As the clock winds down on another Black History Month, we have been inundated with the images of those who have paved the way for all of us to be where we are today. In those images of leaders and history makers of yesteryear and today, one can’t help but notice that these men were the style icons of their day. Demonstrating a classic style that translates even in 2010.
Kweisi Mfume is the former President/CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as a five-term Democratic Congressman from Maryland’s 7th congressional district, serving in the 100th through 104th Congress.
Martin Luther King, Jr. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career.He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Asa Philip Randolph was a prominent twentieth-century African-American civil rights leader and the founder of both the March on Washington Movement and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a landmark for labor and particularly for African-American labor organizing.
Randolph was also responsible for the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963 with the help of Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is often attributed in part to the success of the March on Washington, where Black and White Americans stood united and witnessed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Andrew “Rube” Foster was a baseball player, manager, and pioneer executive in the Negro Leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
Foster is considered by historians to have been perhaps the best African-American pitcher of the 1900s, also founded and managed the Chicago American Giants, one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. Most notably, he organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931.
Malcolm X also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist.
Once a prominent minister in the Nation of Islam, he left the nation and became a Sunni Muslim and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, after which he disavowed racism. He traveled extensively throughout Africa and the Middle East. He founded Muslim Mosque, Inc., a religious organization, and the secular, black nationalist Organization of Afro-American Unity.
Barack Hussein Obama II is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review and where he received a doctorate in law. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004 and won.
He is currently the 44th president of the United States of America.
History teaches us to learn and to grow from the triumphs and missteps of the past. It can also teach us that somethings never change. Illustrating that classic style never dies… even for the New Urban Male.