Impactful Black Politicians

Over the past decade, we have had many memorable Black politicians and leaders. The five below are some who have had the greatest impact on the world as a whole. 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was an African nationalist and socialist considered the father of Modern South Africa. His main commitments and goals were peace, negotiation, and reconciliation. 

He was the main figure to look to towards the installation of democracy and later served as South Africa’s first Black president from 1994 to 1999.

In 1993, Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize for peacefully destroying apartheid regime (in South Africa) , a system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race, and laying the foundation for democracy.

One notable quote from Mandela is, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

He died on December 5, 2013, of a respiratory tract infection. 

Linda Brown

Linda Brown played a large role in desegregating public schools in America. 

After the all-white elementary school in Topeka, Kansas denied her entry, her lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education. 

“The Court ruled that the plaintiffs were being ‘deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.’” according to

The trial was a success and she gave the credit to her father, Oliver Brown. Later, Brown became an educational consultant and public speaker. 

One notable quote from Brown is, “It is not the treatment of a people that degrades them, but their acceptance of it.”

She died of natural causes on March 25, 2018. 

Colin Powell

Colin Powell was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and U.S. Army officer. 

He served as the 65th U.S. Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 and was the first African American in this position. 

Powell played a big role in breaking racial barriers after he received a Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom after the Persian Gulf War. 

One notable quote from Powell is, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.”

He died on October 18, 2021, of complications with Covid-19 and cancer.

Carrie Meck

Carrie Meek was an educator, legislator, stateswoman, & member of the Democratic party. She was also one of the first African-American lawmakers to represent Florida. 

Meek served from 1979 to 1982 in the Florida House of Representatives, served from 1982 to 1992 in the Florida Senate, and served from 1993 to 2003 as a congresswoman in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

She stood out even more since she was a descendant of enslaved people who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction. 

One notable quote from her is, “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.”

Meek died on November 28, 2021, of a long-term illness.

Bishop Desmond Tutu

Bishop Desmond Tutu was born on October 7, 1931. 

He was a South African Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was the first Black man to ever hold either of those positions. 

Tutu quickly became one of the most well-known human rights activists and was revered as a “moral voice.” In 1984, he won the Nobel Peace Prize because of this. 

One notable quote from Tutu is, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

He died on December 26, 2021, of natural causes.

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