U.S. history is filled with people who have left a lasting mark on the American people, the country, or the world. Some of these people were (or are) respected and revered as heroes and leaders. Others were (or are) feared or despised as villains or despots.
African American history is also filled with influential people. These are people who have devoted themselves to improving life for African Americans, poor or underprivileged people, unfairly persecuted people, and people throughout the world. Or they have devoted themselves to science, medicine, history, literature, or music. This list contains five influential African American men who are heroes in the African American community for their work in civil rights and for improving the lives of persons around the world. Two of these people received the Nobel Prize for Peace but everyone on the list could have won that distinctive award.