Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, in Dayton, Ohio. He was one of the most prolific African American writers his time, despite having his life cut short by illness.
Wilma Glodean Rudolph was born on June 23, 1940, in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee. Dubbed “The Fastest Woman in History,” she became the first female athlete to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
James Weldon Johnson was born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida. A poet, songwriter, diplomat, and activist, he was the first African American executive secretary of the NAACP.
Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. Her pure, ageless voice spanned three octaves, and she was known as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella.
Asa Philip Randolph was born on April 15, 1889, in Crescent City, Florida. Randolph was a respected and outspoken proponent of the rights of minority labor. He was greatly feared by his opponents, not because of his temperament, but because of his power to create change.
Harlem Renaissance novelist Nellallitea “Nella” Walker Larsen was born on April 13, 1891, in Chicago, Illinois. Though her writing career was brief, Larsen produced some of the first groundbreaking works to focus on mixed race identity and the feeling of not belonging.
On March 21, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. led the third (and finally successful) march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest for voting rights.
Ralph Waldo Ellison was born on March 1, 1913, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A self-proclaimed Renaissance Man, Ellison was a talented musician and writer, most famous for his novel, Invisible Man.