90+ History Makers That Shaped The World

Discover History Makers in Black History in the Symbaloo Webmix below!

The Periodic Table of Black History

The Periodic Table of Black History recognizes and celebrates important historical figures across different professions, including activists, actors, artists, athletes, authors, musicians, politicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Learn more about these history-making individuals and their achievements below! If you don’t have a Symbaloo account yet, you can create one for free here.

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Black History Month Scholars

Benjamin Benneker

Benjamin Benneker

“The color of the skin is in no way connected with strength of the mind or intellectual powers.”

David Blackwell

David Blackwell

“Basically, I’m not interested in doing research and I never have been… I’m interested in understanding, which is quite a different thing. And often to understand something you have to work it out yourself because no one else has done it.”

Edward Bouchet

Edward Bouchet

“Optics is an example of the different ways a human is able to see things in the world. The same goes for the color of a person’s skin and even though optics present that there are differences in color, these do not state that they should necessarily be treated as different.”

Otis Boykin

Otis Boykin

African American inventor Otis F. Boykin’s work on improved electrical resistors made possible the steady workings of a variety of now-ubiquitous electronic devices. Variations of his resistor models are used around the world today in televisions, computers, and radios. Most notably, however, his work enabled control functions for the first successful, implantable pacemaker.

Dr. Alexa Canady

Dr. Alexa Canady

“The greatest challenge I faced in becoming a neurosurgeon was believing it was possible.”

George Robert Carruthers

George Robert Carruthers

“God did not create woman from man’s head, that he should command her, nor from his feet, that she should be his slave, but rather from his side, that she should be near his heart.”

Annie Easley

Annie Easley

“If I can’t work with you, I will work around you.”

Marie Maynard Daly

Marie Maynard Daly

“Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

Bettye Washington Greene

Bettye Washington Greene

“I believe that love is better than hate. And that there is more nobility in building a chicken coop than in destroying a cathedral.”

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology, after years of juggling research and teaching with the burden of caring for her invalid mother. Her story is one of grit and perseverance.

Black History Month Activists

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers

“Freedom has never been free.”

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

“When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out ain’t nobody going to speak out for you.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune

“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.”

Black History Month Careers

Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson

“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.”

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

“I knew that I just didn’t have it in me to give up, even if I sometimes felt like a fool for continuing to believe.”

Dr. Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”

Robert L. Johnson

Robert L. Johnson

“Leadership is the ability to influence people and motivate them to do what needs to be done to accomplish a goal, vision, or mission.”

Simone Manuel

Simone Manuel

“For people who believe that they can’t do it, I hope I’m an inspiration to others to get out there and try swimming. You might be pretty good at it.”

Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall

“Each of you, as an individual, must pick your own goals. Listen to others, but do not become a blind follower.”

Black History Month Writers

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.

Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi

“You’re never wasting your time as long as you learn from every single thing you do, whether you feel like those attempts are successful or not.”

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

“It is one of the blessings of this world that few people see visions and dream dreams.”

Nella Larsen

Nella Larsen

“Lies, injustice, and hypocrisy are a part of every ordinary community. Most people achieve a sort of protective immunity, a kind of callousness, toward them. If they didn’t, they couldn’t endure.”

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours.”

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler

“Kindness eases change, love quiets fear.”

Toni Morisson

Toni Morisson

“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

Lucille Clinton

Lucille Clinton

“In the bigger scheme of things the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that’s a whole different thing.”

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

“Be not afraid of discomfort. If you can’t put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable, then you will never grow. You will never change. You’ll never learn.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

“My belief is in the chaos of the world and that you have to find your peace within the chaos and that you still have to find some sort of mission.”

Alice Walker

Alice Walker

“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison

“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.”

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

“Love grows from stable relationships, shared experience, loyalty, devotion, trust.”

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

“I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called Now.”

Roxanne Gay

Roxanne Gay

“I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.”

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

“What isn’t said is as important as what is said.”

Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander

“Never let anyone lower your goals. Others’ expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life. The sky is your limit, sons. Always shoot for the sun, and you will shine.”

Black History Month Sports Figures

Simone Biles

Simone Biles

Simone Arianne Biles is an American artistic gymnast. With a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is tied as the most decorated gymnast of all time.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

LeBron James

LeBron James

“You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not gonna succeed all the time and I know that.”

