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3 Civil Rights Activists You Didn’t Learn About In School

02/16/2017 at 4:32 | Pierrea Javon // Freelance Writer
Photo Credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Every February when Black History Month comes around, we celebrate civil rights leaders and activists for their influence and sacrifice in the fight for freedom and equality.

Everyone knows Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and the significance they played in African American history.

But there were plenty of people involved in the movement that don’t always get the recognition. Here are three key players in the Civil Rights Movement that we don’t usually learn about in school, but we should:

1. Bayard Rustin was a civil rights activist that helped lead organize alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Rustin was actually an adviser to King and assisting with the March on Washington. He went to jail numerous times, while fighting against segregation. According to, he was jailed for 2 years for refusing to enter the draft.


2. Dorothy Height was present on stage when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the historical “I Have a Dream” speech. As President of the National Council for Negro Women for 40 years, Height worked to help low income housing, education, and the rights of women. Fun Fact: The dorm in the sitcom “Different World” was named after Ms. Dorothy Height.


3. Amelia Boynton was the woman in the infamous picture of Bloody Sunday, an attack on an Alabama church in 1965. Prior to Bloody Sunday, Amelia provided shelter to activists and played a major role in getting Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma. Boynton was the first African American woman to run as a Democratic congressional candidate in Alabama.


Story by Pierrea Javon… I’m not perfect and I don’t feel like faking it.