Celebrating Black Communicators for Social Change

Through the years, we’ve recognized several Communicators of the Month from the Black community whose voices advanced social change and equity in our country. From neighborhoods in their communities to the halls of Congress, these remarkable people have spoken and fought for our freedoms, health and equality.

In honor of Black History Month, here are some of the remarkable individuals we have featured, listed in alphabetical order.


Arthur Ashe is the first — and remains the only — African-American male to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon tennis championships. He also is the first African-American both to be ranked the world’s No. 1 professional tennis player and to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Ashe’s performance on the court helped propel him to fame, but his extensive advocacy work kept him in the public spotlight long after he retired. Learn more about Arthur Ashe’s impact on our country.


Washington Carver
Despite being born into slavery, George Washington Carver became one of the most prolific scientists of his time. He developed more than 100 different uses for the peanut, including a bioplastic and a substance similar to gasoline. He also pioneered agricultural methods that increased crop yields, and taught these methods to fellow African-Americans. Learn more about George Washington Carver’s impact on our country’s agriculture.


Marie M. Daly’s groundbreaking work identified the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. She also was the first Black woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Outside of the laboratory, Daly was a staunch supporter of the enrollment of minority students in science and medical programs. Learn more about Marie Daly’s impact on modern medicine.
Marie Daly


Long before the civil rights movement took root in the U.S., Marcus Garvey was sowing the seeds of equality for African Americans from his native Jamaica. His journey as a social change activist began when he was just a teenager, after joining a printer’s strike to demand higher wages. He used his personal experience with racism to take on economic injustice in his segregated country, Central America and eventually the U.S. Learn more about Marcus Garvey and the Pan-Africanism movement.


Althea Gibson penetrated racial barriers in professional tennis left and right. Born in 1927 in South Carolina, Gibson’s road to tennis stardom was made more difficult by the discrimination she faced as an African-American. She was challenged by deep-seated racism in the venues in which she played, her sport and American society. Learn more about Althea Gibson’s impact on the sport of tennis.


When Ann Gregory was born in Mississippi in 1912, the idea that an African-American woman would compete in a U.S. Golf Association (USGA)-sanctioned event was unheard of. She shattered that notion in 1956 when she became the first African-American woman to play in a USGA women’s amateur national championship. Learn more about Ann Gregory’s impact on the sport of golf.


Flora “Flo” Jean Hyman was a U.S. Olympic volleyball player who led the U.S. to a silver medal in the 1984 summer Olympic games. Although her impact on U.S. volleyball cannot be overstated, Hyman’s impact on women’s sports overall may have been even greater. As early as college, it was clear that Hyman cared deeply about promoting and sustaining women’s sports. Learn more about Flo Hyman’s impact on women’s sports.


Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to compete in Major League Baseball. He is credited with breaking the color barrier in professional sports when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. His performance in professional baseball ranks among the best, helping the Dodgers win several pennants and a World Series title. However, Robinson’s work as an advocate for racial equality went beyond the baseball diamond. Learn more about Jackie Robinson’s impact on our country.