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens

“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Venus & Serena Williams

Venus & Serena Williams

“You have to let fear go. Another lesson is you just have to believe in yourself; you just have to. There’s no way around it. No matter how things are stacked against you, you just have to every time.” – Venus Williams

“I don’t like to lose — at anything — yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks.” – Serena Williams

Black History Month Musicians

Beyoncé

Beyoncé

Beyoncé Knowles is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is one of the world's best-selling recording artists, having sold 120 million records worldwide. She is the first solo artist to have their first six studio albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. Referred to as the "Queen of Soul". With global sales of over 75 million records, Franklin is one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

“Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love, baby – love. That’s the secret.”

B.B. King

B.B. King

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”

Donald Glover

Donald Glover

“You have to be real with yourself. No one is doing that. People are too concerned with making everything look nice and calm and pretty.”

Prince

Prince

“People who have no creativity, talent, or courage are the ones who follow the rules. Be brave, be bold, step up and make your own! The passion that lies inside of you means you don’t need to follow the pack, because you transcend it.”

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

“You don’t have to be fearless to do anything; you can be scared out of your mind. I fear that I won’t get better and that I won’t have time to practice. To be called a ‘jazz musician’ – it’s a big responsibility.”

Black History Month Artists

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey

“I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

“I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.”

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence

“My belief is that it is most important for an artist to develop an approach and philosophy about life – if he has developed this philosophy, he does not put paint on canvas, he puts himself on canvas.”

Arthur Mitchell

Arthur Mitchell

“What does dance give you? The freedom to be who you are and do what you want to do.”

Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald

“Success, for me, is staying true to who you are and not deviating off a path.”

Alma Woodsey Thomas

Alma Woodsey Thomas

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.”

James van der Zee

James van der Zee

“It’s a hard job to get the camera to see it like you see it. Sometimes you have it just the way you want it, and then you look in the camera and you don’t have the balance. The main thing is to get the camera to see it the way you see it.”

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley

“Art is about changing what we see in our everyday lives and representing it in such a way that it gives us hope.”

Kara Walker

Kara Walker

“There’s no diploma in the world that declares you as an artist—it’s not like becoming a doctor. You can declare yourself an artist and then figure out how to be an artist.”

Black History Month Actors

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. The recipient of an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, she is the first African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

“There have been so many people who have said to me, ‘You can’t do that,’ but I’ve had an innate belief that they were wrong. Be unwavering and relentless in your approach.”

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman

“Dr. Martin Luther King is not a black hero. He is an American hero.”

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going. Space travel benefits us here on Earth. And we ain’t stopped yet. There’s more exploration to come.”

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

“The things we truly love stay with us always, locked in our hearts as long as life remains.”

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox

“My beauty is not about how I look. My beauty is about my heart and soul.”

Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

“Forgiveness works two ways, in most instances. People have to forgive themselves too. The powerful have to forgive themselves for their behavior. That should be a sacred process.”

Issa Rae

Issa Rae

“Success is a moving goal post. You celebrate in those moments and then look at what’s next…and how I can do it better than I did before.”

Will Smith

Will Smith

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington

“Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.”

Black History Month Politicians

Blanche Bruce

Blanche Bruce

“We will not forget our instincts for freedom nor our love for our country.”

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

“One thing is clear to me: We, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.”

John Lewis

John Lewis

“Darkness cannot overcome darkness, only light can do that. Violence can never overcome violence, only peace can do that. Hate can never overcome hate, only love can do that.”

Carrie Meek

Carrie Meek

“Until we all start to take responsibility, until we do all we can to improve the character of our communities, we’ll never break the cycle of violence and indifference.”

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Frederica Wilson

Frederica Wilson

“To go would be to honor the president and I don’t think he deserves to be honored at this time, after being so hateful towards black people and then black countries.”

Black History Month Entrepreneurs

George Foreman

George Foreman

“If you can maintain that integrity in whatever you do, you can’t go wrong. That’s what I tell my kids, anyway.”

Jay-Z

Jay-Z

“We change people through conversation, not through censorship.”

Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan

“If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best?”

Annie Turnbo Malone

Annie Turnbo Malone

A chemist and entrepreneur, Annie Turnbo Malone became a millionaire by successfully developing and marketing hair products for black women in St. Louis. She used her wealth to promote the advancement of African Americans and gave away most of her money to charity.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

“I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”

Symbaloo

Symbaloo is the perfect platform to save, organize, and share Black History Month Resources for your students. Use tiles to save your favorite Black History Persons, Quotes and Stories into a grid-like structure called a “webmix”. Then, share that webmix in any number of ways!

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