Explore African-American Achievements in Architecture, Design, Politics, Sports, and Music

To close out African-American Heritage month, we have compiled videos from our partners that showcase significant members of the African-American community and their achievements. Celebrate the work of a prolific graphic designer from the Black Panther Party, a former US representative that fought for African-American voting rights, a feminist poet and civil rights activist, a musician that shaped the fabric of American music, and more.

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Celebrate African-American Achievements in Architecture, Design, Politics, Sports and Music

Emory Douglas - Graphic Designer

In this video by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, hear how former graphic designer for the Black Panther Party used his art to educate and inform readers on the injustices happening during the Civil Rights movement.


Paul Revere Williams - Architect

The first African-American architect to become a member of the American Institution of Architecture, Paul Revere Williams not only designed homes for Hollywood icons such as Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball but used his talent to give back to the underserved African-American community in the mid-twentieth century.


Wendy Hilliard - American Gymnast

Wendy Hilliard was the first African-American woman to represent the United States internationally in gymnastics and, in 1995, she was the first African-American to become the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation.² Today, Hilliard leads the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which empowers children from underserved communities to improve their health through gymnastics. Learn more in the video above courtesy of Harlem One Stop.


John Lewis - Congressman and Civil Rights Leader

Courtesy of Type Media Center, hear from civil rights leader and U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, John Lewis, on his work organizing the 1963 March on Washington as a member of SNCC, and walking on "Bloody Sunday" to protest for black voting rights.


Louis Armstrong - Founding Father of Jazz

In addition to being a world-renowned musician, Louis Armstrong was a great civil rights advocate, with a passion for breaking down numerous racial barriers. In the 1950s, he was sometimes criticized for his onstage persona, but silenced critics by boldly speaking out. The Louis Armstong House Museum sustains the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong by inspiring visitors of all ages and origins with his story.


Audre Lorde - Poet, Feminist, Civil Rights Activist

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,” said the renowned poet, activist, and feminist Audre Lorde. Born to West Indian immigrant parents in 1934, Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” fought for a more equitable society for African-Americans, women, and the LGBT community.¹

Though she passed away in 1992, Lorde’s multi-issue advocacy continues to this day with the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The organization provides sensitive, quality healthcare to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Founded just after the Stonewall Riots in the late 1960s, the Health Center was one of the first clinics for members of the LGBT community in New York City.

In 2019, the organization treated over 4,138 patients living with HIV/AIDs, prescribed 3,705 patients with PrEP, and provided mental and medical care for 1,330 LGBT adolescents between the ages of 13 and 24. New Yorkers can explore the important work of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in their 2019 Annual Report.



Each February, join the nation in honoring African American’s rich heritage by educating yourself on pivotal moments in African-American history and the individuals that worked tirelessly to advocate for black voting rights. To get involved with more organizations celebrating Black History Month, New Yorkers should also check out: 

  • Harlem One Stop: Harlem One Stop connects people with arts, civic groups, cultural institutions, businesses, and cultural opportunities in Harlem. 

  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Founded in 1958, Alvin Ailey brings African-American culture and American modern dance to the world with its performance

  • BronxNet: BronxNet offers media education for Bronx residents and programming that covers local community and political and social issues

For additional volunteer opportunities in NYC, explore our community partners that are improving the environment, fighting for social justice, and expanding arts programs in the five boroughs and abroad.


1 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/audre-lordge

2 https://www.wendyhilliard.org/about-wendy/

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