These leaders of the black community come from all walks of life. Click on a name to link to a page with a video and transcript of the interview, as well as sources for background information about each individual. The names are arranged alphabetically.

Amiri Baraka, a prominent activist during the 1960s. as well as a successful playwright.

Sanford Bishop, With strong ties to both southern Alabama and Georgia, U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop has served his Georgia constituents as a political leader at the state and federal level since 1977.

Julian Bond, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, professor of history and civil rights at the American University and the University of Virginia.

Carol Moseley Braun, Chicago native, principled stateswoman and practicing attorney, Carol Moseley Braun made history in 1992 after being elected the first African-American woman U.S. Senator, representing Illinois.

Julius Chambers, a civil rights activist and lawyer.

Johnetta Cole, president of Bennett College.

James Clyburn, For more than a dozen years, Congressman James Clyburn has served in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Sixth Congressional District, South Carolina, as a leader for environmental justice and civil rights.

John Conyers Jr., A champion of civil liberties, Congressman John Conyers is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Fourteenth Congressional District, Michigan.

Floyd Flake, former Congressman and president of Wilberforce University.

Robert Franklin, professor of social ethics and past president of the Interdenominational Theological Center.

Mary Futrell, dean of The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Nikki Giovanni, Poet and author Nikki Giovanni remains committed to the fight for civil rights and equality, using evocative and challenging language to focus on the power to make a difference in ourselves, and thus, in the lives of others.

Earl Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise.

William Gray, former member of Congress and past president of the United Negro College Fund.

Dick Gregory, Both a prominent comedian and civil rights activist, Dick Gregory has combined those talents throughout his life to draw attention to social injustices, and more recently, to advocate for alternative medicine and nutrition.

Dorothy Height, A leader in the YWCA and the National Council of Negro Women, civil rights activist Dorothy Height has fostered humanitarian causes and social action issues to promote inter-race and inter-class communications around the world for more than seven decades.

Oliver Hill, one of a small band of lawyers who brought down the American apartheid.

Benjamin Hooks, civil rights activist, pastor, and lawyer.

Elaine Jones, past president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Vernon Jordan, past president of the National Urban League and civil rights lawyer.

John LewisFounding member of SNCC, organizer of the historic March on Washington, and Freedom Rider John Lewis has represented the 5th District of Georgia, including Atlanta, in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1986.


Henry Marsh, first African-American mayor of Richmond, VA and U.S. Senator.

Eleanor Holmes Norton , An activist for civil rights causes, Eleanor Holmes Norton serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for the District of Columbia. She has held that position since 1990, and is an advocate for statehood, for women’s causes, and for human justice

Charles Ogletree, Educated at Stanford and Harvard universities, law professor and author Charles Ogletree merges academic strengths with an ability to educate others about civil rights and the U.S. justice system through his writings and commentary in national media.

Bobby L. Rush, Georgia native Bobby L. Rush found his voice for civil rights in Chicago through the Illinois Black Panthers Party, Chicago City Council and as the Congressional Representative for the state's 1st District since 1992.

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, executive director of the Black Leadership Forum and modern civil rights leader.

Lucius Theus, first African-American support officer and the third appointed general in the U.S. Air Force.

Roger Wilkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former Assistant Attorney General, and professor of history and American culture at George Mason University.

Anthony Williams, As chief financial officer and mayor for Washington D.C., Anthony A. "Tony" Williams extended his reputation as a savvy money manager, leading a financial recovery effort for the capital city, increasing economic opportunities and affordable housing.

Last updated: June 2005