List of civil rights leaders  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Civil rights leaders are influential figures in the promotion and implementation of political freedom and the expansion of personal civil liberties and rights. They work to protect individuals and groups from political repression and discrimination by governments and private organizations, and seek to ensure the ability of all members of society to participate in the civil and political life of the state.


People who motivated themselves and then led others to gain and protect these rights and liberties include:

Name Born Died Country Notes
George Mason 1725 1792 Template:USA wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and influenced United States Bill of Rights
Thomas Paine 1737 1809 Template:USA English-American activist, author, theorist, wrote Rights of Man
Elizabeth Freeman 1744 1829 Template:USA also known as Mum Bett – first former slave to win a freedom suit in Massachusetts
Jeremy Bentham 1748 1832 Template:GRB British philosopher, writer, and teacher on civil rights, inspiration
Olympe de Gouges 1748 1793 Template:FRA women's rights pioneer, writer, beheaded during French Revolution
James Madison 1751 1836 Template:USA American founding father, introduced and lobbied for the United States Bill of Rights
William Wilberforce 1759 1833 Template:GRB leader of the British abolition movement
Mary Wollstonecraft 1759 1797 Template:GBR British author of A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Thaddeus Stevens 1792 1868 Template:USA representative from Pennsylvania, anti-slavery leader, originator of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Lucretia Mott 1793 1880 Template:USA women's rights activist, abolitionist
William Lloyd Garrison 1805 1879 Template:USA abolitionist, writer, organizer, feminist, initiator
Lysander Spooner 1808 1887 Template:USA abolitionist, writer, anarchist, proponent of Jury nullification
Charles Sumner 1811 1874 Template:USA Senator from Massachusetts, anti-slavery leader
Abby Kelley 1811 1887 Template:USA abolitionist and suffragette
Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815 1902 Template:USA women's suffrage/women's rights leader
Lucy Stone 1818 1893 Template:USA women's suffrage/voting rights leader
Frederick Douglass 1818 1895 Template:USA abolitionist, women's rights and suffrage advocate, writer, organizer, black rights activist, inspiration
Julia Ward Howe 1818 1910 Template:USA writer, organizer, suffragette
Susan B. Anthony 1820 1906 Template:USA Women's suffrage leader, speaker, inspiration
Harriet Tubman 1822 1913 Template:USA African-American abolitionist and humanitarian
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs 1825 1895 Template:GER writer, organizer, and the pioneer of the modern LGBT rights movement
Antoinette Brown Blackwell 1825 1921 Template:USA founded American Woman Suffrage Association with Lucy Stone in 1869
Victoria Woodhull 1838 1927 Template:USA suffragette organizer, women's rights leader
Frances Willard 1839 1898 Template:USA women's rights activist, woman suffrage leader
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin 1842 1924 Template:USA suffragist, editor, co-founder of the first chapter of the NAACP
Kate Sheppard 1848 1934 Template:NZL suffragist in first country to have universal suffrage
Eugene Debs 1855 1926 Template:USA organizer, campaigner for the poor, women, dissenters, prisoners
Booker T. Washington 1856 1915 Template:USA educator, founder of Tuskegee University, and adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
Emmeline Pankhurst 1858 1928 Template:GBR founder and leader of the British Suffragette Movement
Charles Grafton 1869 1948 Template:USA Reverend Charles Grafton Archdioceses of Wisconsin Fond Du Lac, Responsible for Rescue helping the Slaves

