37 Names You Can Give Your Child To Honor Their History

We all know Dorothy, Malcolm, and Martin — but what about Audra, Josephine, and Baldwin?

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1. Ashe

Ashe
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As in: Arthur Ashe, the first — and only — black male tennis player to win the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon.

2. Audra

Audra
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As in: Audra McDonald, the first person to win six(!) Tony Awards for acting.

Also consider: Audre, for poet, writer, and civil rights leader Audre Lord.

3. Baldwin

Baldwin
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As in: James Baldwin, iconic author of works such as Giovanni’s Room and Go Tell It on the Mountain.

4. Bayard

Bayard
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As in: Bayard Rustin, civil rights leader who focused on pacifism.

Also consider: His last name, Rustin, as a potential first name.

5. Bessie

Bessie
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As in: Bessie Coleman, the first female African-American pilot.

Also consider: Her last name, Coleman, as a potential first name.

6. Billie

Billie
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As in: Billie Holiday, jazz legend whose famous songs include “God Bless the Child.”

Also consider: Eleanora, her given name, or Ella, for fellow jazz sensation Ella Fitzgerald.

7. Booker

Booker
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As in: Booker T. Washington, educator, orator, and civil rights leader who created the Tuskegee Institute.

8. Cicely

Cicely
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As in: Cicely Tyson, whose credits include roles in the films Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Also consider: Tyson, her last name.

9. Davis

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As in: Angela Davis, political activist, and scholar who rose to prominence in the ’70s, and Miles Davis, legendary jazz musician.

10. Douglass

Douglass
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As in: Frederick Douglass, famous abolitionist, orator, and writer of works such as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

11. Duke

Duke
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As in: Duke Ellington, legendary jazz composer and pianist whose known for works such as “Cotton Tail” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.”

12. Emmett

Emmett
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As in: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old murder victim who helped put a face to the civil rights movement.

13. Fannie

Fannie
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As in: Fannie Lou Hamer, legendary civil rights activist who helped African-Americans register to vote.

Also consider: Lou, her second name.

14. Evers

Evers
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As in: Medgar Evers, civil rights activist with the NAACP. He was buried with full military honors after he was murdered in 1963.

15. Harriet

Harriet
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As in: Harriet Tubman, famous abolitionist who helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Also consider: Araminta, her given name.

16. Hosea

Hosea
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As in: Hosea Williams, civil rights activist and minister who was close to Martin Luther King Jr.

17. Ida

Ida
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As in: Ida B. Wells, journalist, women’s rights activist, and civil rights activist who was a pivotal part of the anti-lynching movement.

Also consider: Bell, her second name, or Belle, in honor of Dido Elizabeth Belle, known as the first black British aristocrat and the subject of the 2013 film Belle.

18. Josephine

Josephine
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As in: Josephine Baker, legendary entertainer and civil rights activist.

Also consider: Baker, or her given name, Freda.

19. Langston

Langston
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As in: Langston Hughes, famous poet and writer of works such as “Black Nativity” and “Montage of a Dream Deferred” who helped popularize the Harlem Renaissance.

Also consider: Hughes, his last name.

20. Lena

Lena
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As in: Lena Horne, famous entertainer and civil rights activist whose credits include Ziegfeld Follies.

21. Marian

Marian
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As in: Marian Anderson, legendary opera singer who was the first African-American to perform with the Metropolitan Opera.

22. Marley

Marley
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As in: Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae icon who has sold more than 20 million albums.

Also consider: Nesta, his given name. When he was a child, an official accidentally switched the names Robert and Nesta on his passport.

23. Maya

Maya
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As in: Maya Angelou, civil rights activist and author of works such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Also consider: Marguerite, Maya’s given name. Maya was a nickname given to her by her first husband.

24. Morrison

Morrison
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As in: Toni Morrison, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of works such as Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Song of Solomon.

Also consider: Ardelia, her middle name, or Chloe, her given name.

25. Nat

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As in: Nat King Cole, iconic jazz musician famous for songs such as “Nature Boy” and “Mona Lisa,” as well as the The Nat King Cole Show.

Also consider: Cole, his last name.

26. Nina

Nina
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As in: Nina Simone, civil rights activist and legendary singer of “Feeling Good” and “I Put a Spell on You.”

Also consider: Simone, her adopted last name, or Eunice, her given name.

27. Ossie

Ossie
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As in: Ossie Davis, civil rights activist, writer, and actor in films such as Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever.

Also consider: Raiford or Chatford, his given first and middle name.

28. Quincy

Quincy
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As in: Quincy Jones, iconic composer and producer of albums such as Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad.

29. Rosa

Rosa
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As in: Rosa Parks, civil rights icon who refused to give her seat up on a segregated bus.

Also consider: Claudette, after Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus months before Rosa Parks.

30. Ruby

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Astrid Stawiarz

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As in: Ruby Dee, legendary actress and activist who was also married to Ossie Davis; and Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate an elementary school in the South.

31. Serena

Serena
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As in: Serena Williams, the current No. 1-ranked tennis player in women’s tennis.

32. Stokely

Stokely
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As in: Stokely Carmichael, Trinidad-born civil rights activist.

Also consider: Kwame, the name he adopted for himself.

33. Thurgood

Thurgood
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As in: Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justic, and prior to that, lawyer in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education.

Also consider: Marshall, his last name. And if you want to go for authenticity, it’s technically spelled “Thoroughgood” — it was shortened in his childhood.

34. Venus

Venus
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As in: Venus Williams, tennis superstar who has won seven Grand Slam titles.

35. Walker

Walker
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As in: Alice Walker, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple.

Also consider: Alice, her first name.

36. Zadie

Zadie
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As in: Zadie Smith, British novelist of works such as White Teeth and On Beauty.

Also consider: Sadie, her given name.

37. Zora

Zora
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As in: Zora Neale Hurston, legendary author whose works include the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/sheridanwatson/go-tell-it-on-the-mountain

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