Most Important Civil Rights Leaders of the 20th Century
26. James Farmer (1920-1999)
> Occupations: Author and politician
> Cause: Desegregating travel
As a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, Farmer organized Freedom Rides that led to the desegregation of interstate travel.
27. Whitney M. Young, Jr. (1921-1971)
> Occupation: Teacher
> Cause: African-American economic empowerment
Executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney M. Young that helped African-Americans adapt to urban life. He also served an adviser to U.S. presidents.
28. Betty Friedan (1921-2006)
> Occupations: Author and actor
> Cause: Feminism
Friedan penned the groundbreaking 1963 social critique “The Feminine Mystique” that was instrumental in launching the feminist movement in the 1960s.
29. James Baldwin (1924-1987)
> Occupations: Playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, and actor
> Cause: Social and racial issues
An essayist and poet, James Baldwin wrote the seminal novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” in 1953. His works touched on issues of race and spirituality.
30. Medgar Evers (1925-1963)
> Occupations: Insurance salesman and civil rights organizer
> Cause: Voting rights, school desegregation
Evers, an NAACP official who was pivotal in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi, was slain at home by a white extremist. Not until more than 30 years later, in 1994, was Evers’ assassin convicted.