This list of books contains people who fought for the right to follow their dreams. Every individual on this list faced many obstacles that would have stopped some, but it didn’t stop them. Their perseverance is what makes these individuals unique and the first!
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If you’re looking for diverse picture books to add to your classroom or home library, check out The Ultimate List of Diverse Picture Books. The books on this list are amazing!
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Charles “Charlie” Luther Sifford (1922-2015) was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour.
What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan By Chris Barton
Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) was the first African-American congresswoman to come from the south.
She is known for her powerful voice; her most well-known speech was her opening speech for Richard Nixon’s impeachment investigation.
Raven Wilkinson (1935-2018) was the first African American ballerina to join a major classical ballet troupe.
This is an amazing book about the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (1942-2018). Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019) was the African-American to woman complete their residency as an ophthalmologist and the first African-American woman to receive a medical patent.
Althea Gibson (1927-2003) was the first African American to compete and win at Wimbledon.
Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was the first African American to write and direct a major film and the first African American photographer at Vogue and Life magazines.
Mamie “Peanut” Johnson (1935-2017) was the first female pitcher to play in the Negro Leagues.
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
George Moses Horton (1798-1884) was a poet and was the first southern African American man to published.
Jesse Owens (1913-1980) was the first American to win four track and field gold medals at a single Olympics.
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Bass Reeves (1838-1910) was the first African American to become a U.S. Marshal in the West.
Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) is the only African American man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Using rhyme, the author briefly tells Janet Collins’s (1917-2003) story of how she became the first African American prima ballerina in 1951.
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