Asante's 100 Greatest African-Americans

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This freespace is part of the US Black Heritage Project. It is a place to organize and gather information relating to those individuals included in Temple University professor Molefi Kete Asante's list (and book) of the 100 Greatest African-Americans. This list was compiled in 2002. To establish this list, Asante used these five factors:

  • "significance in the general progress of African-Americans toward full equality in the American social and political system"
  • "self-sacrifice and a willingness to take great risks for the collective good"
  • "unusual will and determination in the face of great danger and against the most stubborn odds"
  • "a consistent posture toward raising the social, cultural and economic status of African Americans"
  • "personal achievement that reveals the best qualities of the African American people" [1]

The list is presented in alphabetical order and is linked to each individual's WikipediA page and/or WikiTree profile. The purpose of this list is as a starting point in the creation of WikiTree profiles where there are none, or to improve existing profiles. The profiles on this page are also Notables. These profiles should include other sources in addition to WikipediA. Every effort should be made to connect these profiles to the "main tree" through research and the creation of additional, applicable profiles. There are actually 101 people on the list.

100 Greatest African Americans

Wikipedia WikiTree Profile Review Connected Volunteer
Hank Aaron (1934-) Hank Aaron No Yes
Ira Aldridge (1807-1867) Ira Frederick Aldridge (stage actor/playwright) No Yes
Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) Cassius Marcellus (Clay) Ali (athlete) No Yes
Richard Allen (Bishop) (1760-1831) Bishop Richard Allen (minister/educator/writer) No No
Marian Anderson (1897-1993) Marian Anderson (opera singer) No Yes
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) Marguerite Ann Angelou (poet/ author) Yes YesComplete
Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) Arthur Ashe (athlete/AIDS activist) No Yes
Crispus Attucks (1723-1770) Crispus Attucks (killed Boston Massacre) No No
James Baldwin (1924-1987) James Arthur Baldwin (novelist/social critic) No Yes
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) Benjamin Banneker (author/naturalist/farmer) Yes YesComplete
Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) Amiri Baraka (poet) No No
Romare Bearden (1911-1988) Romare Bearden (artist) No Yes
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) Mary Jane (McLeod) Bethune (Educator/stateswoman) No Yes
Guion Bluford (1942-) Guion Bluford (first African American in space) No Yes
Arna Bontemps (1902-1973) Arna Bontemps (poet) No Yes
Edward W. Brooke (1919-2015) Edward William Brooke (first African-American popularly elected to the US Senate) No Yes
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) Gwendolyn Brooks (poet/teacher) No Yes
Blanche K. Bruce (1841-1898) Blanche Kelso Bruce (first full term black senator) No Yes
Ralph Bunche (1903/4-1971) Ralph Bunche (first African-American Nobel Peace Prize) No Yes
George Washington Carver (1860s-1943) George Washington Carver (botanist/inventor) No No
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) Shirley Chisholm (first black woman elected to US Congress/first black candidate from a major party for President) No No
Kenneth B. Clark (1914-2005) Kenneth B. Clark (psychologist/civil rights activist) No No
John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998) John Henrik Clarke (historian/pioneer African studies) No No
John Coltrane (1926-1967) John William Coltrane (jazz musician/composer) No Yes
Claudette Colvin (1939-) Claudette Colvin (living) No No
Bill Cosby (1937-) William Henry Cosby, Jr. (living) No Yes
Alexander Crummell (1819-1898) Alexander Crummell (minister/African nationalist) No No
Countee Cullen (1903-1946) Countee Cullen (poet/novelist/playwright) No Yes
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (1912-2002) Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (first African-American Air Force General/Commander Tuskegee Airmen) No Yes
Martin R. Delany (1812-1885) Martin Delany *abolitionist/journalist/physician) No No
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) Frederick Augustus Washington Douglass (abolitionist/statesman) No Yes
Charles Drew (1904-1950) Charles Richard Drew (physician/surgeon) No Yes
W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) William Edward Burghardt DuBois (historian/civil rights activist) No Yes
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) Paul Laurence Dunbar (poet/novelist/playwright) No Yes
Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) Katherine Dunham (dancer/choreographer) No Yes
Duke Ellington (1899-1974) Edward Kennedy Ellington (jazz mucician) Yes YesComplete
James Forten (1766-1842) James Forten (abolitionist/wealthy businessman) No Yes
John Hope Franklin (1915-2009) John Hope Franklin (historian/president Phi Beta Kappa) No Yes
Henry Highland Garnet (1815-1882) Henry Highland Garnet (Abolitionist) No Yes
Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. (leader of Pan-Africanism) No No
Prince Hall (1735/8-1807) Prince Hall (abolitionist) No No
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) Fannie Hamer (voting/civil right advocate) No No
Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (playwright) No No
Dorothy Height (1912-2010) Dorothy Height (Civil and Women's Rights Activist) No Yes
Matthew Henson (1866-1955) Matthew Henson (1st African-American Arctic explorer) No No
Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950) Charles Hamilton Houston (American Civil Rights Lawyer) No Yes
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) Langston Hughes (Poet, dramatist) No Yes
