Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we put together a slideshow of some of the most influential African-Americans in US History, and where you can go to learn more about them.
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Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was a guitarist and singer-songwriter. He has been called the greatest electric guitar player of all time. Learn more about him at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Maya Angelou (born 1928) is a civil-rights activist, poet and autobiographer. Author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou was recently awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In October, 2010, 343 boxes of Angelou's correspondence, notes and personal papers were donated to the Schromberg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, and will be available to the public some time in 2012.

Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was an American trumpet player and singer. He played a pivotal role in the development of jazz. Visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, NY, to learn more.

Civil-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) remains the most iconic figure of the American civil-rights movement. He is known for his teachings of nonviolence, and a memorial to honor his life is currently under construction in Washington, DC. To learn more about Dr. King, visit the King Center in Atlanta, GA.

American boxer Muhammad Ali (born 1942) is considered one of the greatest heavyweight championship boxers of all time. Visit the Ali Center in Louisville, KY, to learn more about his remarkable life.

A television personality and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey (born 1954) has been called one of the most influential women in the world. On an episode of her show, she mentioned that she loved angel statuettes but couldn't find any black ones. Her viewers responded and mailed her so many, that she recently donated her collection to the Angel Museum in Beloit, WI.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), shown here with former President Lyndon Johnson, was the first African-American member of the Supreme Court. Visit the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, for a look at his personal notes and papers.

Michael Jordan (born 1963) is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, and is credited with helping popularize the NBA around the world. Visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, to learn more.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was an American civil-rights activist, famous for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, an important turning point in the civil-rights movement. Visit the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, to get a look at the bus Parks rode.

Malcolm X (1925-1965) was an influential Muslim minister, autobiographer, and human-rights activist. Learn more about Malcolm X by visiting New York City's Memorial/Education Center at the Shabazz Center, the site of his assassination in 1965.

Aretha Franklin (born 1942) is a singer, songwriter and pianist who has been called one of the greatest singers of all time and is widely regarded as the Queen of Soul. Learn more at the new exhibit, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power, opening in May at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was a former slave who taught himself to read and write and became an author, orator and abolitionist. To learn more, take a tour of Cedar Hill, Douglass' home in Washington, DC.

Hank Aaron (born 1934) is considered one of the best baseball players of all time. In 1973 he broke Babe Ruth's home-run record. Visit Turner Field in Atlanta, GA, to see the fence that Aaron hit his 715th home run over.

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an abolitionist famous for her many trips along the Underground Railroad. After escaping from slavery herself, she helped more than 70 others escape to freedom. Learn more about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH.

James Brown (1933-2005) was a singer and has been referred to as the Godfather of Soul. Visit the Augusta Museum of History in Augusta, GA, to learn more.

Miles Davis (1926-1991) was a composer, trumpeter and key figure in the history of jazz. You can pay your respects at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City.

Ray Charles (1930-2004) has been called one of the greatest artists of all time. He was one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company and is often called the pioneer of soul music. To learn more, visit the Ray Charles Memorial Library in Los Angeles, CA, when it opens to the public in 2011.

Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) was the American baseball player who broke the 'color line' in baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Learn more about Jackie Robinson at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, NY.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was born into slavery but escaped to become an abolitionist, women's-rights activist and orator. Visit Florence, MA, to see her memorial.

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