Sidney Poitier receiving Medal of Honor from US President Barack Obama, in 2009

Sidney Poitier, a legendary Black actor and civil rights activist has passed away in Los Angeles, CA on January 6, 2022. He was 94 years old.
His death was confirmed by the office of the prime minister of the Bahamas. Sidney Poitier  was  the first Black man even to win a Best Actor Oscar.  Sidney Poitier,  whose parents hailed from the Bahamas, was also known for being the most prominent, if not the only representative of African-Americans in mainstream cinema during the tumultous period of the American Civil Rights movement.

Homer Plessy vs Ferguson Marker in Lousiana

On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a pardon for civil rights activist Homer Plessy, 130 years after his arrest, trial and conviction, for protesting against racism. Homer Plessy's landmark case, Plessy v. Ferguson, was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where all White judges ruled in a 7-1 majority against him, reinforcing the racist "separate but equal" doctrine in the U.S and setting the foundation of the Jim Crow regime in the US southern states.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Nobel Prize Laureate, Freedom struggle icon and Leader in the South African Council of Churches Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu has died on December 26, 2021. He was 90 years old. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is considered as one of African freedom heroes for the  struggle against apartheid , corruption, dictatorship, and kleptocracy. 

General Colin Luther Powell in 2000s

General Colin Luther Powell, one of the most prominent Black US military and political figures has passed away. He was 84 years old.
According to the statement from his family, he died from COVID-19 complications. General Colin Powell is well known for his firsts as a Black African American: first US Black National Security Adviser, fist Black Secretary of State, and the youngest and Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Colin Powell, a long-time republican, was also known for endorsing the fist Black President Barack Obama, a democrat, and in the process, declining to run for president himself despite pressures from his party and republican supporters and instead endorsing other candidates, mostly democrats.

Rapper and Pop Culture Star Biz Markie, 2017

Marcel Theo Hall, known professionally as Biz Markie, was a pop culture star.  He died on July 16, 2021 in Baltimore, MD, USA. He was 57 years old An AfricanAmerican rapper, he was also a renown DJ, record producer, writer, singer, actor, and comedian.

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, 2018

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) died on Sunday, July 11 in Paris, France. He was 81 years old.  Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, known to be close proche du Pope François, was a tireless fighter for peace in his country.

Zaila Avant-Garde Win Scripps National Spelling Bee, July 8, 2021

Zaila Avant-Garde, 14 years old,  won the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship on Thursday, July 8, 2021. She was the first African American and the second Black to win the championship in the Scripps National Spelling Bee's 96-year history. The only previous Black winner was Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica.

Mary Wilson performing

Mary Wilson who, along with Diana Ross and the late Florence Ballard, co-founded the iconic Supremes group, has died. She was 76.

According to the news media, Mary Wilson died in her home in Henderson, Nevada, US, on Feb 8, 2021. Before her death, it was reported that Mary Wilson was about to release a new album.

Cicely Tyson Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by President Barack Obama

Cicely Tyson, an African-American actress, died on January 28, 2021.  Larry Thompson, her longtime manager, announced the passing of Cicely Tyson. She was 86 years old. Cicely Tyson is highly respected, especially in the Black communities, for refusing to act in roles that demean Black people, even when no other acting options were available.

Hank Aaron's Hall of Fame plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York

Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", the renown Baseball player and longtime civil rights activist has died. Hall of Fame icon died in his sleep on Friday, January 22, 2021, as confirmed by The Atlanta Braves. He was 86 years old.

Charley Pride, First Black Country Music Superstar

Charley Pride, one of country music's first Black superstars, and the first Black Country star to be signed to a major label has died. He was 86.

Charley Pride was the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He released multiple albums and sold millions of records worldwide, since he started his music career in 1960s. Among the most successful hits are 1971 "Kiss an Angel Good Morning", "Mountain of Love," "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," "Burgers and Fries," and "Someone Loves You Honey."

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, NASA mathematician, physicist, and scientist. Credit NASA

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, known as the NASA mathematician, physicist, and scientist, used her math genius to guide to and land Apollo 11 on the moon and bring it back to earth (see AfroAmerica Network: Katherine Globe Johnson, Black Woman and NASA Scientist Depicted in Hidden Figures, Dies at 101).  As  NASA chief Charles Bolden, put it Katherine "advanced Human Rights with a slide rule and a pencil", and the "frontier of human achievement at the same time." Yet, she was only postumously awarded the Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic Society's highest recognition, for her extraordinary contributions in the fields of science and exploration, the  same medal as the one the astronauts she helped received 51 years ago.

Despite the delay, the medal is yet another sigh of how much she impacted Humanity and Human Rights, against all odds. At the time of her birth, on August 26, 1918,  the odds of reaching the  human achievements of her life,  were remote at the best, if not impossible. It was the time when women were not encouraged to pursue high degrees or math and sciences. Moreover, Katherine Johnson was a Black woman, born in a segregated America.  Yet, she overcame all these odds.