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5 Strong Black Leaders You Should Know About

In most American schools, we are taught small amounts about black leaders, the parts that keep us submissive and docile through class. We at FreeDUMB Apparel believe in highlighting real leadership and exposing our followers to revolutionary international leaders who rebelled against oppression and lead strong movements to improve the lives of indigenous brothers and sisters. Though there are many more we encourage you to research and study, here are few to get you started along the road to mental liberation.

Shaka Zulu


Shaka Zulu is said to be one of the greatest military leaders in African history, and perhaps all of history. There is controversy around the brutality of his methods, and the strictness with which he trained his troops, but in many ways, he improved warfare methods forever. Born in 1787 in what is now South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, he died in 1828. His legacy lived on in the Zulu warriors who fought the British in 1879. The military conflict helped immortalize the Zulu in the minds of Westerners, but Zulu history was far from over in 1879. The Zulus persevered through apartheid and remain the largest ethnic group in South Africa.

Suggested Reading: The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation Under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879

Marcus Garvey


Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who created a 'Back to Africa' movement in the United States. He became an inspirational figure for later civil rights activists. His organization, the Universal Negro Imrovement Association, was the largest black organization in the history of the U.S.

Suggested Reading: The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for the Africans

Yaa Asantewaa


Yaa Asantewaa was born in 1840. She was famous for leading the Ashanti rebellion against British colonialism. She was the sister of the Ruler of Ejisu (Ejisuhene) an ethnic group in present day Ghana.

Suggested Reading: Women Leaders in African History


Dutty Boukman was a Jamaican-born Haitian enslaved man, one of the most visible early leaders of the Haitian Revolution. According to some contemporary accounts, Boukman conducted a religious ceremony in which a freedom covenant was affirmed; this ceremony became a catalyst to the slave uprising that marked the beginning of the Haitian Revolution.

Suggested Reading: Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s.

Suggested Reading: Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900


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  • Thank you for this black history lesson I will be sure to teach kids about these great leaders.

  • Great knowledge

  • Of course Boukman and Louverture,but Desallines was the man who completed the Haitian revolution by defeating Napoleons army and destroying the remaining Europeans.Dessalines is the father of Haiti as we know it,the first free black republic in the western hemisphere and the first nation on earth to abolish slavery

    Gary Gross

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