Black History Month is one of the best times of the year to reflect on the people who have made our country what it is today. We are fortunate enough to live in an era brought about by some of the most courageous and intelligent people our nation has ever seen: the African-Americans who fought for civil rights. Today, with race and class divides once again hurting our country, we have an opportunity to celebrate game-changers both past and present.
Thurgood Marshall was a famed lawyer who was appointed to the Supreme Court after famously arguing for the desegregation of public schools. He served from October of 1967 to October of 1991 and was the first African-American Supreme Court justice.
Zora Neale Hurston was a critically acclaimed 20th century novelist active during the Harlem Renaissance. She is most known for her landmark novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Rosa Parks, of course, became famous after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger who couldn't find room in the "whites only" section. Many now consider her the mother of the freedom movement and the first lady of the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister who eventually became one of the most crucial leaders in the fight for civil rights. His strong beliefs in nonviolence and equality were inspired by his faith.
Jamelle Bouie is a modern-day figure in the continuing fight for equality. He's the chief political correspondent for Slate and is most well-known for covering race-related controversies and the injustices of our judicial system.
Far more than just the wife of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King was an author and activist. Following her husband's death, she became active in the movement for women's and LGBT rights.
President Barack Obama has become a powerful symbol of hope and progress for many. His presidency is a reminder of the strides our nation has made — and his legacy will not soon be forgotten.