Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, N.Y., but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Library of Congress, Prints and Photoraphs Division.
Actress Halle Berry, appears with Billy Bob Thornton in a scene from the film "Monster's Ball," in this undated handout photo. Berry, a Best Actress Oscar nominee for her work in the film, was one of three black actors, along with Denzel Washington and Will Smith, competing in the lead Oscar categories. Berry was also the first African-American women to win Best Actress in the Academy Awards. Jeanne Louise Bulliard/AP/File
Hattie McDaniel plays a tune as she portrays the title role of 'Beulah' in the CBS Radio Network's comedy series in New York City, Aug. 1951. Hattie played a maid for most of her career but also won an Oscar for her role in 'Gone With the Wind.' AP/File
In this 1965 black-and-white photo provided by the Library of Congress show participants, some carrying American flags, marching in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. Peter Pettrus/AP/File
This photo shows Rosa Parks riding on the Montgomery Area Transit System bus. Parks's refusal to give up her seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement. AP/File
Rosa Parks smiles during a Capitol Hill ceremony where she was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal Tuesday, June 15, 1999, in Washington. Parks died Monday Oct. 24, 2005. She was 92. Khue Bui/AP/File
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gestures and shouts to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, on April 30, 1967, as he urges America to repent and abandon what he called its "tragic, reckless adventure in Vietnam." AP/File
This is an undated photo of Frederick Douglass. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement; which then led to him writing several autobiographies, expressing his life as a slave, and his freedom. AP/File
Retired Tuskegee airmen Wilbur Mason (l.) and Val Archer (r.) attend a ceremony before leaving the airport in Atlanta on March 28, 2007. The first black US Air Force unit finally received national recognition for fighting a double war – one against the Nazis abroad, the other against racial segregation at home. Tami Chappell/Reuters/File
Politicians unveiled a new statue of Rosa Parks in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Parks, the woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat spurred a year-long bus boycott in 1955, is the first black woman to be honored with a full-sized statue in Statuary Hall.
The nation's most powerful politicians honored Rosa Parks on Wednesday by unveiling her statue in a permanent place in the US Capitol. President Obama praised Parks as an enduring reminder of what true leadership requires, "no matter how humble or lofty our positions."