Black History Month: 5 Leaders Making History Now

by: Laurie Mega

During Black History Month, we teach our children about iconic leaders who have advanced the cause of civil rights and equality for black citizens. Names like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman come to mind.

But who is helping to advance that cause, and the fight for equality for all, today? Here are 5 black figures making history now.

1. Chadwick Boseman

This month, Chadwick Boseman stars in Black Panther based on the first black mainstream comic book hero, created by Stan Lee. This isn't his first role as a trailblazer, though. He has also played Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player, in '42 and music legend James Brown in Get on Up. In his next movie, Marshall, he will take on the role of Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice and a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

2. Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle may be making news for her engagement to Prince Harry right now, but she has already made a name for herself in her own right.

In 2016, she became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, travelling to Rwanda as part of their Clean Water Campaign. She has traveled to India to raise awareness of women's rights in the nation and she has worked as an Advocate for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

3. Bozoma Saint John

Bozoma Saint John and her family fled Ghana when she was five and sought political asylum in the U.S. She is Chief Brand Officer for Uber, where she has been tasked with turning around it's image as an all-boys' club. She had previously worked for Beats headphones.

She has made Billboard Magazine's list of top women in music and Fast Company's list of 100 most creative people.

4. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is currently the junior Democratic senator from California. Previously, she served as the District Attorney of San Francisco before moving up to Attorney General of California.

While DA of San Francisco conviction rates rose from 52% to 67%, the highest in a decade. She also created a special Hate Crimes Division that focused on crimes against LGBT individuals, children and teens. As Attorney General, she went after predatory lenders and participated in the trails against banks after the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

5. Oprah Winfrey

Born into poverty to a teenage single mom, Oprah Winfrey is a self-made multi-billionaire and media mogul. She is the richest African-American, the first black multi-billionaire in North America and one of the most influential in the United States. Her book recommendations alone sell millions of copies.

She has won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award.

Winfrey is also a philanthopist. Oprah's Angel Network has raised $80,000,000 to date.

Seeing double?! FUN at the @OprahMagazine Favorite Things Reveal party! ❄️

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Are you looking for more Black History Month resources for your kids? Check out our 15 Top Children's Books for Black History Month.