Referred to as American Negros in the past, African Americans are the descendants of African people who were brought to America by Europeans as slaves. It is believed that the first Africans, who landed on the land of North America, were brought to Jamestown in 1619. America has 250 year history of slavery which brought many Africans to this new land. From 1619 to 1865, many Africans were kept as slaves until these African Americans started to fight for their freedom. In the 18th century some people started a movement to free the slaves known as Abolition movement. The struggle continued through the 19th century until the American government passed equal rights to all the people including slaves.
Since the abolition of slavery in America, African-Americans rose from the filth and have contributed a lot in various sectors for the development of their country i.e. the United States of America. Today, you can easily find numerous famous African Americans in diverse fields. Whether it is the introduction of hip-hop culture or their contribution in the American Revolutionary War, African-Americans have proved themselves and their love for America. There have been many non-white political leaders who have played an important role in American independence. One fine example of the development of African-American people over the ages is the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of United States of America.
There have been various other famous African-Americans whose contribution to America has been admired by people. Some of these African-American people are:
Born on August 4, 1961: Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America and first non-white president as well. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother Stanley Ann Dunham was a white lady who married Barack Obama Sr., a student from Kenya who was a foreign student on scholarship in the University of Hawaii. Barack Graduated from Harvard Law School and joined as the director of Developing Communities Project in Chicago. His political career started in 1996 when he was elected to the Illinois Senate. In 2003, Obama organized a mass rally against George W Bush for his invasion of Iraq. In 2007 Obama gave his name for president elections and on August 2008, he was elected as the President of the Unites States of America.
Born on December 30, 1975: Tiger Woods is the most successful American professional golfer who is famous all over the world. Born in Cypress, California, Tiger has a very distinct historical background with an ancestry of African-American and Thailand. His father is an African-American and his mother is a mix of Thai, Chinese and Dutch ancestry. He joined the Stanford University under a golf scholarship. In 1996, Tiger became a professional golf player and signed endorsement deals with two big brand names Nike and Titleist. In 1997, he won his first golf tournament, The Masters and became the youngest golf player to do so. Since then he has been consistent in his game and has represented America in various national and international golf tournaments. He also has been PGA player of the year in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and in 2013.
Born on April 16, 1947: The retired professional basketball player was raised in New York and attended Power Memorial Academy. In 1966 he went to UCLA and joined his college basketball team. He joined NBA Draft in 1969 which was the starting of his professional career. After leaving NBA Draft Jabbar joined Los Angeles Lakers and had a successful basketball season. In 1989, Jabbar took retirement from NBA. In 2005 he joined as the coach for Lakers an since then he has been training their team.
Born on January 17, 1942: Popularly famous as The Greatest, The People’s Champion and The Louisville Lip, Ali is one of the most famous boxers of the world. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., he later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His professional boxing career started in 1960 when he started fighting as a boxer in tournaments. He established a new record of 15 wins in a row in the same year by knocking out every boxer he fought with. However in 1963 he faced his first biggest defeat from Sony Banks and Cooper. In 1964, he became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion. This was the time when he converted to a Muslim and faced a lot of critics. He was refused to be drafted to army services later and his boxing license was also suspended. He also faced a five year imprisonment for draft evasion. Thus from 1967 to 1970, Ali did not fight a match. However in August 1970, Ali was given back his license and fought his first comeback fight in October 1970.In December 1981, Ali fought his last fight and took retirement.
July 10, 1943 to February 6, 1993: Arthur Ashe was an American professional and world number one tennis player. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Ashe was the first black player to be selected in the United States Davis Cup team. He started his career in 1970 as a professional tennis player. He won three Grand Slam titles in his career and took retirement in 1980. Ashe was also awarded with the Presidential Medal for Freedom posthumously. He died of AIDS which he got during a heart bypass surgery.
Born on November 8, 1952: Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Alfre was an African-American actress. She graduated from Boston University in Drama and became an actress. She has been nominated for Emmy Awards eighteen times out of which she won four. She also has been nominated for Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award and Academy Award. Woodard has appeared in various films and television shows including True Blood.
February 27, 1897 to April 8, 1993: Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marian was an African-American singer. Marian applied for Philadelphia Music Academy but was turned away because she was black. Marian took part in a singing competition and won first prize in 1925. In the same year she performed in a concert and became famous among singers and music critics. In 1930, Marian got a chance to do a Europe tour and gained immense fame all around Europe. In 1939 she performed in the Lincoln Memorial Concert and during World War II she entertained troops in hospitals and bases. At the age of 96 she took her last breath.
Born on February 5, 1934: Born in Mobile, Alabama, Hank is a famous African-American baseball player. He started his professional career in 1954 as a right fielder in Major League Baseball. He was ranked fifth amongst 100 greatest baseball players by The Sporting News. He also played in minor baseball league and Negro American League before starting his professional career. He was an All-Star from 1955 to 1975. On October 3, 1976, Hank appeared in his last game against Milwaukee Braves. Hank was awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
August 4, 1901 to July 6, 1971: Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Louis was the famous African-American singer and Jazz trumpeter. He went to Fisk School for Boys where he got into music. After dropping out from school Louis joined a group of boys and started singing on streets for money. This was the time when he learn trumpet. By 1920’s Louis had gained fame and was performing in various shows. He was highly influenced by Jazz music and his music still works as an inspiration for various Jazz lovers. Armstrong died of a heart attack at the age of 69. However, still people love for his charming stage appearance and colorful character.
Born on March 1, 1927: Born in Harlem, New York, Harry is an African-American song writer, actor and singer. He went to George Washington High School and joined navy during World War II. After leaving navy in 1940s, he joined The New High School where he took acting classes. He also started his music career during this time by singing at clubs of New York and collecting money for his drama classes. In 1952 he signed his first music contract with RCA Victor. By 1964, Harry spent a hard time competing with new bands like The Beatles and various other star singers. He also has appeared in many films. His first film was released in 1953. Harry has also actively participated in various movements and is an active social worker.
Born on October 18, 1926: Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry is the famous American guitarist, singer and song writer. His early years were full of misery and he also faced imprisonment for an armed robbery. He was interested in music sine his childhood and in 1953 he got influenced by various guitar players. Berry who was already working with various bands got his first chance by performing with Johnnie Johnson’s trio. By 1955 Berry gained popularity and was travelling all across America and performing in various shows. He gave new heights to the Rock and Roll music and is a living legend of the American music industry.
September 23, 1930 to June 10, 2004: Born in Albany, Georgia, Ray was a famous American composer, singer and song writer. Ray was blind and started losing his sight at an early age of five. Thus, he was admitted to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind where he learnt classical music. Charles left school and started playing piano for various bands. In 1950, while playing in a Miami hotel Ray met Henry Stone who offered him his first recording contract. In 1952 Ray joined Atlantic Records and his music career went on new heights. In 1959 Ray signed contract with ABC-Paramount Records and got his first Grammy Award. However, his career started falling after he got arrested on a narcotics charge third time. At the age of 73, Ray died due to liver failure.
Nat King Cole:
March 17, 1919 to February 15, 1965: Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Cole was another black American musician, singer and composer. Cole started performing as a singer in his band in 1930s. The band became famous and was seen playing in various clubs. In 1943, the band signed a contract with Capitol Records. By 1956, Cole appeared as a leading jazz pianist and started performing in various concerts. In 1956, he started hosting his own TV show named The Nat King Cole Show. Cole also performed in many sitcoms, short films and television shows. He was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer.