A lot of countries have long and storied histories. This is especially true when you actually delve beneath the surface and look at everything that shaped that very country. Despite all this, it would be an understatement to say that America wasn’t one time oppressive. Not only was it oppressive to women, but it was oppressive to the African American race.

Even though American tried to hold black people back they prevailed and become some of the most influential individuals throughout history. Without these specific individuals, America would not be the free country that it is today. And, every man, woman, and kid in the country owes a debt of gratitude to the following individuals.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King might have lived 39 years on this earth, but it would be hard for any red-blooded American to say that his life wasn’t cut more than short. King was by far one of the most pivotal figures in the non-violent civil rights movement. He made a huge impact on the world during the ‘50s and ‘60s where he fought to improve the race relations between blacks and white while also trying to overturn the discrimination in America’s society at the current time.

His most memorable trait was his ability to deliver a speech. King was one figure that could get a crowd riled up while keeping them within the confines of the law at the same time. His life might have been cut short, but his movement still lives on today.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela might have lived a full life, but he spent a good portion of that life in prison and campaigning to end the apartheid in South Africa. After his nearly twenty-year stint in prison, he dedicated his life to fighting injustices. This is when he became the first President elected to the post-apartheid South Africa.

Mandela was highly known and admired for his ability to forgive as well as his willingness to work with others. Mandela was no stranger to the white community in South Africa and he certainly wasn’t afraid to reach out and ask for help or make amends.

Barack Obama

To say that Obama changed America would be the understatement of the year. Obama became the first black President in the United States and served a complete four years. Not only this, but he was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During his tenure as President, he was probably most noted for shaking up the healthcare industry. In fact, American citizens are still utilizing the healthcare plan that he enacted during his run as President.

Obama might not be much of a gambler and he probably wouldn’t take advantage of a first deposit bonus, but he would never be afraid to speak about the need for Americans to remain united as one, despite the differences of beliefs as well as political opinions.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan has been called everything from a “prodigy” to “the greatest athlete of all times”. While many people do not know the impact that Jordan’s NBA career had on the African American population, did not watch it transpire. Jordan played an important role in bringing awareness to professional basketball in the 80s and 90s. 

Today, Jordan’s attire is still extremely popular among the African American community and NBA fans. It is probably the popular endorsement deal that Nike would ever make because the sales are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. While one of the most popular professional boxers of all times, Ali was also an advocate for the African American community. He was a role model for young black children growing up in some of the toughest neighborhoods in American. Many of these children would grow up to follow in the same footsteps as “The Greatest”. 

Ali ended his career with 56 wins, 37 wins by knockout, and five losses. After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Ali died on June 3, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was laid to rest at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Floyd Mayweather

Like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. was one of the most prominent professional boxers of all times. Mayweather was so popular that he was forced to come out of retirement several times to defend his boxing record of 50 wins, 50 wins by knockout and zero losses. 

Mayweather was no stranger to the boxing world. He uncles, Roger and Jeff Mayweather, were professional boxers. Roger and Jeff would later become responsible for Floyd’s training. Money Mayweather came out of retirement to fight the MMA UFC star Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. Of course, he came out of top just like everyone expected.