Under Ground Railroad Initiator Wisconsin Boston, New York and Southern States

civil rights, known abolitionist. Brought the Convent of the Holy Nativity Nuns to Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin activist, movement leader, writer, philosopher, and teacher Responsible for helping to establish townships all over Wisconsin, and other parts of the United States
Carrie Chapman Catt 1859 1947 Template:USA suffrage leader, president National American Woman Suffrage Association, founder League of Women Voters and International Alliance of Women
Jane Addams 1860 1935 Template:USA reformer, co-founder of the Hull House and American Civil Liberties Union, 1931 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Ida B. Wells 1862 1931 Template:USA journalist, early activist in 20th-Century civil rights movement, women's suffrage/voting rights activist
W.E.B. Du Bois 1868 1963 Template:USA writer, scholar, founder of NAACP
Kasturba Gandhi 1869 1944 Template:IND wife of Mohandas Gandhi, activist in South Africa and India, often led her husband's movements in India when he was imprisoned
Mohandas Gandhi 1869 1948 Template:IND activist, movement leader, writer, philosopher, and teacher
Vallabhbhai Patel 1875 1950 Template:IND activist, movement leader
Muhammad Ali Jinnah 1876 1948 Template:PAK lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan; lead Pakistan Movement for the rights of Muslims in the subcontinent
Lucy Burns 1879 1966 Template:USA women's suffrage/voting rights leader
Getúlio Vargas 1882 1954 Template:BRA civil leader, President of Brazil, first as dictator, from 1930 to 1945
Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 1962 Template:USA women's rights and human rights activist both in the United States and in the United Nations
Alice Paul 1885 1977 Template:USA Women's Voting Rights Movement leader, strategist, and organizer
Sonia Schlesin 1888 1956 Template:RUS worked with Mohandas Gandhi in South Africa and led his movements there when he was absent
Toyohiko Kagawa 1888 1960 Template:JAP labor activist, Christian reformer, author
Jawaharlal Nehru 1889 1964 Template:IND first Prime Minister of India, central figure in Indian politics before and after independence, advocate for freedom of the press
A. Philip Randolph 1889 1979 Template:USA labor and civil rights movement leader
B. R. Ambedkar 1891 1956 Template:IND reformer who drafted Constitution of India, campaigned for Indian independence, fought for the women's rights ([[Hindu Code B| data-sort-value="Ambedkar, B. R."|B. R. Ambedkar

