President of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and played a crucial role in helping desegregate schools. Bates and her husband journalist Christopher Bates also operated a weekly African-American newspaper.
12. Mary Church TerrellSource:Getty
Mary Church Terrell is known for her resistance of racial segregation and support of women’s suffrage. She was one of the first African American women to be awarded a college degree and the first black woman in the U.S. appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education. She also became the first president of the National Association of Colored Women and founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.