Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. he was the son of a black slave and white slave master.
After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.
Josephine Baker was an American-born French dancer, singer, actress and spy for the Allied Forces during WWII. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, she became a citizen of France in 1937. Fluent in both English and French, Baker became an international musical and political icon. She was given such nicknames as the "Bronze Venus", the "Black Pearl", and the "Créole Goddess".
''..the fact that besides being the first black head of state in modern western history, Alessandro de' Medici's race was quite pivotal to the most politically powerful period of Medici history.''
(July 22, 1510 – January 6, 1537)
Alessandro de'Medici also known as "il Moro" ("the Moor") was Duke of Penne and also Duke of Florence from 1530 until 1537. Though illegitimate, he was the last member of the "senior" branch of the Medici to rule Florence and the first to be a hereditary duke. He was the only son of Lorenzo II de' Medici and a black servant who was working in the Medici household, identified in documents as Simonetta da Collevecchio. Although he had many rivals and was critised by his republican counterparts, Alessandro was also known for his generosity and concern for the poor. Like other members of the Medici dynasty, Alessandro was also a patron of the arts.
'' I know what liberty is because I know what slavery was.''
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley
(February 1818 – May 1907)
Elizabeth Keckley was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civic activist and author in Washington, DC. Her mother, Agnes, was a house slave and hey biological father, whose identity was revealed to her only late in life, was her master Armistead Burwell, a planter and colonel in the War of 1812.
Elizabeth was best known as the personal confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincolns wife and First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom and that of her son in St. Louis. She created an independent business in the capital based on clients who were the wives of the government elite.
Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-George
(December 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799)
''Known as the "black Mozart" he was one of the earliest musicians of the European classical type known to have African ancestry.''
Joseph Bologne was an important French-Caribbean figure in the Paris musical scene in the second half of the 18th century as composer, conductor, and violinist. Prior to the revolution in France, he was also famous as a swordsman and equestrian. He was the son of Nanon, a Wolof former slave, and Georges Boulogne de Saint-George, a white French plantation owner. As a member of the aristocracy and the royal court at Versailles, Boulogne also served in the army of the Revolution against France's monarchist enemies.