We cannot discuss American history without the names of influential African-American personalities who made their marks and paved new roads for others.
Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington and Harriet Tubman are some of the names on the lips of many people when it comes to such great men and women.
From fighting for greater social and economic mobility for African-Americans to campaigning for desegregation, these individuals made a mark on history; a mark that emanated from their struggles.
As we commemorate Black History Month, take a look back at these powerful photos to keep your black consciousness awake:
Demonstrators picket in front of a school board office in protest of segregation, St Louis, Missouri, early 1960. Photo: Getty
Tommie Smith (right) and John Carlos (centre), gold and bronze medalists in the 200-meter run at the 1968 Olympic Games. Here, they engage in a victory stand protest against the unfair treatment of black Americans. Photo: AP
Members of Black Panther party demonstrate outside the New York City courthouse in 1969. Photo: Getty
Rosa Parks rode at the front of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus on the day the Supreme Court’s ban on segregation of the city’s buses took effect. She had been arrested a year earlier for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Photo: Getty
African-American students who had earlier been banned from Little Rock Central High School were provided with protection to enter the school in September 1957 during the desegregation of Arkansas public schools. Photo: Getty
Civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks in front of civil rights marchers at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery march in front of Alabama state capital building on March 25, 1965. Photo: Getty
U.S. National Guard troops block off Beale Street as civil rights marchers pass by on March 29, 1968. Photo: Getty
Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King stands behind a podium at Peace-In-Vietnam Rally, Central Park, New York, in 1968. Photo: Getty
Race riots in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo: Getty
A group of African-American female members of the Women’s Defense Corps of America. Photo: Getty
The 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was one of the first all-black units to serve on the Western front in World War I.
Malcolm X holds up a paper for the crowd to see during a Black Muslim rally in New York City on August 6, 1963. Photo: AP
The body of an African-American man hangs from a tall tree above a huge crowd of white men in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Getty
U.S. Marshalls surround six-year-old Ruby Bridges after finishing her first day of classes. She was the first African American to attend a white elementary school in the South. Photo: wikimedia
Mother of Emmett Till in tears as her son’s body is lowered into the grave. Photo: Getty