- W.E.B. DuBois
The first black to receive a PhD from Harvard, architect of the NAACP and the principal known as the talented tenth, was very much a leader through the early 20th century. He fought for the education, civil reform, and economic reform of blacks making significant advancement throughout those areas.
His later life he was marred by his praise of Stalin, fights with the NAACP, controversies that resulted in losing his US citizenship, criticism of younger black writers/musicians and developing a nasty habit of changing his mind on major issues; sometimes fighting just as passionately for the issues he fought against a few months prior.
- Thurgood Marshall
The man voted by Time Magazine as Mr. Civil Rights in the 50s and 60s (beating King, X, and many others more associated with the civil rights movement now) arguably singlehandedly did more for abolishing Jim Crow laws and discrimination than any other leader.
His ability to follow Charles Hamilton Houston's plan of legally breaking down separate but equal doctrines earned him the privileged of being our first black Supreme Court Justice. But as the young hotshot lawyer grew older he took steps to get in front of the movement ensuring that he received the glory from major case wins.
This included separating the Legal Defense Fund from the NAACP in a battle of egos to ensure that he had the power to remain in front of the movement and didn't have to divulge power and glory to the NAACP. As a Supreme Court Justice he was called on to step down during the late stages of the Carter administration to ensure that the people would be granted a successor with the same ideological leanings as him (with the even more gracious offer to have him in on the meetings to choose his successor, with several well qualified black nominees being considered).
Despite his failing health and questions about his mental capacity diminishing, Marshall's ego had him stubbornly refuse, blasting the well-qualified potential black nominees who viewed him as a hero, saying he'd stay in office until death. Remarkably he lasted another 8 years on the bench (which given his health conditions and demand of the job a testament to his willpower) but retiring in '91 and I personally hold him responsible for being stuck with Clarence Thomas the man then President H.W. Bush nominated to replace him.
- Jesse Jackson nuff said...
Ok so that was wrong, but the man who worked closely with Dr. King, ran for President in 1984 and 1988 (if you didn't know he was 2nd in the Democratic Primaries voting in 1988. He was the 1988 Hillary Clinton) and helped electrify the Democratic base in 1992. Has become for the lack of a better annoying. His Rainbow/PUSH Coalition routinely fleeces worthy causes, for the purpose of filling his pocket, and who can forget this.
By now even his most adamant supporters know he's being a media whore.
Guest Blogger: Part II- When a Black Leader Needs To Retire
Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall was inspired from a conversation he had on the posting of a friend (shoutout to Bradley), regarding the BET employee's comments about BET which can be found here. Antoine Marshall is currently a first year law student at Wake Forest. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148