Last updateWed, 12 Feb 2020 1pm


Outlook Honors Black Role Models

default article imageIn honor of Black History Month, The Outlook editors reflected on various public figures within the Black community have influenced their lives. Our choices span various eras and professions, demonstrating the profound impact that the Black community has had on our society as a whole.

Shirley Chisholm

One editor noted, “She was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968, where she represented New York for more than a decade. She was also the first woman to ever seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1971.”

“She’s inspiring to many women and people of color in the country, and she led the way for so many others to even consider entering politics—especially in an era where women and minorities were unwelcomed.  

In her presidential announcement, Chisholm described herself as representative of the people, famously saying: ‘I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the woman’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history,’” the Editor continued. 

Jackie Robinson 

Another Editor said, “Jackie Robinson, one of the most legendary baseball players of all-time, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 50s. He was the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. Despite abuse from people who disagreed with him playing, he remained calm, kind, and dedicated to the game.”

“He is an inspiration to me because he stopped at nothing to play the game that he loved and kicked open doors for the integration of African Americans into Major League Baseball,” the staffer added. 

Barack Obama 

One editor said, “He is an inspirational figure because he handled many situations with grace and a sense of coolness. In times when our nation faced adversity, Obama tried his best to unify everyone. Now more than ever, Obama is meaningful to me because he showed what a leader should be.”

“Obtaining presidency is no easy job and in our history, the presidents were always Caucasian so I think that his presidency should be an inspiration to not only the African American community, but everyone in general,” another editor noted. 

LeBron James

An Editor said, “He’s one of the best players in the National Basketball Association. I’ve always respected not only his game on the court, but the way he carries himself as a world class athlete and public figure. He shows young kids a path to success, as well as how to properly carry yourself when you get there.”

Venus and Serena Williams

One Editor said, “These sisters are legends in the tennis world. They redefined the game and showed that world that tennis was a sport for all people. Serena has won more Grand Slams than any man or woman in the open era and she gives credit to Venus for paving the way for her.”

Gil Scott-Heron

“He was an astounding author, poet, multi-instrumentalist, professor, and activist. He is known as one of the early progenitors of rap, hip-hop, and neosoul. With his microphone, he delivered songs that focused on so many issues in the world: drug epidemics, prison reform, nuclear meltdowns, and much more.

Scott-Heron’s stark cynicism in his lyrics provided an awareness to the everyday struggles that humans face. I believe musicians should use their fame to write songs that are important. Gil did that. He was an activist for impoverished communities, black equity, and was a huge contributor to many charities,” another Editor said. 

Willie O’Ree

Another editor said, “He was essentially the Jackie Robinson of hockey, becoming the first African American National Hockey League player when he played for the Boston Bruins in the 50s. Despite ridicule from not only US cities, but also Canadian cities, he continued to compete at the game’s highest level. In fact, he was just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 for his contributions to the sport, on and off the ice.”


One Editor said, “He is a positive representation for young, Black queer people everywhere. RuPaul is one of, if not the most, famous American drag queens in history and has influenced pop culture through music, television, and film. He has transcended barriers of race and sexuality throughout his career and has demonstrated how he has used the barriers that had been meant to perpetuate his oppression to unleash his potential and become a role model for many LGBTQ+ people.”

The Editor added, “To me, he exemplifies being comfortable in your own skin and using your identity to your advantage. He has always championed self-love, hard work, and creativity.”

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