In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, The Grio released its list of the top 25 most influential Black leaders of all time. Many times the only people we ever learn about in school (or hear about in the media) are MLK, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. However, a plethora of unsung heroes have been essential to our struggle and freedom as a people.

The list, which includes people in the arts, politics, and sports, features such notable icons as James Baldwin, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, and President Obama. However, the list also includes as a few heroes that rarely garner their due respect such as A. Phillip Randolph, Charles Hamilton Houston, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ida B. Wells.

While one list cannot possibly include all of the names of those who have dedicated their lives to making ours better, The Grio’s list is a great reminder to dig into our history and pay homage to those who have given their all in the name of freedom.

Check out The Grio’s complete list and tell us who you think should have made the cut!

1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. President Barack Obama
3. WEB DuBois
4. Thurgood Marshall
5. Malcolm X
6. Fredrick Douglass
7. Harriet Tubman
8. Rosa Parks
9. Ida B. Wells-Barnett
10.  Ella Baker
11. Booker T. Washington
12. Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
13. James Baldwin
14. Dred Scott
15. Paul Robeson
16. A. Phillip Randolph
17. Fannie Lou Hamer
18. Marcus Garvey
19. Rev. Jesse Jackson
20. John H. Johnson
21. Mary McLeod Bethune
22. Carter G. Woodson
23. Nat Turner
24. Harry Belafonte (three way tie)
24. Charles Hamilton Houston (three way tie)
24. Langston Hughes (three way tie)

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  • johnny

    I think Minister Louis Farrakhan should be on that list. The man has only been putting his life on the line for Black folk for 55 years.