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To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve put together a slideshow of some important people in Black History. You can learn more about them at Britannica School!

Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)

Wheatley was kidnapped from Africa and enslaved when she was a child. She became the first Black American to write a book when her poetry was published in 1773.

Frederick Douglass (1817 or 1818–1895)

Douglass was enslaved until he escaped in 1838. He went on to write and make speeches about his experiences as an enslaved person. He worked to end slavery.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831–1895)

Crumpler was the first Black woman doctor in the United States. She helped many Black Americans receive medical care. She also wrote a book about medicine and health care. There are no known photos of Crumpler.

Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993)

Marshall was the first Black justice (judge) on the U.S. Supreme Court, the most powerful court in the United States. He spent his career working for equal rights for Black Americans.

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (1912–2002)

Davis was commander of a group of talented military pilots called the Tuskegee Airmen. He fought in World War II. Davis also helped desegregate the U.S. military so soldiers of all races would serve together.

Claudette Colvin (born in 1939).

In 1955, when Colvin was 15, she would not give up her bus seat to a white person. This was against the law, and Colvin was arrested. Colvin worked to change laws that allowed Black people to be treated unfairly.

To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve put together a list of some amazing people you might not have heard about. You can learn more about them at Britannica School!

Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831–1895).

The first Black woman doctor in the United States, Crumpler helped expand access to medical care for Black Americans. She also wrote A Book of Medical Discourses, one of the first medical books to be authored by a Black American.  There are no known photos of Crumpler.

Cathay Williams (1844–1893)

Enslaved at birth, Williams volunteered to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, hiding the fact that she was a woman. She was part of a legendary Black regiment called the Buffalo Soldiers.

Lewis Latimer (1848–1928)

After serving in the Union Army in the Civil War, Latimer became an important inventor. Among other things, he made improvements to the electric light bulb, devising the threaded socket that allows bulbs to be screwed into fixtures. Latimer was also a poet and musician.

Matthew Alexander Henson (1866–1955)

Henson was an explorer who accompanied explorer Robert Peary on many of his expeditions to the Arctic. Although Henson played a key role in these expeditions, Peary (who was white) received the credit.

Dick Gregory (1932–2017)

Gregory became famous as a stand-up comedian but was also an activist. In the 1960s, he used his fame to draw attention to the civil rights movement and he worked commentary about racism and poverty into his stand-up routines.

Tarana Burke (born in 1973)

Business leader and activist Tarana Burke launched the Me Too movement in the early 21st century to raise awareness about sexual violence and harassment. The movement spread worldwide in 2017 after allegations of misconduct by key public figures came to the surface. Burke has also worked to increase opportunities for underserved youth and in support of voting rights.