ills]]), fought discrimination and inequality among the people

Jaybird. Graham 1961 1965 Template:USA Indian-Black Civil Rights activist responsible for the segregation of Reno Nevada, (Casino)lawsuit. Jaybird Graham from Marietta Texas, Purple heart recipient family member of Tuskegee Airman Buddy, Married Mary E. Graham in Reno Nevada won a jackpot in the Casino on his honeymoon and Mr and Mrs Graham sued the Casino. and won, (Note blacks could only Gamble at Chinaman's Club in Reno Nevada, In Las Vegas Malone Rogue.)
Mary Elizabeth Graham 1961 1965 Template:USA Indian-Black Civil Rights activist responsible for the segregation of Reno Nevada, (Casino)lawsuit. Mary E. Graham from Aniston Alabama Radio host KJAY Sacramento California. Related to the first Black Highway Patrolman Howard Forbes. Married Jaybird Graham in Reno Nevada won a jackpot in the Casino on his honeymoon and Mr and Mrs Graham sued the Casino on Segregation. and won, (Note blacks could only Gamble at Chinaman's Club in Reno Nevada, In Las Vegas Malone Rogue.) Mrs. Graham Founder of Teenagers Workshop, First Black Female bank robber in California.
Walter Francis White 1895 1955 Template:USA NAACP executive secretary
Maria L. de Hernández 1896 1986 Template:USA Mexican-American rights activist
Thich Quang Duc 1897 1963 Template:Flag monk, freedom of religion self-martyr
Albert Lutuli 1898 1967 Template:ZAF President of the African National Congress,
Edgar Nixon 1899 1987 Template:USA Montgomery Bus Boycott organizer, civil rights activist
Roy Wilkins 1901 1981 Template:USA NAACP executive secretary/executive director
Harriette Moore 1902 1951 Template:USA Civil rights activist, and part of the only married couple to be assassinated during the Civil Rights Movement
Ella Baker 1903 1986 Template:USA SCLC activist, initiated the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Marvel Cooke 1903 2000 Template:USA civil rights leader
Myles Horton 1905 1990 Template:USA teacher of nonviolence, pioneer activist, founded and led the Highlander Folk School
John Peters Humphrey 1905 1995 Template:CAN author of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Nellie Stone Johnson 1905 2002 Template:USA labor and civil rights activist
Harry T. Moore 1905 1951 Template:USA Civil rights activist, leader, and the first martyr of the Civil Rights Movement
Willa Brown 1906 1992 Template:USA civil rights activist, first African-American lieutenant in the US Civil Air Patrol, first African-American woman to run for Congress
Walter P. Reuther 1907 1970 Template:USA labor leader and civil rights activist
T.R.M. Howard 1908 1976 Template:USA founder of Mississippi's Regional Council of Negro Leadership
Winifred C. Stanley 1909 1996 Template:USA First member of Congress to introduce legislation prohibiting discrimination in pay on the basis of sex
Elizabeth Peratrovich 1911 1958 Template:USA Alaskan activist for native people
Amelia Boynton Robinson 1911 2015 Template:USA Selma Voting Rights Movement activist and early leader
Dorothy Height 1912 2010 Template:USA activist and advocate for African-American women
Bayard Rustin 1912 1987 Template:USA civil rights activist
Jo Ann Robinson 1912 1992 Template:USA Montgomery Bus Boycott activist
Harry Hay 1912 2002 Template:USA early leader in American LGBT rights movement, founder Mattachine Society
Rosa Parks 1913 2005 Template:USA NAACP official, activist, Montgomery Bus Boycott inspiration
Daisy Bates 1914 1999 Template:USA organizer of the Little Rock Nine school desegregation events
Claude Black 1916 2009 Template:USA civil rights activist
Frankie Muse Freeman 1916 2018 Template:USA civil rights attorney, first woman appointee to United States Commission on Civil Rights
Fannie Lou Hamer 1917 1977 Template:USA leader in the American Civil Rights Movement; co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus and Freedom Democratic Party
Marie Foster 1917 2003 Template:USA voting rights activist, a local leader in the Selma Voting Rights Movement
Humberto "Bert" Corona 1918 2001 Template:USA labor and civil rights leader
Gordon Hirabayashi 1918 2012 Template:USA Japanese-American civil rights hero
Nelson Mandela 1918 2013 Template:ZAF statesman, leading figure in Anti-Apartheid Movement
Fred Korematsu 1919 2005 Template:USA Japanese internment resister during World War II
James Farmer 1920 1999 Template:USA Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) leader and activist
Golden Frinks 1920 2004 Template:USA civil rights organizer in North Carolina, field secretary of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Betty Friedan 1921 2006 Template:USA writer, women's rights activist, feminist
Joseph Lowery 1921 Template:USA SCLC leader and co-founder, activist
Del Martin 1921 2008 Template:USA co-founder of Daughters of Bilitis, first social and political organization for lesbians in the US
Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley 1921 2003 Template:USA held an open casket funeral for her son, Emmett Till; speaker, activist
Whitney M. Young, Jr. 1921 1971 Template:USA Executive director of National Urban League, adviser to U.S. presidents
Charles Evers 1922 Template:USA civil rights activist
Fred Shuttlesworth 1922 2011 Template:USA clergyman, activist, SCLC co-founder, initiated the Birmingham Movement
Clara Luper 1923 2011 Template:USA sit-in movement leader in Oklahoma, activist
James Baldwin 1924 1987 Template:USA essayist, novelist, public speaker, SNCC activist
Phyllis Lyon 1924 Template:USA co-founder of Daughters of Bilitis, first social and political organization for lesbians in the U.S.
C.T. Vivian 1924 Template:USA student civil rights leader, SNCC and SCLC activist
Lenny Bruce 1925 1966 Template:USA free speech advocate, comedian, political satirist
Medgar Evers 1925 1963 Template:USA NAACP official in the Mississippi Movement
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga 1925 2018 Template:USA activist in Japanese-American redress movement
Frank Kameny 1925 2011 Template:USA gay rights activist
