Black History Month is finally upon us. As part of our BHM kickoff, we’ve compiled a collection of black icons from each state that have made invaluable contributions to America. The people featured in the collection have made monumental (and for the most part, understated) advancements in politics, music, sports, literature and beyond.
While the vast majority of these icons were born in the state they’re featured under, a handful of them weren’t, but did make history in the state.
Their excellence is just another reminder that we too, helped make America.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that Baker was the first living black person to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The story has been updated to reflect that Baker was the only living WWII black service member to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor. This article also misstated that the 16th Street Baptist Church is located in Montgomery, Alabama; it is in Birmingham.