A literary genius and representative of black excellence, Angelou reminds young people that they are not confined to the circumstances of which they were born. She was living, breathing proof that those circumstances are just another reason to overcome.
After overcoming drug addiction and a former life of crime, Malcolm X became one of the country’s most prominent civil rights leaders of the 20th century. He lead the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and preached to the masses about what it truly means to be a black citizen in the United States.
Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer at the American Ballet theatre in New york City, who recently became the company’s first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in its 75 year history. She also became the American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American soloist in two decades, and has inspired many young girls and boys in her important work.
Although she faced heavy discrimination her entire life, Bessie Coleman fought to pursue her flying career. She became the first woman of African American descent to achieve a pilot’s license, and she earned an international pilot’s license in 1921. Mostly known for her air shows, Coleman also served as inspiration for many people of color who aspired to be pilots.