The fight for racial equality in America was not an easy road. Throughout the decades, exceptional African Americans stepped up to organize a movement that transformed the face of America and promoted equal rights for all people. Black leaders of today continue the work of those who paved the way with their lives.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A man of unshakable faith, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tirelessly fought to secure racial equality of all people. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which helped to ignite the Civil Rights Movement, as discussed on BiographyOnline.com. In 1962, over 250,000 marchers watched as he delivered his inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Medgar Evers served as the first NAACP state field representative in the state of Mississippi. In his position, he stood in the face of violence and opposition to organize voter registration drives, as explained on Biography.com. He was one of the state’s most accomplished civil rights leaders before he was gunned down in the driveway of his home. Evers received a hero’s burial in the Arlington National Cemetery.
After being denied entrance to the University of Maryland Law School because of his race, Thurgood Marshall defied the odds by becoming the first African-American Justice to the United States Supreme Court, according to GreatBlackHeroes.com. Prior to his appointment, he worked as a lead counsel with the NAACP, where he argued the Brown vs. Board of Education case in front of the Supreme Court. The Court’s decision led to the desegregation of public schools.
Even before taking her famous seat on the bus, Rosa Parks was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She worked beside her husband to organize meetings and raise funds for the NAACP. On December 1, 1955, she took a seat in the front of the negro section on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. As the bus filled with white passengers, the driver demanded that she give her seat to one of them. Parks refused and was arrested for violation of the state’s segregation law. Her actions on that day ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott.