George Bridgetower (1780-1860)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Eighteenth and nineteenth century classical violinist George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower is perhaps now best remembered for his association with Ludwig von Beethoven, who composed his Kreutzer Sonata for the young Afro-European musician, and personally performed the sonata for violin and piano … Read MoreGeorge Bridgetower (1780-1860)

Joseph de Bolonge/Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Joseph de Bologne was born December 25, 1745 on a plantation near Basse-Terre, on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. His mother was Anne Nanon, slave-mistress of his father, the nobleman George de Bologne de Saint-Georges. He was educated in France, … Read MoreJoseph de Bolonge/Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)

Abram Petrovich Hannibal (1696?–1781)

Sold into Turkish slavery, Abram Petrovich Hannibal was brought as a black servant to Czar Peter I, known as Peter the Great. He became one of the royal favorites, a general-in-chief, and one of the best educated men in Russia in his era. His great-grandson … Read MoreAbram Petrovich Hannibal (1696?–1781)

Alessandro de’ Medici (1510–1537)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Alessandro de’ Medici, called “Il Moro” (“The Moor”), was born in the Italian city of Urbino in 1510. His mother was an African slave named Simonetta who had been freed. Alessandro’s paternity is uncertain.  Most sources name Lorenzo de’ Medici, ruler … Read MoreAlessandro de’ Medici (1510–1537)

Juan Latino (c. 1518–c. 1594)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Juan Latino, or Juan de Sesa as he was actually named, was an Afro-Hispanic poet in Renaissance Spain who taught at the Cathedral school in Granada and became famous for his epic Latin poems. A native of Berbería, a Spanish term … Read MoreJuan Latino (c. 1518–c. 1594)

Elliot C. Van Zandt (1915-1959)

Image Courtesy of Mr. Vittorio Costa Elliot C. van Zandt had a major impact on the development of Italian sports from 1947 to 1959. Born in Arkansas in 1915, van Zandt lost his father at a very early age. Census records indicate that Elliot’s widowed … Read MoreElliot C. Van Zandt (1915-1959)

Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Olaudah Equiano, whose father was an Ibo chief, was born in 1745 in what is now Southern Nigeria. At the age of 11 years, Olaudah was captured by African slave traders and sold into bondage in the New World.  Equiano, given … Read MoreOlaudah Equiano (1745-1797)