25 of The Most Remarkable Black History Moments Over The Last 25 Years

Obama family
President Obama White House Archives

We often think about "black history moments" as existing in black and white images from either our youths or before we were even born. But iconic moments continue to unfold before our eyes every day.

It's easy to see the milestones that African-Americans are reaching and the boundaries their breaking in all industries from science to politics, education and entertainment.

Over the last 25 years, there have been thousands of moments that have imprinted themselves in Black history, and we've highlighted 25 of them. There are those that became the first Black person to change the game (whatever field that is for them) or incredible events in history that shifted the social and racial outlook in America. 

Read through this remarkable list to celebrate Black triumphs, learn from tragedies and soak up all of this Black History. It's good for the soul!

Carol Moseley Braun

carol moseley braun

In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate.

Million Man March

million man march

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. held the Million Man March, co-initiated by Louis Farrakhan and James Bevel in 1995.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian Institution established the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2003. But finally in December of 2016, it was open to the public. The ceremony was lead by President Obama and houses 37,000 objects that focus on the Black community, culture, the arts, history, slavery, and civil rights.

USPS Civil Rights Stamps

usps civil rights stamps

Twelve Civil Rights pioneers were commemorated by the United States Postal Service in 2009 with their own stamps. The stamps honored the achievements of: Ella Baker, Daisy Gatson Bates, J.R. Clifford, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles Hamilton Houston, Ruby Hurley, Mary White Ovington, Joel Elias Spingarn, Mary Church Terrell, Oswald Garrison Villard and Walter White.

A Black Man Became President — Twice

president obama inauguration

In the 2009, Barak Obama was sworn in as the first Black man in history to hold the office of the President of the United States of America.

First Black Woman In Space

mae jemison

Mae Carol became the first Black woman in space on September 12, 1992 when she traveled on the shuttle Endeavor.

"12 Years A Slave" Is Oscar Worthy

12 years a slave youtube

At the 86th Academy Awards ceremony in 2014, the racially-driven film "12 Years a Slave" starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o won Best Picture, beating out films such as "Wolf of Wall Street," "American Hustle," "Her," and "Dalls Buyers Club."

Halle Berry And Denzel Washington Win Big

halle berry oscars win

Still managing to look gorgeous, Halle Berry took to the stage of the 74th Academy Awards ceremony to accept her honor as Best Actress for "Monster's Ball," the first Black woman to take home the award. That year in 2002, Denzel Washington won the title of Best Actor for his role in "Training Day." He became the second Black actor to win that award, following Sidney Poitier who was the first for "Lilies of the Field."

Tyler Perry Makes History

tyler perry white house

Actor, producer, director, writer, filmmaker, and songwriter Tyler Perry became the first African American ever to launch his own major television and film studio in 2008.

Toni Morrison Shocks The Literary World

toni morrison

Chloe Ardelia Wofford, also known as Toni Morrison, was the first Black woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1993.

Colin Powell Makes White House History

colin powell

During his career, four-star general in the United States Army Colin Powell served as National Security Advisor, the Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, and as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was also the first African American to ever hold the position as U.S. Secretary of State serving under U.S. President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.

1992 Los Angeles Riots

la riots 1992

In response to the Rodney King verdict, Los Angeles erupted in violence. In the Spring of 1991 King was being pulled over for speeding, but because he was drunk and on probation, he sent officers on a high-speed chase that resulted in his being beaten be a handful of cops. The altercation was captured on video and played throughout the world. The officers involved were found not guilty, sparking a riot in L.A. that left thousands of people injured and $1 billion worth of damage.

Phylicia Rashad Takes Broadway

Phylicia Rashad

She's our beloved Mrs. Huxtable, but Phylicia Rashad has been making history throughout her career. Notably, she became the first Black actress to win Broadway theater's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2004 for her role as Lena Younger in a rendition of "A Raisin in the Sun."

Maurice Ashley, The Chess Master

Maurice Ashley chess

Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, app designer, motivational speaker, and author Maurice Ashley became the first Black chess grandmaster in history in 1999.

Channing Dungey

Television executive Channing Dungey (pictured center actresses Regina King and Ana Mulvoy Ten to her left and right, respectively) is the first Black person to be appointed president of a major broadcast TV network. After supervising hit films like "Heat" and "The Matrix," and aiding in developing shows such as "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder," Dungey was promoted to president of ABC Entertainment Group in 2016.

Ivy League Ruth Simmons

ruth simmons

The president of Smith College, Dr. Ruth Simmons, was the first Black woman to lead an Ivy League school after being named the 18th president of Brown University. She began in 2001 and resigned in 2012. 

Barrington Irving Owns The Sky

Barrington Irving pilot

In 2007, pilot Barrington Antonio Irving, Jr. was the youngest person to fly around the world solo. He was also the first Black person and the first Jamaican to do so.

Vonetta Flowers Gets The Gold

vonetta flwoers

She began her sports career in as a sprinter and long jumper, but Vonetta Flowers failed to make the U.S. Olympic team. She turned her attention to bobsledding, becoming a brakewoman. At the 2002 Winter Olympic Games she and her driver Jill Bakken took home the gold medal in the two-woman event. Flowers was the first black person in history to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. 

Venus Williams Paves The Way For Serena

venus williams

The Williams sisters have been breaking records in the tennis game since they stepped foot on the court as professional athletes. In 2002, older sister Venus Williams became the first Black woman to hold the No. 1 title in tennis in the world. 

Serena Williams Is No. 1

The younger Williams sister, Serena, has a few accolades of her own. She, too, has held the title as the No. 1 tennis player in the world and has won the Australian, French, and U.S. opens as well as Wimbeldon. In 2015, Serena became the first Black female athlete to have her photo on the cover of "Vogue" magazine by herself.

President Obama Honors Civil Rights Leaders

president obama civil rights leaders

Minister, author, Civil Rights leader and friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian received the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He's an organizer who participated in the dangerous Freedom Rides in the 1960s and was a member of multiple sit-ins around the U.S. He was instrumental in helping to create organizations that include Center for Democratic Renewal and National Anti-Klan Network.

Disney's First Black Princess

princess tiana

In 2009, Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" became the ninth official animated princess in Disney's Princess Line, the first black character from the company to hold such a title. There was criticism about the Louisiana, voodoo element of the film, but those who spoke out against the movie ignored the fact that other Disney princess films are riddled with black magic and characters based off of evil mythological creatures and legends.

Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders

Joycelyn Elders

Pediatrician and public health administrator Joycelyn Elders's appointment as Surgeon General of the United States may have only lasted a year from September 1993 to December 1994, but she was the first Black person who was ever given the position. 

Who Runs The World? Beyoncé!


Mrs. Knowles-Carter has so many awards that we could do a whole entire gallery dedicated just to her. Queen Bey has broken music records and set precedents throughout her career, and in 2001 she became the first Black woman to win an ASCAP Pop Music Songwriter of the Year award.

Misty Copeland Dances Her Way To The Top

misty copeland instagram

In the 75-year history of leading classical ballet company American Ballet Theater's history, Misty Copeland became the first Black woman to be promoted to principal dancer when she was given the title in 2015. The recognition catapulted her career and now she even has her own Barbie Collection Misty Copeland doll.

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