List of black Nobel laureates

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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.[citation needed]

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 Ralph Bunche - 1963 March on Washington.jpg Bunche, RalphRalph Bunche United States Peace First black person to win a Nobel Prize[3]
1960 Albert Lutuli (458603639).jpg Luthuli, Albert JohnAlbert John Luthuli South Africa Peace First black African to win a Nobel Prize
1964 Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg King, Jr, Martin LutherMartin Luther King, Jr United States Peace The youngest African American to win a Nobel Prize
1978 Anwar Sadat cropped.jpg Sadat, Anwar ElAnwar El Sadat (shared with Menachem Begin) Egypt Peace
1979 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[4]
1984 Archbishop-Tutu-medium.jpg Tutu, DesmondDesmond Tutu South Africa Peace
1986 Soyinka, Wole (1934).jpg Soyinka, WoleWole Soyinka Nigeria Literature First black person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature[5]
1992 Derek Walcott.jpg Walcott, DerekDerek Walcott[6] Saint Lucia Literature
1993 Toni Morrison 2008-2.jpg Morrison, ToniToni Morrison United States Literature First black woman to win a Nobel Prize[7]
1993 Nelson Mandela.jpg Mandela, NelsonNelson Mandela (shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk) South Africa Peace
2001 Kofi Annan.jpg Annan, KofiKofi Annan Ghana Peace
2004 Wangari Maathai in Nairobi.jpg Maathai, WangariWangari Maathai Kenya Peace First black African woman to win a Nobel Prize
2009 Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg Obama, BarackBarack Obama United States Peace
2011 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, April 2010.jpg Johnson Sirleaf, EllenEllen Johnson Sirleaf
(shared with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakel Karman)
Liberia Peace
2011 Leymah-gbowee-at-emu-press-conference.jpg Gbowee, LeymahLeymah Gbowee
(shared with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakel Karman)
Liberia Peace

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nobel Prize" (2007), in Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed 14 November 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

    An additional award, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968 by the Bank of Sweden and was first awarded in 1969

  2. ^ "All Nobel Laureates". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  3. ^ Ralph Bunche, PBS.
  4. ^ "Unsung Heroes". Time. 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  5. ^ "Wole Soyinka Biography". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Grimes, William (1983-10-08). "Toni Morrison Is '93 Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 

External links[edit]