February is Black History Month and an important opportunity to amplify the voices of talented Black speakers. Together, we highlight the many achievements, cultural contributions, and advocacy work of Black Americans throughout our nation’s history and that which is still happening every single day.
Planning your best Black History Month event starts with the perfect speaker. Educate, entertain, and inspire your audience with these Black business leaders, authors, advocates, athletes, and innovators who continue to shape history each and every day.
1. Minnijean Brown Trickey, Civil Rights Activist & Member of the “Little Rock Nine”
As one of the nine African American students who entered Little Rock Central High School in 1957 in resistance to the opposition of desegregation, Minnijean Brown Trickey has first-hand experience with one of the most pivotal moments in recent Black history. She has been involved with peacemaking initiatives, youth leadership development, diversity education and training, cross-cultural communication, and gender and social justice advocacy. Brown Trickey continues to spread messages of anti-racism, non-violence, peace, and reconciliation globally.
2. Minda Harts, Founder & CEO of the Memo, Career Development Platform for Women of Color
Minda Harts works to create opportunities and equality within the workplace for people of color, especially women. As a bestselling author of “You Are More Than Magic” and “The Memo,” Harts’s work ends the one-size-fits-all approach of business books that lump together women across races and overlook the unique barriers to success for women of color. Her platform, The Memo, helps guide career development opportunities for women of color through community engagement and actionable takeaways. Harts is a powerful choice to educate your audience on the historical barriers to success for women of color and how to break them down.
3. Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene, Serial Entrepreneur, Inventor & CEO of PopCom
With over 20 years of experience in technology, marketing, and business development, Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene is considered a pioneer in the equity crowdfunding space with five successful companies under her belt. As a Black woman in a previously marginalized space, Dickson-Akpoghene has worked against many biases and barriers to get to where she is today. Her decades of success raising traditional and non-traditional business capital positions her as a seasoned speaker to talk all things business, fundraising, and investing.
4. Rennie Curran, Author, Leadership Coach & Former NFL Linebacker
Rennie Curran overcame many obstacles to bring him success on the football field as a 3-time All-American and permanent team captain for the Tennessee Titans. As the son of Liberian immigrants and initially considered undersized, he has fought adversity to maximize his opportunities while also striving to have apositive impact on others. As CEO of Game Changer Coaching, he helps elite athletes, business professionals, and executives unlock their influence as leaders through brand-building and performance improvement. His insights on overcoming adversity will leave your audience ready to take on the world.
5. Ijeoma Oluo, Social Activist on Race and Identity & Author of “So You Want to Talk About Race”
As a writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed “internet yeller,” Ijeoma Oluo’s social activism on race and identity has left a strong imprint on society. Her #1 New York Times bestseller “So You Want to Talk About Race” outlines issues with race in contemporary America, while offering advice on how to talk about these topics. Oluo has become a go-to voice on race through many media outlets, and her perspective from an academic and historical background allows her to provide much needed context. Her ability to connect with audiences on such complex topics adds real value to her presentations.
6. Hill Harper, Author, Tech Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Actor Known for “The Good Doctor”
Hill Harper has accomplished much in his life, from working in the entertainment industry as an actor on shows such as “The Good Doctor” and “CSI: NY,” to writing bestselling books, to excelling in entrepreneurial endeavors. He serves as the founder and chairman of the Black Wall Street Digital App and Wallet, whose vision is to empower the financially excluded and confront the racial wealth gap. His passion for business, financial literacy, and social and economic justice keeps him in demand as a speaker worldwide on a variety of topics.
7. Leland Melvin, Engineer, Former NASA Astronaut & NFL Wide Receiver
Leland Melvin has spread his influence from the football field all the way to outer space. After retiring from the NFL, he used his education in engineering to serve on the board of the Space Shuttle Atlantic as a mission specialist, helping to construct the International Space Station. After 24 years working with NASA, he changed course to share his life story and passions to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue STEAM careers. He shares his incredible personal story that examines the intersecting roles of community, perseverance, and grace that align to create opportunities for success.
8. Patrice A. Harris, First African-American Woman President of the American Medical Association
Patrice A. Harris was the first African-American woman elected President of the American Medical Association in 2019. With a diverse background as a private practice physician, board-certified psychiatrist, public health director, and patient advocate, she is dedicated to improving the lives of children and delivering proper care to communities of color. Harris has spearheaded both local and national efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health, and primary care services. She brings unique insights to your audience on children, mental health, race, and community care.
9. Fred D. Gray, Veteran Civil Right Attorney Known for Representing Rosa Parks & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fred D. Gray is one of the nation’s leading civil rights attorneys. Serving as the legal counsel for Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. at the age of 24, and countless cases surrounding race including the Freedom Riders and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Gray’s work has changed the social fabric of America. He is devoted to eradicating racism through legal change by considering the legal system from a multidisciplinary perspective. With so much relevant experience to some of the most important lawsuits on race in American history, Gray has much to share about the future of race in America and moving towards greater equality, especially through strides in the legal field.
Bringing one of these top-rated leading Black History Month speakers this February will give your audience perspective and insight and will make it all the more memorable. Even beyond February, elevating the voices of Black speakers is a wonderful way to support the cause of diversity, equity, and inclusion all year round.