Black Stephen Estebanico (1500-?) First African explorer to set foot in the United States. He arrived with Spanish explorers in 1528 – 100 years before Plymouth Rock.
Abraham Pearse (? - 1673) A Black Pilgrim who appeared in the public records the Plymouth Colony from 1627, until his death in 1673.
Crispus Attucks (1723-1770) The first of five men killed in the American Revolution in 1770.
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) Astronomer and Mathematician. He helped plan the city of Washington, DC in 1791.
Prince Estabrook (1740 - 1830) First African American soldier.
Newport Gardner (1746 - 1826) First African American classical music composer.
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) First African American to publish a book of poetry, in 1773.
Frank (Francis) Johnson (1792 - 1844) First African American to publish sheet music.
Martin Delaney (1812 - 1885) Highest ranking black officer during the Civil War.
Henry "Box" Brown - (1815 - ?) Mailed himself to freedom in a box.
Harriet Tubman (1820 - 1913) Freedom fighter, nurse, scout and spy, she led hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Hiram Rhoades Revels (1822 - 1901) First African-American Senator.
Edmonia Lewis (1845 – 1911?) First African American sculptor.
Susan King Taylor (1848 - 1912) African American army nurse in U.S. history. Her memoirs Reminiscences of My Life in Camp were published in 1902...a Moment to Remember. It is the first and only written record of active black nurses during the Civil War.
Granville T. Woods (1856 – 1910) African American inventor known as the “Black Edison.” He improved the safety of our nation’s railroads and held the first patent for the steam engine.
Booker T. Washington (1856 - 1915) Founded the Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama. The first African American to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856 - 1931) Performed the first open heart surgery on July 10, 1893.
Ida Wells-Barnett (1862 - 1931) Journalist, abolitionist, lecturer, she was one of the founders of the NAACP and established the first black women's suffrage club.
George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) Scientist, botanist and educator. He created 300 products from the peanut.
Matthew Alexander Henson (1866 - 1955) First person to stand at the top of the world.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 - 1950) Father of Black History. He founded the first Negro History Week in February, 1926.
Bessie Coleman (1892 - 1926) First African American women to obtain an international Pilot’s license in 1920. Known as “Brave Bessie”, she flew as a stunt pilot in shows all over the country.
Paul Revere Williams (1894 -1980) First African American architect elected to the American Institute of Architects. Known as “architect to the stars,” he designed homes for Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and others.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899 - 1975) Musician, bandleader and composer. However, from the early 1940s, he was also active in the emerging civil rights movement.
Blanche Calloway (1902 - 1973) The first African American female to lead an all male-band. She was the older sister of musician Cab Calloway.
Gordon Parks, Sr. (1912 - ) Photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer. He was the first African American to direct a major Hollywood film "The Learning Tree," in 1969.
Dorrie Miller (1919 - 1943) The first hero of World War II at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Patricia Roberts Harris (1924 - 1985) The first African American woman cabinet member. In 1977, she was Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
B.B. King (1925 - ) "King of the Blues." B.B. King is one the most successful blues men to emerge from the Memphis scene.
Maya Angelou (1928 - ) The first African American woman to produce a screenplay "Georgia, Georgia" in 1971. In 1993, she was the first African American to compose and read a poem at a Presidential Inauguration.