Malcolm X 1925 1965 Template:USA author, speaker, activist, inspiration
Ralph Abernathy 1926 1990 Template:USA activist, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) official
Jackie Forster 1926 1998 Template:GBR English lesbian rights activist
Hosea Williams 1926 2000 Template:USA civil rights activist, SCLC organizer and strategist
Cesar Chavez 1927 1993 Template:USA Chicano activist, organizer, trade unionist
Coretta Scott King 1927 2006 Template:USA SCLC leader, activist
James Forman 1928 2005 Template:USA SNCC official and civil rights activist
James Lawson 1928 Template:USA American minister and activist, SCLC's teacher of nonviolence in civil rights movement
Elie Wiesel 1928 2016 Template:USA writer, Holocaust survivor, Jewish rights leader
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 1968 Template:USA SCLC co-founder/president/chairman, activist, author, speaker
Edison Uno 1929 1976 Template:USA leader for Japanese-American civil rights and redress after World War II
Wyatt Tee Walker 1929 2018 Template:USA activist and organizer with NAACP, CORE, and SCLC
Dorothy Cotton 1930 2018 Template:USA SCLC official, activist, organizer, and leader
Dolores Huerta 1930 Template:USA labor and civil rights activist, initiator, organizer
Harvey Milk 1930 1978 Template:USA politician, gay rights activist and leader for the LGBT community
Charles Morgan, Jr. 1930 2009 Template:USA attorney, established principle of "one man, one vote"
Desmond Tutu 1931 Template:ZAF anti-apartheid organizer, advocate, first black archbishop of Cape Town
Barbara Gittings 1932 2007 Template:USA lesbian rights activist
Dick Gregory 1932 2017 Template:USA free speech advocate, civil rights activist, comedian
Lola Hendricks 1932 Template:USA activist, local leader in Birmingham Movement
Miriam Makeba 1932 2008 Template:ZAF singer, anti-apartheid activist
Andrew Young 1932 Template:USA civil rights activist, SCLC executive director
James Meredith 1933 Template:USA independent student leader and self–starting Mississippi activist
Violeta Zúñiga 1933 2019 Template:CHL human rights activist
Roy Innis 1934 2017 Template:USA activist, longtime leader of CORE
Jane Goodall 1934 Template:USA scientist, activist, ecologist
Gloria Steinem 1934 Template:USA writer, activist, feminist
Bob Moses 1935 Template:USA leader, activist, and organizer in '60s Mississippi Movement
James Bevel 1936 2008 Template:USA organizer and Direct Action leader, SCLC's main strategist, movement initiator, and movement director
Barbara Jordan 1936 1996 Template:USA legislator, educator, civil rights advocate
Charles Sherrod 1937 Template:USA civil rights activist, SNCC leader
Fela Kuti 1938 1997 Template:NGA multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick
Diane Nash 1938 Template:USA SNCC and SCLC activist and official, strategist, organizer
Claudette Colvin 1939 Template:USA Montgomery Bus Boycott pioneer, independent activist
Jack Herer 1939 2010 Template:USA pro-hemp activist, speaker, organizer, author
Julian Bond 1940 2015 Template:USA activist, politician, scholar, NAACP chairman
Prathia Hall 1940 2002 Template:USA SNCC activist, a leading speaker in the civil rights movement
Bernard Lafayette 1940 Template:USA SCLC and SNCC activist, organizer, and leader
John Lewis 1940 Template:USA Nashville Student Movement and SNCC activist, organizer, speaker, congressman
Stokely Carmichael 1941 1998 Template:USA SNCC and Black Panther activist, organizer, speaker
Jesse Jackson 1941 Template:USA civil rights activist, politician
James Orange 1942 2008 Template:USA SCLC activist and organizer, a voting rights movement leader, trade unionist
Gerd Fleischer 1942 Template:NOR human rights activist
Marsha P. Johnson 1945 1992 Template:USA Gay liberation activist, STAR co-founder, AIDS activist with ACT UP
Heather Booth 1945 Template:USA SNCC activist, women's movement organizer, and founder of the Midwest Academy
Angelina Atyam 1946 Template:UGA human rights activist for the Aboke abductions
Dana Beal 1947 Template:USA pro-hemp activist, organizer, speaker, initiator
Ashok Row Kavi 1947 Template:IND LGBT rights activist, gay rights pioneer, founder of Humsafar Trust
Benjamin Chavis 1948 Template:USA activist, chemist, minister, author, leader of Wilmington Ten, led Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ, campaigner against Environmental Racism, executive director of NAACP, national director of Million Man March
Fred Hampton 1948 1969 Template:USA NAACP youth leader and Black Panther activist, organizer, speaker
Judy Shepard 1952 Template:USA gay rights activist, public speaker
Barbara May Cameron 1954 2002 Template:USA advocate for the rights of Native Americans, lesbians, and women
Bobby Sands 1954 1981 Template:UK hunger striker for better conditions for Irish prisoners in British prisons.
Al Sharpton 1954 Template:USA clergyman, activist, media
Will Roscoe 1955 Template:USA gay rights activist
Rigoberta Menchú 1959 Template:GUA Indigenous rights leader, co-founder Nobel Women's Initiative
Eulalie Nibizi 1960 Template:BDI Human rights activist, trade unionist
Steven Goldstein 1962 Template:USA gay rights advocate, political activist
Chee Soon Juan 1962 Template:SIN politician, former political prisoner, democracy and human rights activist
Manasi Pradhan 1962 Template:IND women's rights activist, founder of Honour for Women National Campaign
Deborah Parker 1970 Template:USA Indigenous rights and women's rights activist who was critical in ensuring the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
Harish Iyer 1979 Template:IND gender and sexuality rights activist, campaigner against child sexual abuse and for animal rights
Edvin Kanka Ćudić 1988 Template:BIH Human rights activist, founder and coordinator of UDIK in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Malala Yousafzai 1997 Template:PAK advocate for education for girls, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate

See also

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