History confirms that Civil Rights Movement (be it any part of the world) would be nothing without the brave women and men who fought their way out for equal rights and liberties. These acclaimed activists and leaders dedicated their lives to fight for civil rights of the people. They devoted their lives to end slavery, segregation and unfair treatment to men and women. It would never be enough to thank these brave leaders, but here we take an initiative to help all of us learn more about the top 10 activists of Civil Rights Movement around the world.
10. Cesar Chavez
Farm worker and civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez along with Dolores Huerta founded the National Farm Workers Association aka United Farm Workers Union. A Mexican American, Cesar Chevez was known for his support for workers and farmers. He was also well known for his amazing public-relations approach and nonviolent tactics to fight for his rights. Chavez became an historical icon and the best known Latino American civil rights activists.
9. Mary McLeod Bethune
Known vastly for starting a school for African-American children in Daytona Beach, Florida, which eventually became Bethune-Cookman University, Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator and civil rights leader. Bethune was active in women clubs and got national recognition. She became advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and shared concern for black people with Roosevelt and communicated his messages with the black community.
8. Elijah Muhammad
The African American religious leader Elijah Muhammad was a civil rights movement activist and leader of the mostly black political religious group – The nation of Islam. Elijah’s speeches expressed the idea that blacks were the first to rule the world and the whites tricked them from the rule and oppressed them. The nation of Islam believed the black slaves were originally Muslims and it urged Africans to revert to Islam to preserve the heritage.
7. Susan B. Anthony
A very prominent American civil rights activist, Susan Anthony played a major role in women’s rights movement to introduce women’s suffrage into the United States in the 19th century. She travelled around America and Europe delivering speeches in favor of women rights and steadily became one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, fighting her way devotedly for women rights.
6. Malcolm X
With Elijah Muhammad as his mentor, Malcolm X was a prominent African-American Muslim minister and civil rights activist who advocated the rights of the black. Detractors may accuse him of preaching racism and inflicting violence with statements of black supremacy, but he constantly repeated the sufferings meted out by the whites against the blacks. “X” in Malcolm’s name symbolizes rejection of the slave name. No matter how provoking his preaching may be, but whites couldn’t ignore the harsh realities he spoke.
5. Asa Philip Randolph
Asa Philip Randolph was a leader and activist in the African-American civil rights movement. He was also a member of the American labor movement and the socialist political parties. He led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porter – the first Black labor union. Randolph was the forerunner in the March on Washington Movement, which helped convince President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue orders to ban discrimination in defense industries and later managed to Pressurize President Harry Truman to issue orders to end segregation in armed forces.
4. Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Being an advocate (before becoming the judge), Thurgood created a record of arguing most cases in the US Supreme Court. He is also known for his victory in the Brown vs. Board of Education case wherein the court passed laws advocating establishment of separate schools for black and white students unconstitutional.
3. The Little Rock Nine
Best known for their resilience against racial segregation, The Little Rock Nine not only challenged but defeated the racialist system. The Little Rock Nine was a group of first black teenage students to attend the Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. Despite Brown vs. Board of Education, which prophesied racial discrimination against black student in school unconstitutional, white student and adults discriminated the black students. The Little Rock Nine faced all criticism and went on the graduate from the Central High School.
2. Rosa Parks
Acclaimed as the “first lady of civil rights” and the “mother of the freedom movement” by the US Congress, Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights activist. Her refusal to offer a white passenger a seat in the bus came to be known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott which became an important symbol of modern civil rights movement. Her resistance against racial segregation made her an international icon. After death, Rosa Parks became only the first woman and second non-US government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C.
1. Martin Luther King Jr.
Known best for his advancement of civil rights with non-violent civil disobedience movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African-American clergyman at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. His way as the most famous civil rights movement activist started with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In his career he delivered powerful speeches promoting desegregation and peace. King’s most famous speech is “I have a Dream” delivered during the March on Washington. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968.
(If this Top 10 isn’t appearing justifiable or you think that certain names are missing then we welcome you to drop your own list in the comment section)