Black nobel prize laureates

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.[1] Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 800 individuals,[2] of whom 15 have been Black.

Blacks have been the recipients in three of six award categories: Peace, Literature and Economics. The first Black recipient, Ralph Bunche, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1950. The most recent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, were awarded their Peace prizes in 2011.

Three Black laureates —Anwar Sadat, Barack Obama and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf— were Presidents of their countries when they were awarded the prize.


Year Image Laureate Country Category Comment
1950 Bunche, RalphRalph Bunche United States Peace First black person to win a Nobel Prize[3]
1960 Luthuli, Albert JohnAlbert John Luthuli South Africa Peace First black African to win a Nobel Prize
1964 King, Jr, Martin LutherMartin Luther King, Jr United States Peace The youngest African American to win a Nobel Prize
1978 Sadat, Anwar ElAnwar El Sadat (shared with Menachem Begin) Egypt Peace Sadat's "blackness" was a matter of some controversy; he was the son of a Sudanese mother and a lighter-skinned Egyptian father. The Egyptian government protested when the African American Louis Gossett, Jr. played him in the TV miniseries Sadat. Sadat himself once commented, "I am most certainly not white but I am not completely black either. My blackness is tending to reddish."[4]
1979 75px Lewis, Sir William ArthurSir William Arthur Lewis (shared with Theodore Schultz) Saint Lucia Economics First and (so far) only black person to win a Nobel Prize other than Peace or Literature; first West Indian to win a Nobel Prize[5]
1984 Tutu, DesmondDesmond Tutu South Africa Peace
1986 Soyinka, WoleWole Soyinka Nigeria Literature First black person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature[6]
1992 Walcott, DerekDerek Walcott[7] Saint Lucia Literature
1993 Morrison, ToniToni Morrison United States Literature First black woman to win a Nobel Prize[8]
1993 Mandela, NelsonNelson Mandela (shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk) South Africa Peace
2001 Annan, KofiKofi Annan Ghana Peace
2004 Maathai, WangariWangari Maathai Kenya Peace First African woman to win a Nobel Prize
2009 Obama, BarackBarack Obama United States Peace
2011 Johnson Sirleaf, EllenEllen Johnson Sirleaf
(shared with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakel Karman)
Liberia Peace
2011 Gbowee, LeymahLeymah Gbowee
(shared with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakel Karman)
Liberia Peace

See also


External links

  • Nelson Mandela Interview
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