Who are the black history heroes?

Answered by Willie Powers

Black history heroes are individuals who have made significant contributions to society and have paved the way for future generations. These heroes have overcome adversity and fought for equality and justice, leaving a lasting impact on the world. Here are five black history heroes that every student should know:

1. Martin Luther King Jr.: Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps one of the most well-known figures in black history. He was a prominent leader in the civil rights movement and fought for racial equality in the United States. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the March on Washington in 1963, called for an end to segregation and discrimination. His nonviolent approach to activism inspired millions and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

2. Matthew Henson: Matthew Henson was an African American explorer who played a crucial role in the discovery of the North Pole. He accompanied Robert Peary on several expeditions to the Arctic and was an expert navigator and dog sled driver. Despite facing racial discrimination, Henson’s skills and determination led to his involvement in the historic expedition that reached the North Pole in 1909. Henson’s achievements opened doors for future generations of black explorers and challenged the prevailing stereotypes of the time.

3. Barbara Johns: Barbara Johns was a courageous teenager who played a pivotal role in the fight against segregated education. At the age of 16, she led a student strike at her all-black high school in Farmville, Virginia, to protest the unequal and inadequate facilities. This strike eventually became part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, which led to the desegregation of public schools in the United States. Johns’ bravery and determination demonstrated that anyone, regardless of age, can make a difference and contribute to positive change.

4. Katherine Johnson: Katherine Johnson was a brilliant mathematician whose calculations were instrumental in the success of the early U.S. space missions. Despite facing both racial and gender discrimination, Johnson’s calculations for NASA’s Mercury program were crucial in ensuring the safety and accuracy of space travel. Her work earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues, and she played a significant role in breaking down barriers for women and people of color in STEM fields. Johnson’s story was popularized in the movie “Hidden Figures,” bringing her contributions to the forefront and inspiring future generations.

5. Claudette Colvin: Claudette Colvin was a courageous teenager who, before Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This act of defiance occurred nine months prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and sparked a legal challenge to segregation on buses. Despite facing backlash and threats, Colvin’s bravery and determination challenged the status quo and contributed to the eventual desegregation of public transportation. Her actions paved the way for the civil rights movement and demonstrated the power of individual resistance against injustice.

These black history heroes serve as powerful examples of resilience, courage, and determination. Their contributions to society have had a lasting impact, and their stories continue to inspire and empower future generations. By learning about these heroes, students can gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the black community and the importance of fighting for justice and equality for all.