Black History month! Now, as it comes to a close, we want to take some time to put the spotlight on the heroes that have rounded out this country and made it great. One way we’ve chosen to do this is by highlighting the most influential black people from the 14 states banning Critical Race Theory (CRT). In case you’re not in the know, Critical Race Theory started around 40 years ago. Its chief concept comes from the idea that “race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies,” according to EdWeek.
While critics of CRT work hard to put an end to the teachings in school, we’re featuring the most influential black people from the 14 states that have banned it. Because knowledge is power and without these people, history, and culture as we know it, would be radically different.
Photo by Dave J Hogan (Getty Images)
Influential Black People Critical Race States
Morgan Freeman (Tennessee)
You might know Morgan Freeman as the man you'd choose to narrate your life. Before he made it big in Hollywood, earning both a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award, Freeman was just a young dude from Memphis, Tennessee with a dream.
Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix (Getty Images)
Lolo Jones (Iowa)
Olympian gold medal winner Lolo Jones is known for being one of the few athletes who has competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Perhaps, growing up in Des Moines, Iowa is why she's both a hurdler and a bobsledder.
Photo by Tom Pennington (Getty Images)
Pharrell Williams (Virginia)
You probably know Virginia native, Pharrell Williams, as the guy who brought you the earworm and Academy Award-nominated song, "Happy." However, he's one of the most notable songwriters and producers of the 21st Century. The rapper-singer started his career with The Neptunes and has since gone on to win 13 Grammys.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. (Georgia)
Perhaps the most notable person on this list, Martin Luther, King Jr. was a civil rights leader in the mid-twentieth century and easily the most influential black person on this list. He accomplished his radical work through nonviolence and civil disobedience. He was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality and assassinated in 1968.
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All hail, Queen Beyonce a native of Houston, Texas and has all the flair to prove it. Beyonce is an accomplished singer, songwriter, and actress who's also one of the world's best-selling recording artists, having sold 120 million records worldwide.
Photo by Dave J Hogan (Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniels (New Hampshire)
You may never have heard of Jonathan Daniels, but he's a modern-day saint. Originally from Keene, New Hampshire, Daniels, a 26-year-old seminary student worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement. He saved the life of a young black girl by shielding her from being shot at by the police in 1965.
Daniels is now listed in the Memorial Book of the Chapel of Saints and Martyrs at Canterbury Cathedral in Great Britain.
He is remembered on Aug. 14 every year.
Photo via WMRG9
Cherie Buckner-Webb (Idaho)
Cherie Buckner-Webb is Idaho's first elected African-American state legislator, and its first African-American woman legislator. She is from Boisie and served in Idaho's House Of Representatives and Senate.
Photo via @Buckner-Webb (Twitter)
Chadwick Boseman (South Carolina)
South Carolina native, Chadwick Boseman, inspired a generation of black youths with his portrayal of real-life African-American icons like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and James Brown. However, it was his outstanding performance in "Black Panther," that made him a household name.
Photo by Emma McIntyre (Getty Images for MTV)
Rosa Parks (Alabama)
Not only is Rosa Parks the most influential black person from Alabama, but she's also commonly considered “the first lady of civil rights.” Parks became a pioneer in the American revolution against color segregation and racism when she refused to leave her bus seat to a white passenger. This bold decision gave rise to the iconic Montgomery Bus Boycott, which also led her to work with Martin Luther King Jr., who's also on this list.
Photo by Photo12/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)
Wesley Snipes (Florida)
Turns out Blade himself is actually a Flordia man. Action film star Wesley Snipes is best known for films, such as the "Blade" film trilogy, "Major League" and "The Expendables 3." He's also an accomplished martial artist, and a black belt holder in Hapkido and Shotokan Karate.
Photo by Rich Fury (Getty Image)
Alfre Woodard (Oklahoma)
Not only is Oklahoma native Alfre Woodard considered to be one of the most versatile and accomplished actors of her generation, but she's also an accomplished producer and political activist to boot.
Photo by Taylor Hill (Getty Images)
Wiz Khalifa (North Dakota)
Rapper Wiz Khalifa came up in Pittsburg, but was born in North Dakota. Before he became a cannabis advocate the Black and Yellow rapper was a military brat, born to military parents in Minot, North Dakota.
Photo by Vivien Killilea (Getty Images)
Mia Love (Utah)
Mia Love is an American politician who served as the U.S. representative for Utah's 4th congressional district from 2015 to 2019. Additionally, she was the first black person elected to Congress from Utah and the first black woman elected to Congress as a Republican. Currently, she's a political commentator.
Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan (Getty Images)
Reggie Watts (Montana)
Comedian, actor, beatboxer and all-around musical genius, Reggie Watts, was raised in Great Falls, Montana. He currently leads the house band for The Late Late Show With James Corden.
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