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) Zora Neale Hurston (Anthropologist, novelist) No Yes
Jesse Jackson (1941-) Jesse Jackson (living) political activist No No
Mae Jemison (1956-) Mae Jemison (living) astronaut No No
Jack Johnson (1878-1946) Jack Johnson (1st African-American WORLD Heavyweight Boxing Champion) No Yes
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) James Weldon Johnson (author, lawyer, activist) No Yes
John H. Johnson (1918-2005) John Harold Johnson (business man, publisher) No No
Percy Julian (1899-1975) Percy Lavon Julian (chemist) No Yes
Ernest Just (1883-1941) Dr. Ernest Everett Just (biologist, science writer) No Yes
Maulana Karenga (1941-) Maulana Karenga (living) creator of the pan-African and Kwanzaa No No
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) Michael Luther King, Jr. (minister/civil rights leader) No Yes
Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) Edmonia Lewis (sculptor) No No
Alain Locke (1885-1954) Alain LeRoy Locke (writer, educator) No No
Joe Louis (1914-1981) Joseph Louis Barrow (first African-American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States) No Yes
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) Thurgood Marshall (1st African-American Supreme Court Justice) No Yes
Benjamin Mays (1894-1984) Benjamin Elijah Mays (civil rights activist) No Yes
Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) Elijah McCoy (engineer, inventor) No No
Claude McKay (1889-1948) Festus Claudius McKay (writer, poet) No No
Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) Oscar (Michaux) Micheaux (director, author) No No
Dorie Miller (1919-1943) Doris Miller (1st African-American awarded Navy Cross [Pearl Harbor]) No Yes
Garrett Morgan (1877-1963) Garrett Augustus Morgan (inventor, entrepreneur) No Yes
Toni Morrison (1931-2019) Toni (Wofford) Morrison (writer) No Yes
Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) Elijah (Poole) Muhammad (leader of Nation of Islam) No No
Jesse Owens (1913-1980) James Cleveland Owens (4 times Olympic Gold Medalist) No Yes
Rosa Parks - (1913-2005) Rosa Louise Parks (civil rights activist) No Yes
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908-1972) Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1st African American from NY elected to Congress) No No
Colin Powell (1937-) Colin Powell (Secretary of State, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General) (living) No Yes
A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979) Asa Philip Randolph (civil rights activist, labor activist) No No
Hiram Revels (1827-1901) Hiram Rhodes Revels (1st African-American and 1st Native-American elected to Congress) No Yes
Paul Robeson (1898-1976) Paul Leroy Robeson (singer, actor, social activist) No Yes
Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) Jack Roosevelt Robinson (broke the baseball color barrier) No Yes
John Russwurm (1799-?) John Brown Russwurm (publisher, journalist) No Yes
Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938) Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (historian, writer, activist) No No
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton (1809-1892) Benjamin Singleton (activist, historian) No No
Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) Mary (Church) Terrell (1st African-American woman to earn a college degree) No YesSelvaggio-84
William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) William Monroe Trotter (one of the founders of the NAACP) No Yes
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) [Isabella Baumfree] Isabella (Sojourner) Truth (abolistionist, women's activist) No No
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) Araminta Tubman (abolitionist) No Yes
Kwame Ture (1941-1998) [Stokely Carmichael] Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) (civil rights activist) No Yes
Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915) Henry McNeal Turner (1st African-American Chaplain - 1st USCT) No Yes
Nat Turner (1800-1831) Nathaniel Turner (led slave rebellion in VA) No No
David Walker (1796-1830) David Walker (abolitionist, writer) No No
Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919) [Sarah Breedlove] Sarah Breedlove (entrepreneur) No Yes
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) Booker Taliaferro Washington (African-American leader and advisor to US Presidents) No Yes
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (civil and women's rights activist) No Yes
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) Phillis Wheatley (1st published African-American female poet) No No
Walter F. White (1893-1955) Walter Francis White (novelist, activist, NAACP) No Yes
Roy Wilkins (1901-1981) Roy Wilkins (civil rights activist, NAACP) No Yes
Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931) Daniel Hale Williams (African-American surgeon) No No
August Wilson (1945-2005) Frederick August Wilson (author, playwright) No No
Oprah Winfrey (1954-) Oprah Winfrey (living) No No
Tiger Woods (1975-) Tiger Woods (living) No No
Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) Carter Godwin Woodson (launched Negro History Week the precursor of Black History Month) No No
Richard Wright (1908-1960) Richard Wright (African-American novelist, writer, poet, essayist) No No
Malcolm X (1925-1965) Malcolm Little (Malcolm X) (minister, activist) No Yes


  1. Wikipedia contributors. "100 Greatest African Americans." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Jan. 2018. Web. 17 Jan. 2018.

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Hello! I am interested in working on Sarah Breedlove (Madam C.J. Walker). I have a small tree for her that I started on Ancestry, just out of curiosity, that has info I can start with. I'm very new to WikiTree, so any guidance is appreciated. Thank You! -Tiffany

P.S. What is the best way to bookmark this page in WikiTree?

posted by Tiffany Thompson