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African American politicians/Leaders -part 1







African Americans have displayed great leadership abilities throughout history.  Most have showed their leadership abilities by forging the way for others. Many have played key leadership roles such as inventors, educators and humanitarians. Much of the comforts that we enjoy today are because of them.   Historians have continuously distorted and rewritten many of the accomplishments of great African Americans.  We must remember our great heritage and not let it be taken for granted.  No one in history has been through struggles such as the African American race.  History books teach us about bits and pieces of just a few individual African American leaders.  In reality there were many individuals that played key roles serving both in the struggle for equality and the building of this country.



There was a time when we as a people took pride in our accomplishments. African Americans were known as a people of great character.  Early on in our history we found that hard work alone would not get our people ahead.  We excelled not by choice but out of a necessity.  Much of the struggle was done to keep the family unit together.  The generations after slavery worked very hard to gain equality. Today we are still fighting this same fight.  We knew in order to survive we must perform at a level above our white counterpart.  There was little room for error and the slightest bit of imperfection was counted a complete failure. We began to expect a high level of performance from one another.  In most cases we worked twice as hard as our counterparts and many times we still were denied our rights.  This work ethic of high expectation became our blueprint to success for several generations.  In many cases it developed strong character in many great African Americans.  Past leadership skills taught our people to work through the obstacles of racism and inequality.  This determination helped to overcome any adversity.  Many dedicated their life’s work to what they believed.  They proudly gave their lives to serving humanity.  They were not driven by fame but by the need to change the situation for themselves and for others.  Very few of our past African American leaders ever received their just reward. 


Leaders such as:


Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist

Andrew Young, Former Congressman & Mayor ofAtlanta Georgia

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, First African American Astronaut

Maxine Waters, Congresswoman

Medgar Evers, Civil Rights Activist

Ralph Abernathy, Civil Rights Activist


Just to name a few.  There were some not so well known leaders such as:


Tom Bradley –Mayor ofLos Angeles(served 4 terms form 1963-1973

Marian Anderson – Opera Singer (First African American named to the Metropolitan Opera Company

Benjamin Davis – first African General

Paul LawrenceDunbar-Poet and Novelist

Althea Gibson- Famous tennis player



Our leaders paved the way for us to follow in their footsteps.  Because of their struggle, the youth of today have more opportunities then ever but with these opportunities there comes responsibility.  We must realize that without the understanding of purpose and direction our youth are being set up to fail. This may not be the intention but that is reality.  If we do not take a renewed interest in our youth we will surely lose them. To forge ahead as a people we must remember where we came from the struggle as well as the accomplishments.  


Our youth are being bombarded everyday by images that are mostly negative.  These images offer no significant value to their lives.  How can society expect misguided youth to be the future leaders?  Many young people are not seeing the right images to pattern after.  This has created a break down of the perception of positive leadership.  It is not that there are no positive strong leaders in our Black communities but our young people have the wrong image of a real positive leader.  The media has led them to believe that celebrities are to be their leaders.  For some young people the only role models are in the media.  This is not to discredit the few celebrities that are making a difference in the world.  Those few celebrities only account for a handful of all the celebrities that are paraded in front of our youth daily.  We must not let our youth be deceived any longer.  They are being led astray by a false since of reality.  It is up to our African American communities to uplift positive role models that are leading in a positive way.  It is important that we instill purpose and direction in the youth of today. 


Past generations have shown the world that we as a people cannot be eradicated off this earth. Our ability to survive decades of struggling has made us a strong people. We must take conscious effort to help prepare this next generation to go to another level.  We must go back to building character and morals in our youth.  It is imperative that we teach our young people that a strong character builds a strong person.  Building a strong character is more important than getting a good education and having a good work ethic.  After all, we can’t expect them to succeed if they are unprepared.  We can’t bypass the foundation of building good character.     Let us concentrate on raising well-adjusted young people.  Our communities, our society and our world will all benefit. As we celebrate African American heritage let’s not forget the things that made us who we are. 


SoulTic Staff Writer