The Most Famous African American, Ranked

Choose the African American you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 15, 2024 07:03
Acknowledging the impact of African American individuals in various fields highlights rich stories of innovation, resilience, and culture. This acknowledgment often leads to increased understanding and appreciation of diverse contributions. With an array of distinguished African Americans who have shaped history, technology, art, and much more, creating a list that accurately represents their fame and influence is both challenging and important. By participating in voting, users have the opportunity to shape how these influential figures are viewed and ranked by the public. This dynamic process not only keeps the list fresh and relevant but also engages the community in a discussion about significance and legacy. As votes pour in, the rankings change, reflecting the collective voice of the community in real time.

Who Is the Most Famous African American?

  1. 1
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Nobel Foundation · Public domain

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Civil Rights activist and leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
    Martin Luther King Jr. was a prominent civil rights activist and leader in the United States during the mid-20th century. He is best known for his role in advancing civil rights through nonviolent methods and delivering the iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech, which called for racial equality. King was an influential figure in the fight against discrimination and segregation, and his legacy continues to inspire individuals around the world.
    • Date of Birth: January 15, 1929
    • Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
    • Education: Ph.D. in Systematic Theology
    • Key Achievements: Nobel Peace Prize (1964), Montgomery Bus Boycott, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Leadership Style: Nonviolent resistance, civil disobedience
    Martin Luther King Jr. in other rankings
  2. 2

    Barack Obama

    Barack Obama
    The 44th President of the United States, who was the first African American to hold the office. He served two terms from 2009 to 2017.
    Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States serving from 2009 to 2017. He is widely regarded as one of the most beloved Presidents in recent history. Obama's presidency was marked by his charismatic leadership style, focus on social and economic reforms, and efforts to promote international cooperation.
    • Presidency Number: 44
    • Term: 2009-2017
    • Leadership Style: Charismatic
    • Domestic Focus: Social and Economic Reforms
    • International Focus: Promoting International Cooperation
    Barack Obama in other rankings
  3. 3
    Oprah Winfrey
    US Embassy South Africa · Public domain

    Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey
    A media mogul, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is one of the richest African American women in the world and has been named the "Queen of All Media".
    Oprah Winfrey is a highly successful American media executive, talk show host, television producer, actress, and philanthropist. She is considered one of the most influential women in the world of entertainment.
    • Birth Date: January 29, 1954
    • Birth Place: Kosciusko, Mississippi, U.S.
    • Career Start: The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011)
    • Net Worth: Approximately $2.6 billion (as of 2020)
    • Awards: Multiple Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Oprah Winfrey in other rankings
  4. 4
    Muhammad Ali
    Ira Rosenberg · Public domain
    A professional boxer and social activist who is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He was an outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice.
    Muhammad Ali in other rankings
  5. 5
    Harriet Tubman
    Photographer: Horatio Seymour Squyer, 1848 - 18 Dec 1905 · Public domain
    An American abolitionist and political activist who escaped slavery and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
    Harriet Tubman in other rankings
  6. 6

    Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou herself
    An American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences.
    Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist who was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful elderly women. She became an influential figure and achieved immense success in various fields.
    • Birth Name: Marguerite Annie Johnson
    • Date of Birth: April 4, 1928
    • Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
    • Occupation: Author, poet, civil rights activist
    • Awards and Honors: Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Medal of Arts, three Grammy Awards, etc.
    Maya Angelou in other rankings
  7. 7
    An American civil rights activist who is best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. Her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, which became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.
    Rosa Parks in other rankings
  8. 8
    Malcolm X
    Marion S. Trikosko · Public domain
    An American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the Civil Rights Movement. He was a vocal advocate for Black self-determination and separation from white society.
    Malcolm X in other rankings
  9. 9
    A South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
    Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and inspiring figures of the 20th century.
    • Born: July 18, 1918
    • Died: December 5, 2013
    • Political Affiliation: African National Congress (ANC)
    • Imprisonment: Spent 27 years in prison (1962-1990)
    • Awards and Recognition: Nobel Peace Prize (1993), Bharat Ratna, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and more
    Nelson Mandela in other rankings
  10. 10
    A former professional basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and was a five-time NBA MVP.
    Michael Jordan is a basketball shoe released by Nike in collaboration with the renowned professional basketball player Michael Jordan. It is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and successful sneaker lines in history, known for its innovative design, performance, and cultural impact.
    • Release Year: 1984
    • Design Inspiration: Michael Jordan's playing style
    • Technology: Air cushioning for enhanced comfort and support
    • Materials: Combination of leather and synthetic materials
    • Colorways: Numerous color options and collaborations
    Michael Jordan in other rankings

Missing your favorite African American?


Ranking factors for famous African American

  1. Cultural impact
    The extent to which the person has had an impact on popular culture and society as a whole.
  2. Achievements
    The magnitude and significance of the person's accomplishments in their respective fields, such as sports, entertainment, politics, science, and business.
  3. Recognition
    The level of recognition the person has received from peers, critics, and the general public, as demonstrated by awards, honors, and accolades.
  4. Historical significance
    The person's role in shaping African American history, whether it be through activism, civil rights, or social justice.
  5. Legacy
    The lasting impact the person has on future generations and their place in the history of African American culture.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous African American. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Black is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 163 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Black once every 24 hours. The rank of each Black is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous african american

The African American community has produced some of the most influential and impactful individuals in American history. From civil rights activists to athletes and entertainers, African Americans have made significant contributions to the fabric of American society. Many of these individuals have become household names, recognized and celebrated for their achievements and talents. With so many notable figures to choose from, determining who is the most famous African American is a difficult task. However, through StrawPoll's platform, we can gather opinions and insights from people all over the world to help shed light on this topic.

Share this article